Rolling Stone’s chief political reporter is not afraid to dive into the big issues, as this 2009 article shows. Subtitled ‘The global economy isn’t about money – it’s about power’, it provides a chilling overview of the American banking world since the 2008 crash. It is a meticulously-researched article that reveals a disturbing sequence of events: while America was, and continues to be, somewhat horrified at the magnitude of TARP (the US$700 billion bailout program), the Federal Reserve has been creating many new, under-the-radar programs which has allowed them to quietly pump at least US$3 trillion into Wall Street with no oversight by any regulatory body.
It is a fascinating, well-written article, but Taibbi’s plain speaking is what truly elevates it. He breaks down complex financial processes like credit default swaps and collaterised-debt obligations so that the everyman can understand them. Additionally, his salty vernacular and deadpan delivery engrosses the reader in a subject that is usually considered dry and extremely confusing. ‘We’re officially, royally fucked,’ he tells us at the beginning of the piece, before informing us that Wall Street was allowed to ‘gang-rape the American Dream’ until ‘it all went to shit’.
Taibbi’s engaging writing style creates interest in a subject normally considered off-limits to everyday people, exposing the banking world as being little more than Armani-wearing thieves. That’s an enviable skill for any journalist to possess.
Read Renee Tibbs’s Working Journalist profile of Matt Taibbi.