The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street

The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street

by Robert Scheer

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In The Great American Stickup, celebrated journalist Robert Scheer uncovers the hidden story behind one of the greatest financial crimes of our time: the Wall Street financial crash of 2008 and the consequent global recession. Instead of going where other journalists have gone in search of this story—the board rooms and trading floors of the big Wall Street firms—Scheer goes back to Washington, D.C., a veritable crime scene, beginning in the 1980s, where the captains of the finance industry, their lobbyists and allies among leading politicians destroyed an American regulatory system that had been functioning effectively since the era of the New Deal.

This is a story largely forgotten or overlooked by the mainstream media, who wasted more than two decades with their boosterish coverage of Wall Street. Scheer argues that the roots of the disaster go back to the free-market propaganda of the Reagan years and, most damagingly, to the bipartisan deregulation of the banking industry undertaken with the full support of “progressive” Bill Clinton.

In fact, if this debacle has a name, Scheer suggests, it is the “Clinton Bubble,” that era when the administration let its friends on Wall Street write legislation that razed decades of robust financial regulation. It was Wall Street and Democratic Party darling Robert Rubin along with his clique of economist super-friends—Alan Greenspan, Lawrence Summers, and a few others—who inflated a giant real estate bubble by purposely not regulating the derivatives market, resulting in the pain and hardship millions are experiencing now.

The Great American Stickup is both a brilliant telling of the story of the Clinton financial clique and the havoc it wrought—informed by whistleblowers such as Brooksley Born, who goes on the record for Scheer—and an unsparing anatomy of the American business and political class. It is also a cautionary tale: those who form the nucleus of the Clinton clique are now advising the Obama administration.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781568586212
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 09/07/2010
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 905,558
File size: 330 KB
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

About the Author

Robert Scheer, former foreign correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, is Editor-in-Chief of Truthdig and a senior lecturer at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication. He lives in Los Angeles.

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The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
RobertS_PhD More than 1 year ago
The Great American Stickup offers a compelling narrative which sheds light on how Wall Street was able to essentially take control of the government agencies responsible for its regulation. The book tells how the economic clique of Rubin, Summers and Greenspan helped to repeal Glass-Steagall, which allowed commercial banks to begin taking on excessive risk. These same players also repeatedly stood in the way of efforts to regulate exotic derivatives--the financial instruments that Warren Buffett famously referred to as "weapons of mass destruction." While lack of regulation and excessive Wall Street influence over policy makers both enabled and amplified the financial crisis, this book (like most others on the financial crisis) goes too far by asserting that these factors completely explain the crisis. What the book misses is how an extreme increase in income inequality forced most average Americans to struggle to preserve a middle-class lifestyle. Stagnant wages for average workers led people to rely on credit to get by, while at the same time investment in the biggest possible home offered just about the only hope for a typical family to really get ahead. These underlying factors played an important role in the housing and credit bubbles. Wall Street's deregulation was certainly important, but the primary, long-term issues driving the crisis where really advancing technology and globalization. These are the forces that led to flat wages for most people, while a tiny minority captured nearly all the gains from growth. It is important to understand this, because neither technology nor globalization is likely to stop progressing anytime soon. In other words, things are likely to get worse. For an excellent overview of this issue, and a warning about an even greater crisis that may well loom in the future, I'd highly recommend this book: The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future. Although re-regulation of Wall Street is critical, we should not make the mistake of assuming that that alone will solve our problems. It will not: until the bulk of the population is able to support a reasonable middle class lifestyle via income rather than debt, we will continue to face significant risk of even more severe crises.
LilyWW More than 1 year ago
The Great American Stickup is Scheer at his best - just when we need his voice. I never thought I'd be much interested in derivatives, let alone how they work and who they benefit, but they - and their lack of regulation - are key to the economic mess that Obama and the Wall Streeters have walzed us into. Now the banks and bankers are awash in money while millions of us are losing our jobs and houses. Most of all it leaves me so disappointed in Obama and the chance that he squandered.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is well written, easy to read and very informative!
schatzi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Robert Scheer does a great job of tracing the roots of the current financial crisis. He starts during the Reagan administration, but this isn't a book that blames one party or the other. He spends a great deal of time castigating Clinton's cozy relationship with Wall Street, as well. Along the way, the author also draws attention to the few who predicted that deregulation would end in disaster. There's no doubt that it was the makers of the mess who benefited from the bailouts, while those who suffered because of their decisions were allowed to wallow in joblessness and looming foreclosure. It's a very sobering read, especially since, effectively, nothing has changed.
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