“The Economy, Stupid” and Matt Taibbi

Finally, after a long, long few weeks, I have a day off today with a weekend off at the end of the coming week. I have some time to think, some time to read, and some time to just be. Well, that is after doing a few chores that I am certain my better half prefers that I get done. Before I get into that messiness, though, I am going to write, by god. I haven’t had much time to pay attention to, well, anything of late. It has been go, go, go without a stop.

I did make some time to read a book that I bought a few weeks back, Matt Taibbi’s The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap. I must say that I am a fan of his writing, and was sad to see him leave RollingStone magazine. He was the only reason I had a subscription to that periodical. I don’t remember the first time I read him; I do recall that upon my first reading, I immediately compared him to Hunter S. Thompson. His writing style and wit are, well, Thompsonesque.

After reading a few of his articles in the magazine and keeping up with his blog, I decided to read one of his books, Griftopia. I was amazed after reading it, and consequently, I re-read it recently. I suggest reading it, if you haven’t already.

I had seen somewhere that he was coming out with a new book, but it slipped my mind until my wife and I went to the bookstore. I went immediately, as I always do, to the “Current Events” section at Barnes & Noble, did my scan of recently released titles, and came across Taibbi’s new book. Without hesitation, I picked it up and scanned the summary on the book jacket, followed by a quick glance through the introduction. I did not even look at the price of the book, though I know it would be pricey since it was a hardcover, but I did not care.

See, if you read Taibbi, or follow him in any sense, you know that he has written a ton concerning the present day wealth gap in the United States, well really the world, but primarily the US. Following the crash of the housing bubble, the concurrent collapse of the financial sector, and then the inevitable recession of the world economy, Taibbi seemed to make investigating the causes and effects of the crash, as well as the outcome of the major players involved, the primary subject of his writing.

I am fascinated by the subject as well. I’ve read a lot on the subject, trying to wrap my head around it all and understand what happened, but, more importantly, how and why it was allowed to happen in the first place. The thing is, though, I am not an economist, and I have a relatively rudimentary understanding of economic jargon and I won’t even get started on the math. I took my two courses on economics in college, micro and macro, and passed them both with decent grades (although micro nearly destroyed me).  I also took a course on World Economic History that came more closely to destroying me than micro did, so I can give you a collegiate sophomore level analysis of what happened and even then it will probably be only about an A-, probably a B+, but A- at best.

Anyway, as I said, I am fascinated by the subject. Really, I’m fascinated by the economy period. I mean, the actions of the major players within the economy and the overall health of it are important…really important, and as such, those actions and that health trickle down and affect us either positively or negatively. Everyone of us.

Enough about all of that…

Essentially, Taibbi’s book is a story of the different types of treatment given to those that have and those that don’t. For a country that prides itself on equality and justice for all, the levels of distinct inequality concerning this treatment should piss the people off, but really, it doesn’t.

The last line of the book says it all. “We don’t do it often enough.” Sorry for the spoiler, but when I read that line at the end of the 412 pages that Taibbi uses to display his argument, I just had to nod my head in agreement.

I want to say more about the book, but I would prefer that everyone go out and get themselves a copy and read it. It’s written in plain English without so much economic or market jargon, so it is pretty easily understood.

I know, maybe I’m weird.  Does anyone else find this stuff as fascinating as I do?