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Thursday, November 11, 2010

The U.S., a wholly owned subsidiary of Mid-East oil

How much am I bid for the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the Port of Long Beach, Yosemite National Park? We haven't yet sunk to the depths of selling off our National Parks but the day might come. The Pennsylvania Turnpike? The sale eventually fell through on that one but parking meters in Chicago, Nashville, Pittsburgh, a highway in Florida and a port in Virginia have already been sold off on 50 or more year leases to raise much needed cash.

Here is an excerpt from Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone's reporter from his new book Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America. More of the excerpt here.

When you're trying to sell a highway that was once considered one of your nation's great engineering marvels — 532 miles of hard-built road that required tons of dynamite, wood, and steel and the labor of thousands to bore seven mighty tunnels through the Allegheny Mountains — when you're offering that up to petro-despots just so you can fight off a single-year budget shortfall, just so you can keep the lights on in the state house into the next fiscal year, you've entered a new stage in your societal development.

You know how you used to have a job, and a house, and a car, and a wife and a family, and there was food in the fridge — and now you're six months into a drug habit and you're carrying toasters and TVs out the front door every morning just to raise the cash to make it through that day? That's where we are. While a lot of this book is about how American banks used bubble schemes to strip the last meat off the bones of America's postwar golden years, the cruelest joke is that American banks now don't even have the buying power needed to finish the job of stripping the country completely clean.

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