Matt Taibbi and Your Humble Blogger on Bill Moyers

Hope you enjoy this segment. I think I can speak for Taibbi in saying we had a good time with Moyers.

For those who prefer viewing the program on a bigger screen, it runs in NYC and DC on Sunday at 6:00 PM. The staff is trying to organize a Twitter Q&A at that time (6:00 to ~6:40 EDT). I haven’t gotten confirmation that this is a go, but I’ll let you know in tomorrow’s Links (and they’ll be providing a hashtag).

Update: There will be a Twitter Q&A on Sunday, 6:00 to ~6:40 PM. #moyers. See you there!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. JC Diaz

    Enjoyed the episode very much. I discovered your blog and book thanks to it. Looking forward to reading it – just ordered it yesterday. I’m writing a paper on a related subject. I really hope you accept Bill’s invite to talk about derivatives, CDOs, etc on a full dedicated episode. Cheers!

  2. F. Beard

    Great, information dense interview!

    Nice shirt too, btw, Yves.

    This occurred to me:

    A gracious woman attains honor, and ruthless men attain riches. Proverbs 11:16

    1. monday1929

      Beard, the god stuff is creepy enough, please leave Yves alone. Stick to the bank stuff, mmkay? And find a mate, like on the ark thing.

      1. F. Beard

        Chill matey,

        I’m not hitting on anyone but I’m not above appreciating nice clothes either.

        And besides which, there are far more unambiguous comments than mine to complain about.

        So with all due respect,

        Piss off! :)

  3. jennifer hill

    Great job both of you. This kind of program can educate those who don’t understand and warn those who think they are untouchable. Posting to FB.

  4. jennifer hill

    Great job both of you. This kind of program can educate those who don’t understand and warn those who think they are untouchable.

  5. Eric

    Why can’t I have a window at the Fed??

    And I’m serious. I was involved with a mortgage company transiting to computers back 20+ years ago. Eventually, you could get credit reports via your lap top in your customers home and have him write up his reasons for bad credit right there and then.

    No reason you can’t tie into the IRS for accurate income The reality is, is that you do not Need retail banking any longer. You can computerize the whole thing and cut out the middle man for auto , boat, house and consumer loans. Gives true meaning to the name “Central Bank.”

    Then there’s Blair’s idea of everybody getting 10 Mil, why not?? I can invest poorly and get a bail out and award myself a giant bonus as well as any Wall Streeter can. Why should I not be able to do it??

    1. F. Beard

      You raise a good point but let’s drive it home:

      Since “credit” dilutes purchasing power and is thus a form of theft then NO ONE is “credit-worthy.”

      We can have necessary economies of scale via the honest lending of existing money spent into existence by government and via common stock as private money. There is no need for “credit”.

      1. Jim A.

        The housing market without credit is for the most part a rental market. If the wealthy can’t rent us money they’ll rent us property. As we have seen in some of the markets that have been completly cratered in the bust, bottom prices are set by investors and landlords, not owner occupiers.

        1. F. Beard

          If the wealthy can’t rent us money they’ll rent us property. Jim A.

          Since “credit-creation” cheats non-debtors too then a universal bailout till ALL credit-debt (plus some?) is paid off is justified. That would return the population’s stolen purchasing power and make them far less dependent on the rich. A universal bailout could easily LOWER real interest rates since non-debtors would have plenty of new cash to honestly lend.

          It’s really not negotiable. “Credit-creation” is theft of purchasing power. It should be banned or at least completely privatized and restitution distributed to the population. Steve Keen suggests something similar in “A Modern Jubilee” at

          Or we can continue on and hope that systematic theft by the rich is sustainable.

        2. F. Beard

          My comment is in moderation but basically a ban on credit creation should be combined with a universal (including non-debtors) bailout till ALL credit-debt is paid off. That would significantly help people to buy their own homes since it should lower real interest rates in addition to providing them with new cash.

        3. digi_owl

          How about a housing system of rent with eventual ownership? That the rent acts as a down payment, so that after a certain total has been reached the house is effectively yours.

          pretty much the same as today for anyone that wants to settle down, but eliminates the short term flipping that drives bubbles.

          1. F. Beard

            How about a housing system of rent with eventual ownership? digi_owl

            That thought occurred to me too.

    2. Susan the other

      You mean Sheila Bair’s idea? Whatever happened to the consulting group she started with Brooksley Born and Paul Volcker? No news on that one.

  6. Jackrabbit

    Blame the victim. There Is No Alternative (TINA)

    To TEPCO-Fed regulation of economic reactors

    And the Corexit Politics that hides the damage.

    Let them eat Pink Slime, ’cause ‘I Got Mine.’

    1. Jackrabbit

      Poem titling suggestions?

      – How “Sub-prime is Contained”

      – IBGYBG (I’ll Be Gone, You’ll Be Gone)


      Its getting harder and harder for MSM to ignore the systemic problems as the world economy teeters.

      Hopefully more people will get to see Matt and Susan and others that have tried so hard to get TPTB to deal with systemic problems appropriately.

    1. km4

      nail meet hammer exchange….

      BILL MOYERS: There’s a definition of a sociopath as being radically deprived of empathy. Do you see characteristics of sociopathic behavior on Wall Street?

      MATT TAIBBI: Absolutely.

      YVES SMITH: Yes.

      MATT TAIBBI: I’m sorry, just what Yves was talking about with, you know, the old people who were dying earlier now, people who don’t have kids, who aren’t going to school, garbage that’s being left in the streets. That’s all because some guy was sitting up in a skyscraper in Wall Street and knowingly selling some communities, some municipality a fraudulent, toxic mortgage backed security.
      I mean, he knows that that instrument is going to blow up in, you know, six months, a year. But he’s selling it to them anyway. But he doesn’t care, you know, because he can’t see it, you know? I think in the eyes of a lot of these guys if they can’t see the effect, it doesn’t really exist. And to me, that’s classic sociopathic behavior when you’re blind, you’re willingly blind to the consequences.

      YVES SMITH: I mean, it’s really the growth of the trading culture. You know, in the old days, I worked on Wall Street when Wall Street really was only criminal around the margins. I mean, you really, Goldman Sachs in those days had the expression long-term greedy which meant you didn’t kill the–
      BILL MOYERS: Long-term what?

      YVES SMITH: Long-term greedy. That they were long-term greedy. And that meant you didn’t kill the goose that laid the golden egg. You know, you wouldn’t put your customer into egregiously bad deal. If you took a little extra, you only took it when the customer was making money, too, so if they ever figured it out they wouldn’t be really upset. That attitude has changed completely. And I attribute it significantly to the growth of derivatives

      1. joebhed

        Yes, very telling.
        But didn’t measure up to its learning potential.

        The sociopath analogy ends with the result being that they don’t CARE what happens to the uninformed investor.

        The deeper crime is the very real fact that the banker/trader/seller not only knew the outcome, but placed bets on its direction, the end result being the deepening their own enrichment.
        That should not be a psychological insult to our society, but a criminal one.

          1. Warren Celli

            One person’s sociopath is another person’s hero.

            The generalized definition of a sociopath is one who persistently disregards and treads on the rights of others. Groups, as well as individuals, can be sociopaths.

            The specific symptoms are many and they depend on who pays the shrinks to write the symptoms. It is much like writing history, the rules of war, and the ‘rule of law’; the task (rather the controlling privilege) goes to the man behind the gun — the man with the power — who decides who is a terrorist and what terrorist behavior is, who is a sociopath and what sociopath behavior is, what torture is what torture is not, etc. That culture shaping power of writing the rules is augmented and expanded with control of the media to propagandize the public at large to learn and obey the rules created by the self anointed wealthy elite. American government, through out its history, has been incrementally subjected to self anointed elite wealthy sociopathic groups that have steadily grown in power and usurped American governmental power. Today, these aberrant few Perniciously Greedy for Control Xtrevilists, totally control the government and they shape the viewpoints and the behaviors of the citizens at will.

            One key tell in the behavior of a sociopath is how intensely and destructively the sociopath disregards and violates the rights of their victims. As they have grown in power over time they have increased the intensity of their predations and in tandem their culture shaping efforts.

            Yves characterizes the good old fashioned Vanilla Greed for Profit days in the past as being “only criminal around the margins.” That is not true, and shows, I believe, a culturally instilled and ‘normalized’ sociopathy on her part (nothing personal here, we are all a bit so inclined).

            Yes, it was a period of maintaining the host victim to exploit again — not destroying the seed corn — but it was also a period of greater exploitation of the many by the few than in the past, and many of those exploited, in both foreign and domestic populations, were severely violated. When the few control the many it is ALL criminal — it is a systemically criminal structure — especially with increasing control of the minds of the citizens to dysfunctionally believe in and adore the sociopathy, much like children in dysfunctional families love and emulate the abusive ways of their evil parents — they are made blind to their sociopathy.

            Matt Taibbi, blind to his culturally instilled and ‘normalized’ sociopathy, says to Bill Moyers, who is also blind to his culturally instilled and ‘normalized’ sociopathy “And to me, that’s classic sociopath behavior when you’re blind, you’re willingly blind to the consequences.”

            Yes! We have the blind leading the blind here.

            Yves goes on to say that the good old fashioned Vanilla Greed for Profit days, where the host victim is kept alive for further exploitation, has changed completely and she attributes it “significantly to the growth of derivatives”.

            Also not true, derivatives are only one physical manifestation (there are many others) of the underlying mutation of Vanilla Greed for Profit into the more dangerous Pernicious Greed for Control and Destruction. It is the disease of past Evilism mutating into Xtrevilism. The sociopathy increases.


            Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

        1. A. G. Gelbert

          Exactly. It’s called MENS REA (with malice and aforethought) and the basis of determining whether a criminal act is premeditated or not. The obvious premeditation is exacerbated by the calculus of Wall Street that their criminals in arms in congress, the SEC, the “Justice” department and the fed would backstop the crimes with a guarantee of ZERO prosecution and a bailout paid by public money (moral hazard on steroids!).

          And then it gets worse because the public money used to bailout the crooks is borrowed money which increases the fed’s income stream from the US government. So you can see why the fed ALWAYS pretends to be blind, deaf and dumb in regard to Wall Street crime; Wall Street crime is part and parcel of the fed’s ‘business model’.

          We have a mafia government, period.

          1. km4

            Yes and like that Bill Moyers is doing this quick follow up

            RT @MoyersStaff Join us Sunday at 6 PM ET as @mtaibbi & @yvessmith live tweet the @WNET & @wetatvfm broadcast of @BillMoyers. Ask questions: #moyersq&a

  7. semiconscious

    thanks to you both. if nothing else, the 2 of you have been at it for so long that you’ve indeed mastered the ability of being able to to summarize, very briefly & very clearly, what is occurring, & why, for all our sakes, it needs to be done away with…

    it starts with education. thanks again…

    1. Dave R.

      Yves’smile and laugh when Moyers invited her back to explain derivatives was a great summary to the segment.

      Moyers has seen a lot of history go by since he was a White House aid in the JFK regime. His naivete about the financial system is scary. That most of the current clowns in DC are just as naive and corrupt to boot is scarier.

  8. gregorylent

    so wonderful, such beautiful people and strong information .. i want to see the remainder of it.

      1. A. G. Gelbert

        According to some experts, we lost our democracy decades ago so I think Bill’s framing of the issue is more nostalgic than realistic.

        As Matt said, we have an oligarchy. That is defintely not a democracy.

        “Electronic election rigging has prospered. Democracy is dead. Long live the “adjusted” vote totals.


        Bob Fitrakis has a Ph.D. in political science and a J.D. He is an election law attorney, professor, and has written four books on election integrity.”


  9. docG

    A really eloquent, probing and also caring expression of the basics workings of our financial “system” and its human consequences by both Matt and Yves. Makes me proud to be a regular follower of this blog. Thank God also for Bill Moyers, I’m so glad he’s back.

  10. Ray Duray

    Bill Moyers wants to do an hour on derivatives? Clearly the man is a TV ratings genius! I’m sure I’ll be watching. :)

    [Yves, you and Matt make a marvelous tag team, the Nick & Nora of the 2010s. Someone needs to drop a hint with Bill Maher… It’s the ratings, babe!]

  11. Ep3

    Awesome video yves. You and taibbi should team up more often. You know the technical stuff and he is able to put it in words the average guy can understand.
    Keep up the fight,

  12. polistra

    Remarkably clear.

    Before this, I didn’t understand why the Chase mess was important; it just looked like rich idiots losing a little bit of their own money, which is a good thing. Now I see how it affects everyone negatively.

  13. Aaron Layman

    Nice interview, and I thought you made a very cogent point about how banks should be treated more like utilities. I think we proved in 2008 just how deep those government ties really are.

    1. shtove

      I think Yves made that point to Larry Summers a couple of years ago.

      Larry … ignored her.

  14. McWatt

    Dear Matt and Yves:

    What a great roundup with Moyers. Perfect. Just perfect. For me personally
    it was one of the great half hours in the history of television journalism. Congratulations.

    “Catch-22 says they can do anything we can’t stop them from doing” Heller

  15. jpmist

    Thumbs up! You and Matt are a great tag team, you guys balance each other well. Love the line, “(the regulators) are used to having tea and cookies with the banks” which makes the point nicely.

  16. Pelham

    Excellent, excellent discussion. Thank you, Yves, Matt and Bill.

    I particularly like Yves’ observation that banks should be treated like public utilities. And re the prevalence of sociopathology in investment banking, it recalled for me a study done a number of years ago that found the rate of psychopathology among business school students to be 10 times the rate in the general population. (Think of that: We’re giving a superb, advanced education to people whose most profound nature is essentially destructive.)

    But I guess I’d go a little further. Fundamentally, capitalism seems to require high accumulation of wealth in fewer and fewer hands, which inevitably ends in high concentrations of power in the same hands. Therefore, it seems that any kind of regulation, no matter how effective in the short term, will necessarily break down over time. Regulation, I believe, can’t be the answer because it’s all too easy to circumvent or undermine the rules or co-opt the regulators.

    Something else is required.

    1. Terry Mock

      “Something else is required.”

      While today’s existing global power structure continues to try to conduct business as usual and insist that the economy is in good standing, there is no question that existing systems are unsustainable. The economic value of all of our assets and resources are at stake, and dealing with the symptoms of the problem rather than their root causes, while delaying the consequences and numbing the public to their real effects, only exacerbates the inevitable results.

      Today’s leaders are failing all of us, however, the real economic system at play will continue to deliver real value – if we manage it sustainably. Anything less, including the actions currently being taken, is akin to attempting to build on top of a falling house of cards. Those with the vision to invest in sustainable infrastructure assets will profit through this time of unprecedented turbulence – even while trillions worth of financial “assets” disappear into thin air.

      Sustainable Land Development Initiative
      State of the World Economy –

  17. Ray Duray

    Banks as utilities? Why that sounds like socialism to me! And I’m 100% in favor of it.

    Speaking of utilities and their discontents, we on the Left Coast are being softened up for the scheme, er, plan by too-big-to-be-fair mining interests to start shipping Powder River Basin coal to China via various of our ports. It seems that the utilities are all switching to natural gas these days, what with the crash in the price of methane. So the coal companies are seeking world markets.

    So here’s the deal. You and I own a lot of coal.

    And we’re being asked to sell it to China. At dockside in China this “black gold” will have cost the Chinese anywhere from $75 to $125 per ton delivered.

    The middlemen in the deal will be the overseas shipping company and the railroad. The overseas shipping will cost about $10 per ton. The rail transport about $40 per ton, leaving the Peabody Coal Company anywhere between $25 and $75 per ton in gross proceeds out of which they intend to pay you and me, via our agent, the Bureau of Land Management, about $1 per ton for the permanent depletion of our nation’s natural resource wealth.

    What’s not to like about a deal like this?

    1. ctct

      thanks for bringing this up… i’m afraid this will be the ‘nail’ and/or ‘straw’ for the north american free trade union… a pure extractive third world economic regime… deflationary as all hell… this will be the ‘gold standard’ without the gold and we will be living like the chinese peasants… (no offense to chinese peasants) except worse- we’ll also be carrying the title of debt serf

    2. Susan the other

      About your various ports: Goldman Sachs was accumulating investors a few years back to dredge Humbolt Bay. They wanted to turn it into a big international shipping center with direct access from the RRs bringing everything from wheat to coal. What ever happened to that? The locals were fighting it back then.

      1. humboldt

        The blue slide clay hillsides are too unstable in this area. old tracks have caved in, new ones would too. too easy to send the wheat and coal out via Oakland. the RR fanatics are still trying to come up with a plan but it looks unfeasable from here.

      2. Ray Duray

        Hi Susan,

        I hadn’t heard about Humboldt Bay being on the list for “improvement”, i.e. dredging. The crux of this as pure idiocy is that Eureka is backed up by the Siskiyou Mountains, one of the geologically most unstable locations in the Western Hemisphere. When the feds bulled the I-5 through these mountains, the route was so torturous and twisted that most West Coast truckers opted to stick with the old Hwy 97 to Hwy 58 route for less wear-and-tear on their equipment.

        In a similar vein, there was a trial balloon recently about using Coos Bay for the coal terminal. It didn’t take too long for the financiers to get laughed out of the scheme by the geologists.

      3. Yves Smith Post author

        Wow, this is really good news. I recall the scheme and the hype over it. I looked at a map and thought it was nuts, but I was told the logistics were better than they looked. But it was really about breaking the longshoremen.

  18. Justina

    Brilliant explanations of the massive criminality our banking system “leaders” have installed in our economy. Yves hit the nail on the head with her comment that banks need to be treated like like public utilities (and well regulated like our other public utilities once were).

    Today big banks are simply big criminal syndicates who gauge money from consumers and taxpayers like Mafia loan sharks do. Yet, because members of Congress are getting big commissions from the crooks via campaign donations, they continue writing legislation to increase the gangsters profits while screwing the common people they purportedly represent.

    Time to put all these crooks in jail, but our Department of Justice refuses to act because they too are part and parcel of the organized criminality.

    The American public must self-organize to abolish our current 1 percenter’s economic-political system and create a new system which serves the interest of the majority of citizens.

  19. Conscience of a Conservative

    Just this week we read about Morgan Stanley shifting tons of derivative exposure away from its bank holding company and onto its banking unit which has a higher credit rating thanks to it’s FDIC and tax-payer backing. It doesn’t change.

  20. Zigo

    Very nice interview – wish it would have run longer. I think the only thing that I didn’t understand was in the section describing the banks mafia-esque behavior. Moyers asked if the politicians were supposed to be so well informed and on top of things – why weren’t they asking the same tough questions as Yves and Matt when they had Dimon on the spot. The responses then started going into the public not wanting to believe that our leaders could be that dishonest/evil. It seems to me that the first answer would have been “Our politicians are owned by the banks due to their political contributions”. I guess in a wider view the american people want to stick their heads in the sand and hide from the situation/consequences and thus they aren’t holding their politicians accountable, but the first thought of mine was the banks have bought and paid for all of the politicians and thus the regulators.

    1. damian

      public should be aware that Don Corleone was an honorable man and a good manager who was respected his whole life – the one time he was criticized by his peers, the other mafia families, was when he didnt share “all” the politicians and the judges he had in his pocket.

      dimon and blankfein saw the movie and share all their resources – politicians, regulators and judges

  21. Larry Morgan

    Yves and Matt-
    Thanks to both of you for this. I think that educating the public in this way is critically important, especially via observations and metaphors that people can grasp and get angry about. Wall Street as Mafia. Old people are dying and schools aren’t being built and hospitals are falling apart because some sociopaths in a skyscraper sold fraudulent investments and pocketed the profit. Bankers extracted hundreds of millions in bonuses in the very year when their failure was bailed out with taxpayer money. Steal a hundred bucks from 7-11 and go to jail; steal a hundred million from depositors and walk free.
    We need to keep collecting and disseminating these kinds of observations.

  22. econ

    Truly excellent dialogue on B. Moyers interview of Taibbi and Yves Smith. Our capitalist-democratic culture has mainstream media at the total service of the propaganda of the moneyed class to deny reality. How does a society overcome this? In the Russian empire nobody noticed the media…they knew it was a lie. That is one reason why it fell apart from within. What path will USA and others take once the big lie is realized?

  23. kris

    Absolutely fantastic. A million thanks.

    JPM has become like a Public Union. The word SYSTEMATIC applies:
    – Big 5 banks – JPM, GS, BAC, C, MS
    – Public unions
    – Boeing
    – Teacher unions
    – Warren Buffett
    – etc

    Basically, anybody or any group that has become the BASE of the system, cannot fail. Good luck to us.

    There is only one solution: Reset of debt to zero.
    Basically the drea

  24. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you, Yves. And Matt Taibbi and Bill Moyers, as well. Besides the fact that many of our most important institutions have fallen under the control of sociopathic-criminal individuals, the overriding takeaway for me from this conversation is the profound systemic issues that transcend the individual instances of criminal and enabling behavior.

    We truly need to give some very serious thought as a society about how to go about rebuilding our nation, and to include key constituencies in that conversation. Bill Moyers’ show, NPR and blogs provide forums. But we also need effective organization; i.e., “Big Umbrella” organizations in order to move forward and reclaim our heritage.

    In this regard, I feel consideration should be given to systemic changes that could include dramatically increasing the number of legislators, the number of Supreme Court justices, significantly curtailing executive branch powers, and gaining public control over the Fed. In this day and age of mobile communication networks, there is little need for our legislators to be concentrated in DC where they are prey to “K Street” lobbyists. They should live and work among the People whom they represent in my view. Absent a Constitutional amendment, the only peaceful avenue I see to overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and implementing effective campaign financing laws would be through such changes.

    Either or both of the two major political parties could represent vehicles for this effort if they were to abandon a path of corruption and bi-polar, divisive politics on behalf of those who presently are in control of a corrupt system that benefits a very few enormously while costing the many a great deal.

    The situation cries out for ethical, intelligent leaders who are adept at consensus-building, among other skills, and who have the character to resist financial enticements and intimidation.

  25. Susan the other

    Bill Moyers has the best of the best on his show. But I always get the feeling his interviews are timed to deal with the fallout not the explosion. When he offered an invitation to Matt and Yves to come back and explain derivatives I thought that was his real agenda. And the fact that the “banks” can no longer shoulder their derivative obligations (because they are beyond insolvent), and so they are brazenly shuffling off their derivative portfolios into the FDIC portions of their corporations, makes it timely for Moyers to do some of his calm, fatherly explaining. He’s kind of like the Grim Reaper leading us all to the cemetery.

  26. Pelham

    By the way, while this uninterrupted 26-minute discussion was quite informative, one wishes it could have gone on longer. So the question becomes: Why aren’t such discussions routine on TV instead of an extreme rarity? The uninformed shouting matches on cable are actually corrosive.

    It’s a good question. The airwaves belong to the public, not the broadcasters. If we want stuff like this instead of the usual counterproductive fare we’re treated to, we should be able to get it. We should easily be able to yank the broadcast licenses of stations — at only a moment’s notice, if we wish — that don’t live up to what the public wants, irrespective of what sells the most for advertisers.

    But we can’t. Never happens. Why is that? And what should we do about it? (For one thing, I’d propose abolishing the licensing powers of the FCC and putting licenses up for a direct Internet vote of citizens within each broadcast market. There’s no good reason not to do this. Then, if we wish, we could also ban all broadcast political ads in individual markets, eliminating another scourge of our democracy.)

    1. Jeff N

      yes! I wish it was longer too.
      however, I always become more hopeless/depressed when I soak up too much of this stuff.

      it’s like there’s sooo much wrong, one doesn’t know where to start. and then the non-economic-minded people are a sucker for a simple/folksy-sounding (but false) explanation.

  27. JEHR

    Such a lively symmetry between Matt and Yves! We need the derivatives program and I look forward to seeing it.

  28. LeonovaBalletRusse

    Yves, Matt, and Bill, thanks for your gifts to humanity. I look forward to your revelations of the derivatives sub-system in the finance/economic systems, which will serve to open the eyes of many of our fellow citizens to our current reality. Only then can We the People begin to transform our systems and ourselves, for the good of all. The time for “banks as utilities” has come.

    You prove that we can be “the home of the brave” as you become stars whose place in the eternal constellations is guaranteed. Congratulations.

  29. Martin

    Great segment. Moyers show is one of the few truly public services. Why is there no discussion about the lack of criminal prosecutions by the Justice Department?

  30. ex-PFC Chuck

    Awesomely informative. Thank you. and Thank you, Bill Moyers. Watched it last evening on Twin Cities Public Television.

  31. F. Beard

    “This unit was using depositors’ money Yves Smith

    This is clear.

    and yet taking large bets.” Yves Smith

    This is subject to interpretation since all TRUE investment involves risk and judgment calls (US Treasuries, otoh, are “corporate welfare”, according to Bill Mitchell).

    So shouldn’t we just stick with what is clear and ABOLISH government deposit insurance? And provide the population with a risk-free fiat storage and transaction service that makes no loans and pays no interest instead?

  32. Greg Marquez

    Excellent. Clear, simple, answers. Nice job of questioning by Moyers. Loved Matt’s selling handbags or roles’s on the streets of New York illustration. Very well done. Thanks

  33. James F Traynor

    Wonderful. While every now and then I feel as if I’m going insane (everybody around me is nuts, ergo I’m the one that’s truly bonkers), something like this happens. For thirty years I’ve been watching this slow motion financial disaster and started tap dancing between the rain drops trying to grow a reasonable and very modest nest egg. Except the raindrops kept getting bigger and falling faster. Well, at least I wasn’t nuts. But in 2011 our retirement income from interest dropped 90% from the year before.

  34. stripes

    I speak with people all of the time who still blame this BANKSTER FRAUD CRISIS on people buying homes they could not afford…..! Even my own sister who lost her home to fraudclosure when her husband lost his job of over 20 years in the scaffolding business…blames people who bought homes they couldn’t afford….My brother in law lost his home in fraudclosure after he lost his bricklayer job….a union job…and he blames himself for losing his home. This is what I am talking about…! They believe everything they are told by the media.

    1. Claire

      The propaganda is working: thousands of MSM reporters (CNN, FoxNews, NPR, ABC, NBC, NY Times, WaPo, Atlantic Monthly, etc), and billions of dollars in resources, broadcasting their pro-Wall Street message 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

      It’s hard to find one person (in real life, not on the blogs), who hasn’t been totally brainwashed, or who doesn’t agree with Roger Lowenstein’s assessment that Wall Street is not guilty.

      And what’s up with all these Obama supporters who’ve never heard of the National Defense Authorization Act? I’ve probably met a dozen of them in the last couple weeks. Once I explain, they say they watch CNN, they listen to NPR, they read the newspapers, etc, but they’ve never once heard NDAA mentioned.

      Mass propaganda ruling the public, and molding minds without any need for physical coercion, is really something to behold.

          1. GA_Prog

            The guy on MSNBC is Chris Hayes. He’s on Sat AND Sun mornings. The show is called “UP” and is one of the best on “cable news”.

    2. sunny129

      I totally agree.

      The power of disinformation is underated and unappreciated by many b/c MSM itself is paricipating, knowingly and without scruples.

    3. Jessica

      “They believe everything they are told by the media.”
      There must be something that predisposes many of us to believe what the media tells us. Part of it is nearly a century of work by “creative” servants of the elite to figure out the best way to serve up bullshit. But I am convinced there is more to it.
      The sense I get and that I also got from reading David Graeber’s book about the history of debt is that these toxic social patterns tap into things well-wired into the wetware during our evolution. Things that presumably served us in the savannah but that now work against us.

      1. stripes

        Funny, talk radio in Chicago was discussing this very issue today. The conclusion was FOX and the others will keep lying because obviously people are believing their lies. I flip on those channels just to spy. I like Neil Cavuto and Judge Napolitano. All the rest are definitely disinfo agents. The show the Five is the worst. Anderson Cooper is a distraction and Erin Burnett is a CFR Illuminati shill…MSNBC is shot except for the guy on Sunday early in the morning.

  35. kevinearick

    Bank is a utility, which is Warren Buffet at the knee of Graham. The problem is not the law. The problem is the power individuals have to set the value of currency implicitly, and their willingness to hand it over to the explicit empire. Soros is just the transformer.

    The law FOLLOWS behavior, and human behavior cannot be changed in REAL TIME, UNTIL IT DOES, depending upon the income event horizon, and it’s collapse.

  36. kevinearick

    The empire is always the problem, which single people largely see, but the solution is the problem turned on its head, individual responsibility, aggregated, which is what parents see. Problem is that parents have been exterminated.

  37. LillithMc

    Thank you so much for the full interview that may be cut for the show. I posted it on my facebook page saying it is the best economic explanation available of our current situation. Sadly, no one on my facebook page would understand it or believe it. It remains there for me to watch when I need to select my water bill, my electric bill, my garbage bill. Thanks also, Yves, for remembering the little people.

  38. seabos84

    I think there is some data which could and would stir up the masses, and the lack of this data is yet ANOTHER place where the unions and Democratic Party COMPLETELY fall on their asses with respect to this crap –

    (stupid me, acting like they were on the little people’s side.)

    HOW MUCH does it cost each of us Per hour (40*52 = 2080), per week, per month, per year to GIVE Jamie f’king Dimon a 14 billion dollar tax subsidy per year? 125,000,000 people working means each of us is sending Jamie $112 a year. It means that they’re skimming MY pay for 5 1/2 cents an hour.

    Seattle Parks costs me 50 cents an hour. Seattle libraries cost me 25 cents an hour. When ALL of us pay for parks and ALL of pay for libraries, I can use the parks in Miami Florida or Randolph MA or Prescott AZ or Holyoke MA when visiting friends & family, AND, they can use parks and libraries when they visit each other or me!

    WTF did I get for my nickle?

    Oh 14 billion / 4 quarters = 3.5 billion. Jamie’s company had a 2 billion dollar loss and a 4 billion dollar profit in 3 months… so over AFTER they lost OUR f’king money, they still pocketed 1.5 billion!

    BTW – the unions and the Dem party have the money to do this kind of analysis and proclaim it and publish it and rub it in our faces … WHY don’t they? I gotta 50+ hour a week job, I do NOT have time to do it.

    this white house tax receipt idea is kind of hte basis for what I’m thinking …

    GREAT EPISODE. once again, you’re linked on my facebook.

    high school math teacher

    1. K Ackermann

      No, no… the republicans will say you didn’t pay any money, while the sufferin’ rich paid 10 cents.

  39. Claire

    Dear Yves and Matt,

    I normally avoid TV journalism (as well as newspapers and magazines) in an effort to be free of corporate propaganda.

    But I finally found time to watch the video and I have to agree with McWatt’s comment above, that this is one of the great half hours in the history of TV journalism.

    Thank you.

  40. Westcoastliberal

    You guys hit the proverbial nail on the head in describing the problem. In another show, I’d like to hear your suggestions for a solution, God knows we need one and quickly.
    Thanks to both of you for all you do to support the truth.

  41. Corazon

    Thank you for the program. Now, what are citizens like me, going to do about it? It’s clear that elected officials won’t lift a finger to eliminate these abuses. So,what can you, what can I, and millions of other Americans do NOW to solve these injustices? Please let’s get into action!

  42. Greg T

    Bill Moyers’ reaction to Matt and Yves’ analysis was priceless. He was simultaneously fascinated and horrified, as if witnessing a car wreck. Matt’s angle particularly interested me. These banks operate like mafiosi. It’s really no different. The capos just have better suits and they were made at places like Harvard, Wharton and Princeton instead of a quiet ceremony in someone’s basement. Of course, standard economic theory glosses over this tendency of industries to form cartels, buy off the regulators and treat their customers like disposable Charmin.

    I’m with Yves. Banks should operate as public utilities. Regulation works maybe for a while until it is completely subverted by the industry.

    1. F. Beard

      Banks should operate as public utilities. Greg T

      Meaning what? Why should one person be given credit over another? And who determines whom shall be given the population’s stolen purchasing power?

      Government should have nothing to do with credit creation or even the lending of existing money.

  43. Sagebrush

    In this day and time MSM stands for Main Stream Misinformation. A majority of the information broadcast and printed by the Main Stream Media today is nothing more then Corporate Elite approved propaganda. Factual information and the truth are covered up, manipulated, or denied to protect and project the Corporate Elite agenda. The problem as I see it is, most Americans believe the MSM misinformation and refuse to see they’re being lied to or they just don’t give a damn about what’s happening to this country.

  44. Warren Celli

    Good old fashioned Vanilla Greed for Profit Bill Moyers, with a very straightforward choir boy innocent and serious face leans forward and says to Matt and Yves “Do you see characteristics of sociopathic behavior on Wall Street?”

    Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  45. Jessica

    Thank you both for all your hard work and for presenting it so clearly and forcefully.
    Eventually, we will also need to figure out whether this mafia-like fraud in the commanding heights of our economy was just bad luck (in which case, we “just” need to completely reform our financial sector) or whether it arose out of yet deeper causes (in which case, we may need to start addressing them, at least right after completely reforming the financial sector).
    Obviously, most of the country first needs to understand what the problem is, but when the time comes to solve it, we will need people like Yves and Matt and many of the readers of this blog to play important parts.

  46. stripes

    I went out and poked around south suburban Chicago this afternoon to try to get a pulse on the economy. Everything is dead for a Saturday. Either the people are this broke or they are boycotting the corporate oligarchy. I hope it is the latter.

  47. charles leseau

    Another thank you.

    I read articles on this site regularly but mostly lurk instead of commenting because damnit Jim, I’m a pianist not an economist, but I will comment now that this helped reinforce my understanding of these complex issues a little more clearly.

    I also appreciated that Moyers asked good and pertinent questions that allowed both of you to shine a light on what is happening in such a cogent way.

  48. skippy

    People ask, what can I do?

    Well… I’ve pinged over a hundred people with this video so far, more to come, over all manner of media platforms, around the world.

    Skippy… Massive thanks to Yves, Matt, Bill and all the NC’ers for their constant discovery and pressure applied. Lest we forget.

  49. mrtmbrnmn

    Bravo Yves & Matt!! You’ve got it right!! And kudos to Bill Moyers for putting you on the teevee machine.

    Cannibal Capitalism/Banksterism is the Shock Doctrine on steroids. This villainous criminal cabal of corporate behemoths, private equity pirates, hedge fund hyenas and the bankster robber barons, Al-Qaeda of Wall Street, in their never-ending quest to create a perpetual money machine that sucks all revenue streams down their gullet, by hook or by crook, are an economic/political plague that may yet prove to be the most, corrosive, corrupting and destructive force ever unleashed across the face of the earth. The 10 biblical plagues are comic book stuff in comparison.

    Attention must be paid!

  50. John Cummings

    Your forgetting if those people hadn’t been so greedy and took on all the debt we would not be in this situation. It is those people who refuses to pay back Wall Street that are causing the problem.

    They need to cancel the internet, get rid of their cellphones, cancel cable and all these other things they just can’t afford while living beyond their means. If that means dealing with 100 degree heat without air conditioning or 0 degree weather with limited heat, that is life.

    Just think all the money saved by cancelling these services. The real problem is greed among the laboring and even managerial classes. They want to live lifestyles way beyond what they can afford. I see them in suburban Cincinnati all the time.

    1. Rex

      You’re off to an appropriate start with getting the first word of your post wrong (your /= you are).

      Several years into this financial catastrophy and you are still buying into the BS meme of blame the vast numbers of greedy little guys. Somebody did have to take the loans but most of the readers of this blog are not likely to buy your simplistic explanation of what drove the crash.

      If you really believe what you wrote, you may benefit from reading Yves’ book.

  51. K Ackermann

    Yves and Matt both looked comfortable, gracious to one another and to Bill, and used accessible language.

    I’d love to do a frequency count on the words fraud, criminal, etc. Those points were hammered home at every question.

  52. Kim Kaufman

    I suspect Bill Moyers is playing somewhat of a straight man and is not as uninformed as he acts and he understand derivatives just fine but at any rate, good pretense to have Yves back on. It also seemed Yves was on her good behavior — I recall her being quite a bit snarkier towards the bankers with Harry Shearer. Still, a good show and hope Yves keeps getting more exposure.

  53. joebhed

    Before we can ‘transform’ banks into public utilities, we need to change them back to banks.
    There should never exist a public utility whose business model is based on renting out the nation’s ‘purchasing power’, a product that they do not, and can never, own in the first place.

    Putting the bank’s back to banking must include ending the fractional-reserve banking system – or we will start all over again. And hope the grandkids get it right.

    1. F. Beard

      There should never exist a public utility whose business model is based on renting out the nation’s ‘purchasing power’, a product that they do not, and can never, own in the first place. joebhed

      Well said.

  54. Narg

    I couldn’t help but think that banks are todays true national security threat. Not only did they build a financial doomsday device and blackmailed entire nations for bailouts, but bit by bit they are digging away at the very fabric of the republic itself. Systematic lawbreaking as a business opportunity, bribes and their legal equivalent campaign contributions and the executive organs tasked with oversight are helpless if not complicit. They are an elitist and insular society within society, how can all this not end in disaster?

  55. GCT

    As long as the economy and this country is a debt based society nothing will change. Nothing will change until we hold our politicians accountable for the corruption and change the way contributions to campaigns.

    I am old and during my journey through life when you needed money like the interviewers stated from the mafia you were charged high interest rates. We called this loan sharking and now it is legal. I hope and pray we find a leader and people that will change the system. Not going to happen in my lifetime.

    The only way to change the system in my mind is to stop playing their game of taking on more debt as an individual. But people are greedy and will play the game to keep up with the Jones.

    I may get flamed for this statment but take a good hard look in the mirror as we are all to blame for this mess. Greed got us here and hard choice will be the only way out of this mess, along with a global jubilee.

  56. kemo sabe


    Thanks for appearing on the Bill Moyers program with Matt Taibbi. I hope you can come back and tell us more about the derivatives fraud. More people need to learn about what Wall St. is doing to them.

  57. Jim Clausen


    Moyers has got to have you both on again(and I would also select David Dayen as well)

    Thanks for all you do.

  58. lambert strether

    I don’t know why I’m being so nice to the banksters. Clearly, cuffs and orange jumpsuits are too good for them. We need to take a cue from the Italian mafia trials:

  59. ronbon

    In a word…..WONDERFUL !! Three extremely competent and knowledgeable people telling truth to power….or to anyone intelligent enough to listen.

    Makes me almost think there might yet be a chance for this country…..but……nah…..still too much greed in the corporate corner and gutlessness in the corridors of power.

    Anyway, NICE TRY!!!!!

  60. youthinasia

    Not sure why Matt and Yves were the opening act for Peter Edelman. If they had the entire 55 minutes maybe then Moyers could have 1) begun a conversation on derivatives and 2) considered the first steps toward reform.

    Sorry for being greedy… ;-)

  61. Mary Bess

    I hope Bill Moyers will check in with you and Matt Taibbi on a regular basis. Enlightening!

    Why are learning a lot about the problems and how they developed. How about solutions?

    Why doesn’t anyone say: It’s time to write down the debt and create a new social contract?

  62. mkexplorer

    Yves, you and Matt Taibbi were outstanding! You worked extremely well together and I could tell Moyers was very pleased. That smile on his face said it all. I hope he has both of you back soon, either together or individually.

  63. goldenthal

    Thank you, Ms. Smith, for finally saying what I have thought for some time; that big banks should be dealt with as public utilities. I’d go even further — any enterprise that is “too big to fail” (i.e., a guaranteed automatic beneficiary of taxpayers’ money if troubled) is, in fact, an arm of government. The people should have a say in the running of such enterprise since the people pay. The people should be compensated for shouldering all the risk. I doubt the people would award higher CEO remuneration that what POTUS earns.

  64. enouf

    Allow me to say thank you humbly to Yves, Matt, and Bill… and even though my (overall) take on this entire matter is more akin to Mr Celli’s; i feel compelled to thank those in public view (especially on Nationally Broadcasted/Syndicated Teledroid-vision) for even raising some awareness to the mostly (seemingly) ignorant (hopeless) masses. Please don’t stop.

    As an aside; I wanted to mention how i appreciate Moyers’ entire intro; Giving Matt’s and Yves’ Book(s) and recent articles/publications just the right amount of air time, IMHO — it *wasn’t* a once-over, flash-by .. the time was taken for 1st-watchers (who were as yet unaware of such credentials and publications) to really absorb the Titles/Subtitles.


    p.s. You guys looked really comfortable/relaxed ..(Yves; as you previously told us just after the initial taping, and blogged here to inform us about his open/warm staff making you guys feel right at home.)

  65. MollyJ

    My first real exposure to Yves Smith but the dynamic of Smith and Taibbi, with the skillful guiding hand of Moyers was amazing. This interview did something that needs to happen more and more. It revealed the face of how these fancy economic policies hurt real folks. And I think that Smith asked a great question when she said that had she sat on that congressional hearing she would have asked Dimon to justify the existence of these inscrutable banking instruments. Why do “we” the public need something that proves so risky and harmful when it goes south?

    Amazing interview and very thought provoking.

  66. Alastair

    “Trade Councils in Australia — real know nothings” sarcasm or derision for Trade Councils, Yves?

  67. Alastair

    @22:30 “Trade Councils in Australia — real know nothings”. Sarcasm or derision for buyers who should have known better, Yves. From down under, municipal governments also bought up and suffered massive losses.

  68. Scotch

    “In Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated, and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks.”

    Spencer Bachus. Alabama (R) Chairman, House Financial Services Committee. December 13, 2010

  69. Jus7tme

    Is it ok to say you are hot, Yves? A real looker of a woman with intellect and a conscience. Wow!

  70. ETNIKS

    The title suggest it’s only the large banks that are at fault for the crisis we’re enduring around the world, and definitely they are by far the main culprits, but I see the Banking SYSTEM itself is the cause of our misery. It is called FRACTIONAL RESERVE BANKING.

    I don’t think we are going to succeed in solving any of the problems we have financially unless we change the nature of the banking system altogether.

    This system we use produces 95% of the currency as loans, and if we as a society ever try to fulfill our obligations to pay back our debts, as it is happening with “Austerity” , then the money in circulation is diminished and the economic activity slows down making it impossible to grow the economy to pay back the debts.

    As we shall see for the many quotes regarding money that follow, this theme has been well thought out in the past, and yet, it is totally absent in our lexicon throughout our lives. Such is the control of information that permeates our education system, Mainstream media, Churches and even family lives.

    We are kept in the dark purposely.

    In order for people to understand the quotes, is important to make clear a gross misconception held by the majority. The general assumption is that the government creates the currency we use, when in fact it is the Private banks who do every time they make loans. This different sort of money functions unlike the kind of money people think of, as say gold coins.
    Debt-based money as it is called, works more like an IOU because once the debt that created it is paid back to the bank, IT DISAPPEARS. It is gone and if we want more currency to sustain the economy we have to get into debt again with a new loan.


    “History records that the money changers (bankers) have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit and violent means possible to maintain their control over government by controlling Money and its issuance.”
    James Madison

    ‘The study of Money, is one in which complexity is used
    to evade truth, not to reveal it”
    John Kenneth Galbraith

    “The issuing power (of money) should be taken from the banks and
    restore to the people, to whom it properly belongs”

    “The government should create… all the currency and credit needed to satisfy
    the spending power of the government and the buying power of the consumers…Money will cease to be the Master and will then become servant of humanity”
    Abraham Lincoln (the creator of the interest-free GEENBACKS)

    “Each and every time a bank makes a loan,
    new bank credit is created, -new deposits- brand new money”
    Graham F. Towers
    Governor, Bank of Canada 1934 – 54

    “The process by which Banks create money is so simple, that the mind is repelled”
    John Kenneth Galbraith Economist

    “If you want to remain slaves of the bankers and pay for the costs of
    your own slavery, let them continue to create money and control the nation’s credit”
    Sir Josiah Stamp


    “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous than standing armies…
    If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of currency,
    the banks and corporations that will grow around them, will deprive the people of their property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered”

    Thomas Jefferson 1743-1826

    “Permit me to issue and control
    the money of a Nation,
    and I care not who makes its laws”

    -Mayer Anselm Rothschild

    1. ETNIKS

      For people who want to further their research into how money is created and what it means who has control over its issuance, I offer the following links.

      A Simple Solution to the Debt Crisis

      Debunking Money – Myth and Machiavelli 1 of 5

      12 yr old Victoria Grant explains how banks commit fraud


      Essential Knowledge For A Wall Street Protestor

      Greek Town VOLO Develops Credit System Without Euro

      Damon Vrabel Renaissance 2.0

      THE MONEY MASTERS full film

      “When the people of the world have a common Monetary Language,
      completely freed from every government, it will so facilitate and stabilize exchange that Peace and Prosperity will ensue even without world government.
      A union of peoples rather than a union of political governments is what this world needs.
      -E.C. Riegel monetary theorist
      The New Approach to Freedom, 1949

      “Neither a Borrower or a Lender Be”
      William Shakespeare

      “Money is the Measure by which Goods are Valued,
      The Value by which goods are Exchanged and in which Contracts are made payable.
      Everything receives a value from its use, and the value is raised, according to its Quality, Quantity and Demand.
      Money is not the value for which Goods are Exchanged,
      But the Value BY which Goods are Exchanged”
      John Law 1705

      Read more:

Comments are closed.