The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap

The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap


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The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In The Divide Matt Taibbi lays out the case that wealthy individuals and corporations more and more aim to be “above citizenship”, seeking rights and privileges while shedding responsibilities, justifying outright fraud with the idea that punishing powerful entities for any wrongdoing mainly hurts the little people they employ. At the same time, he argues, people living in poverty are having more and more of their rights stripped away and more aspects of their lives criminalized, while facing a justice system that reinforces inequality. Furthermore, Taibbi argues that both law enforcement and financial regulators are going to begin casting wider and wider nets – with police scrutinizing the daily lives of middle class people on one end, while on the other end financial regulators pursue small businesses without the wealth to hire a small army of attorneys.  This could have been a deadly boring read and a real slog, but instead it is thought provoking and quite gripping. Taibbi successfully outlines and clarifies some very complex legal and financial matters in straightforward language, and does so with acerbic wit. He peppers the book with pop culture references (as when he compares aggressive prosecutors to hockey-mask wearing Jason of the Friday the 13th movies) and snarky one-liners that take potentially tedious and confusing material and make it relatable and absorbing. He also focuses a lot of attention on the real human suffering created by arrest quotas and stats-based policing on the one hand, and corporate fraud on the other, using the lives of real people to illustrate broader trends. Provocative and compelling.
DougCA More than 1 year ago
The author presents a dramatic, well-documented contrast of the two systems of American justice: lenient for the wealthy, harsh and unforgiving for the poor.
Johnny_Shin More than 1 year ago
We often hear of the unfair treatment of the poor, generally non-white population getting less than fair treatment in our American legal system. We also hear of how the super rich, especially in the financial areas, generally don't do jail time for even the worst of their crimes. Taibbi's hypothesis is that these two phenomena are inextricably linked and he explains the hows and whys. Although his stance may seem that of a crusading liberal, he is definitely not a fan of either Obama or Eric Holder on this issue. Perhaps of necessity, the book at times gets a bit bogged down in detail, but I found it worth the effort. Very enlightening.
papadonMI More than 1 year ago
Matt does a great job of putting the facts together in an easy to read fashion. Good Job, Matt Taibbi.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Given the nature of the divide, its not sensationalized. Matt Taibbi gives solid background of how the inequality of the justice system toward white collar crime (and the corruption of the US Banking system) developed, and how its intended and unintended consequences are reverberating from the legal documents in the Justice Department, and Supreme Court rulings to the real lives of regular Americans and the currently bonus-ridden, slap-on-the-wrist punished banking corporations.
plappen More than 1 year ago
Among the consequences of the Wealth Gap in America seems to be the establishment of two different sets of laws, one for the rich and one for everyone else. This book gives the details. The sale of Lehman Brothers to Barclays Bank was advertised as a last-minute, desperation fire sale. How did Barclays manage to get an extra five billion dollars as part of the deal? Among the reasons why the Justice Department doesn't prosecute "too big to fail" banks, or their top executives, is because they have lots of money, and lots of lawyers, to delay and delay the case until the government gives up. It is easier for the government, and it looks better, to go after smaller targets. Evidently, the agreements where a bank agrees to pay several billion dollars without admitting guilt, even for money laundering or handling Colombian drug cartel money, "sends a message." (Really?) There is the story of a group of billionaire hedge fund managers who conspired to drive a Canadian insurance company out of business, using dirty tricks. Countrywide Financial intentionally did not want to know details of the financial health of the people to whom they were lending money. They were happy to lend to anyone. On the other side of the divide, how can America's prison population be going way up while the rate of violent crime is way down? The answer is: Stop and Frisk. Did you know that standing on the sidewalk in front of your house in New York City can get you arrested and thrown in a police van that just happens to be nearby? After going through the court system, charged with Blocking Pedestrian Traffic (even if there was no one else on the sidewalk at the time), you could be back in front of your house. This time, you are standing at the edge of the sidewalk, almost on the street. Prepare to get arrested again, charged with Blocking Vehicular Traffic (even if you weren't actually in the street). The new criminal class in America seems to be welfare applicants and recipients. The author does not mean to suggest that accusations of welfare fraud should not be investigated, and, if necessary, prosecuted. What is the sense in assuming that Everyone is trying to defraud the system? This is not a case of "guilty until proven innocent" but "we know you are guilty, and eventually, we'll prove it." This book easily reaches the level of Wow. It is a very eye-opening, and rather disheartening, look at life in present-day America. It is extremely highly recommended for all Americans.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read very insightful.
cwbMT More than 1 year ago
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Reality-Man More than 1 year ago
There is not a word in this book that anyone over age 21 with an IQ over 100 doesn't already know. What he writes is true but the solutions are not realistic. We live in America, as good a country as there is in the world. The present President has tired to do something about this but in the process is ruining America. Theory is one thing. Realism is the other and naivity is the worst.
manwithmanybooks More than 1 year ago
I haven't started reading this book. I have a few to catch up on before I get to this one. I'm currently reading 3 books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read the Headline