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Bailout Nation: How Greed and Easy Money Corrupted Wall Street and Shook the World Economy by Aaron Task, Barry Ritholtz

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Intermezzo: Idiots Fiddle While Rome Burns

 

Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it.

 
 --Mark Twain

Over the past two years of bailouts, the collection of clueless dolts, political hacks, and—oh, let's just be blunt and call them what they are—total idiots continues to expand into an ever wider circle.

While the republic burns due to the unsavory combination of incompetence, radical ideology, and casino capitalism, the clowns seem ever more determined to avoid any and all personal responsibility for the damage they have wrought. Instead, they flail about blindly, blaming everything and everyone—except their own horrific negligence.

This is financial incompetence writ on a scale far grander than anything seen for centuries.

As a nation, our institutions have failed us: Under Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve slept through the most reckless and irresponsible expansion of bank lending in history for reasons of ideological purity. As recently as March 2009 Greenspan actually contributed a Wall Street Journal op-ed renouncing any blame for the housing bubble.[160] In addition to his unprecedented monetary policy, his nonfeasance in failing to perform the Fed's regulatory role reached the point of criminal negligence long ago. History will be unkind to the Maestro.

As a nation, we have a choice to make: Either we place some reasonable regulations upon the banks and investment houses or we allow the vagaries ...

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