Hey there, and welcome to another episode of lever time the flagship podcast from the lever, an independent investigative news outlet. I'm your host, David Sirota on today's show, we're gonna be talking about First up progressive Democrats winning big after last week's midterm election, which saw big victories for progressive candidates. The Congressional Progressive Caucus, the group of progressive lawmakers on the Hill, they held a press conference with over a dozen of their soon to be new members. One of the Levers reporters attended the event and will be joining us for a play by play. Then, we're going to be talking about everyone's favorite fake currency. cryptocurrency. Last week, the crypto market was completely roiled when a major exchange collapsed. It scam artists, the CEO resigned, and the entire industry lost 1/5 of its value. I'm going to be joined by two crypto policy experts who are going to help explain how the entire mess unfolded, and what if anything the regulators need to do to fix it. This week, our paid subscribers will also get a bonus segment, my interview with the author of the new book, atomic days, the untold story of the most toxic place in America. It's about the Hanford Nuclear reservation in Washington state, it is a wild and terrifying story. So make sure to check that out. If you want access to lever time premium, head over to lever news.com To become a supporting subscriber that gives you access to all of our premium content. And you'll be directly supporting the investigative journalism that we do here at the lever. Speaking of which, if you're looking for other ways to support our work, do us a favor, share our reporting with your friends and family leave this podcast a rating and review on your podcast player. The only way that independent media grows is by word of mouth, and we need all the help we can get to combat the inane bullshit. That is corporate media. As always, I'm here with producer Frank, what's up Bruce Frank
now much, David, in a good mood this week, there's been like some actual good news that has been breaking and that we've been reporting on and you know, you really you'd love to see it every once in a while.
I mean, the authoritarian the right wing authoritarians didn't win the election. That's good. I think I think we should all feel good about that. And I should add, I think there's a way to feel good about that without deifying and glorifying the Democrats. I mean, I think the Democrats basically effectively didn't lose, they didn't exactly win, but they didn't lose. So I think that is actually good news. But I think they basically they basically succeeded in not losing because the Republicans came off is so insane. And speaking of that, Donald Trump, of course, is expected to announce his third presidential bid this week about time really. We're recording now when he hasn't actually done the announcement. But he is expected to be making the announcement tonight. Not such a shock. I don't think I think everyone's kind of expected this. My thoughts on that are I can't believe this guy still wants to keep doing this. The election, especially in the in the exit polls seemed like a true repudiation, specifically of him. I mean, a lot of the exit polls, it said that he was on voters minds, and specifically in the in the minds of voters who were voting against the Republicans. I guess I'm not surprised by this. But I'm obviously not psyched about it, either. I mean, I think we're either going to look back on this time as the Republicans in a death spiral and Donald Trump just adding to that death spiral by trying to run again, or we're going to look back on this as the comeback of Donald Trump, which would be kind of really terrible and awful. Well, what do you think's gonna happen?
I mean, I don't think there's any chance for a comeback. I mean, we've we're seeing now like, you know, even Fox News, like sort of start to cut ties with the guy and lift up Ron DeSantis. So I think he's lost a lot of the conservative institutional support that got him where he was to begin with. But in terms of like, his new presidential bid, it's gonna be it's gonna be a dumpster fire, that's for sure. I mean, look, the one thing we know about this man is that he is one of the most insecure people on planet Earth, so there's no chance he's gonna go quietly into that good night. You know, he hates losing and he needs to he needs to fight until the bitter end. And you know what, I'm I'll be excited to watch his bitter end.
It's definitely going to be a big dumpster fire. I totally agree. I mean, I I just think Maybe I'm crazy for thinking this. He's already been president once he's 70 Whatever the you know, late 70s. At this point, he doesn't look like a healthy guy at all. I'm I'm kind of shocked that he's still he's still sort alive in the sense that he doesn't seem to exercise he only seems to eat junk food.
Now he completely defies science. He's
like a scientific impossibility
once once he passes his like autopsy they should study him. You know, like there might be like the secret to immortality might actually live somewhere inside of Donald Trump. Yeah, I
don't I don't I don't get it. I just I, and he's not he's not coherent. I mean, the funny thing is, when you watch him in sound bites, he actually seems more coherent than if you watch a full Donald Trump speech. A full Donald Trump speeches is completely not coherent. It's like free associating all over the place. It doesn't hold together. I'm surprised that he wants to do another campaign. But I think look, I think you got to write man, I think he he's just so addicted to the buzz and so addicted to being in front of the camera and so addicted to to just being the the ringmaster of a circus, that he is not just going to fade out. I mean, he's just not going to, I think him running again, will be simultaneously hilarious. And also kind of terrifying. And there's going to be some really funny parts to laugh at. And some parts that fully course in the discourse even more, but I would not I will say this. The last thing I'll say on this is I would not count the guy out. I just I would not count him out. Like I don't want him to be president. I mean, I don't want Ron DeSantis to be president either. Yeah, at
this point I'm making not making any predictions about any anything can happen. Are you kidding? It's 2022. We could aliens could land tomorrow it by this point?
Totally. Now, speaking of 2022, let's get into our first story for the day, which is actually unlike a story about Donald Trump is actually a pretty positive and uplifting story rather than, again, the normal doom and gloom that plagues most of American politics. Last week's midterm elections were by almost all metrics, a historical aberration. Usually the incumbent president's party gets totally shellacked, losing big numbers of seats, and both the House and Senate. And if you're looking at early polling data, or ingesting corporate media, it seemed like President Biden's Democratic Party was headed for one of those world class shellac things. But Surprise, surprise, amazingly, that's not what happened. In fact, the Democrats are now on track to having the best midterm performance of either party in the last 20 years. Now, I want to be clear, I don't think that is as much a referendum on what the Democrats did right, as it is a referendum on how freakish the Republican Party is, and what the Republican Party leaders did wrong. But whatever, whatever keeps the right wing authoritarians out of power. In my view, that's a good thing. And there were some things to be actually affirmatively excited about. We saw big wins for progressive specifically progressive candidates across the country, pushing back on the narrative, that corporate friendly centrism, quote, unquote, is the only way to win as a Democrat in swing areas. Look, you had John Fetterman flipping a Senate seat in Pennsylvania, one of the swingingest swing states in the country and he ran on a worker focused agenda summer Lee overcame $4 million in negative spending by AIPAC, the pro Israel lobbying group that was hell bent on destroying her campaign in Pittsburgh, she won a house seat, progressive ballot measures passed across the country codifying abortion rights, raising the minimum wage legalizing marijuana, strengthening organized labor and even establishing a constitutional right to guaranteed health care in Oregon.
That one's wild and no one is talking about it. That's that's the first state in the country guaranteed health care. It's it's it's incredible. It is a huge,
huge victory and it's flown completely under the radar. We will see how Oregon actually implements it but sure voters voting for that a big big deal and South Dakota voters by the way, are very, very red state expanded Medicaid by a huge ballot measure margin voters an overwhelming majority voted for that in a red state. On top of all of that, at the congressional level, there are now over a dozen new Progressive House members who will be headed to Congress in 2023. This past Sunday, the Congressional Progressive Caucus held a press conference to welcome some of those new members in which they celebrated their wins and spoke about the caucuses plans for the next session of Congress producer Frank spoke with the levers Jordan you'll who attended the event and shared his thoughts on this new class of progressive legislators
out all right joining us right now for his lever time debut, I believe is Jordan. You'll what's going on Jordan?
Frank, thanks for having me. It's it's it's exciting to be here as a lever time fan.
Oh, thank you. I'm excited. We finally got you. You've been you've been here at the lever for like a few months now. But I haven't gotten a chance to have you on which is a shame because I think you're very under chaining and very informative at the same time. So very glad to get to talk to you. Great. I appreciate it. Oh, yeah. So, this past Sunday, the Congressional Progressive Caucus held its new member orientation for 11 of its new members that will be joining the 2023. Congress. As part of this. They also held a press conference in the lobby of the AFL CIO Building in Washington, DC, which you attended on behalf of the lever? Well, first, let's start there. First, thank you for going and did you feel like the CPC holding this presser in the AFL CIO building was some sort of intentional display of support for labor? And did they comment on it at all, at any point during the press conference,
they didn't talk about the location. But I do think it was a nod to what led to impart these progressive victories. The theme throughout this entire press conference was we ran on things that working people care about, Republicans ran on things like harassing school teachers, litter box, conspiracies, hating trans and gay people. You know, they ran on things, they wanted to take away rights they wanted to take away from people. They talked about inflation a bit, but they never laid out a plan for it. And Democrats ran on things like student debt cancellation, why it's good, you know, legalizing decriminalizing marijuana workers rights, you know, the the inflation Reduction Act, which contained a, a big climate provision, we'll see over time, how that actually pans out and the impact that will have, but it was something they could run on. So within that there are a few big wins for working people. And the location was fitting, but the energy was just so powerful. Everyone was very excited, in part because no one really thought it would be something to celebrate. I mean, we we've talked about it the lever and elsewhere for months, how bad this could have been. But it shocked a lot of people. I mean, Democrats really defied history in this midterm. So that energy in that room was really contagious this weekend,
during this press conference, Congresswoman Pramila, Jayapal, of Washington State, she's the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. So she's basically like emceeing the event. Right. So what are what were some of the main themes that she was talking about, he was
really solidifying how effective of a strategy it was for Democrats to run on these things and progressive values, specifically, to point to she drew a sharp contrast with robotic Republicans, because they, again, didn't really run on much. And they certainly didn't run on things that affect people's material needs. And that's an easy thing to run against when you're a Democrat when you have at least something to point to over the past two years. So it was really about kind of solidifying, and reinforcing this progressive narrative, while saying, like, look at how much better and bigger our caucus has gotten. These losses that they that they experienced in some of these races, weren't progressive losses. You know, you'd like to see these Pete like, Sean Patrick Maloney, for instance, is doing the same thing that happened two years ago, a few moderate Democrats lose in tight swing districts, and they turn around and blame progressives, they blame AOC. They blame things like criminal justice reform for their loss, when really it's they just didn't run on things that affect working people. They try to appeal to decency, they ran against Trump, and things like that those aren't going to be effective motivators, if you really you're trying to get every single vote out. You it's kind of a low hanging fruit. In a political rhetoric standpoint, everybody, like most people agree Trump is a lunatic. But that's not the only thing that's going to get someone out to vote. There's plenty of people who agree and just simply stay home. So these things that you saw work in Pennsylvania, that you saw work in Texas, that you saw work across the country show, this is a pathway to long term democratic success. And what they were saying was, they hope the broader party embraces that,
you know, some folks have been critical, and I know us at the lever as well have been critical of the CPC in the past for not acting, let's say as militantly, as they could have been, you know, and not withholding, you know, their their votes in their block to demand more concessions, as you know, legislation is getting debated and passed. You know, we saw this in early 2021, when they didn't force the vote on Medicare for All and then again later that year when they gave up on the fight for you know, their larger sole social spending bill that they wanted to get passed, which at that time had been attached to President Joe Biden's bipartisan infrastructure deal, which ended up falling apart completely and the CPC got like basically played. So did you get a sense from what Jayapal was talking about? It This new caucus will be behaving differently and what kind of things that they're actually like what's like, what's on their docket list? What are they going to be trying to accomplish in the next term?
Yeah, she really avoided all questions about what's ahead for the CPC, which could probably few, a lot of these same concerns, right. They haven't voted as a bloc, they would wield a tremendous amount of power if they did, because it's a sizable caucus, even especially looking at what the breakdown in the house could be, we don't know for sure. But it's going to be razor thin, no matter which way it goes. You just need I've literally just the squat. But even just like 1010 CPC members voting in unison, however, they want to extract concessions to incorporate more progressive components into legislation. You know that that's something they could do. That's something in their arsenal, I really hope they use it. We time will tell but she avoided questions like that altogether. But there's one thing that is kind of a grim reality, there is a chance that they're not even in a position where they could be leading on legislation there, they could be in the minority. So time will tell we'll see how these races shake out. But I do hope that something that they use when strategic and that's something that is a different conversation itself, and Jayapal has shown to be a bit more cautious. And if you want to call it pragmatic than some of the more progressive voices, not just in Congress, but especially online, but in the broader progressive world. People want to see, I think, sometimes a little bit more unrealistic outcomes. And I just don't think that's something when you're in that position, when you're in the position of leading the CPC or a member of Congress and having to actually deal with it. It's, it's not as easy to take that stance as it is to post in a tweet.
Alright, so let's get to the actual new CPC members, because that's what this whole event was about. So there were 11 new members in attendance, which doesn't even count for all of the new CPC members will be joining the caucus next term, which will be somewhere between 15 to 18, depending on how the results of some of these races turnout. So you got to kind of like see, you know, see the whole new freshman class. So have everyone there. Were there any standouts? Was there anyone that you hadn't really known much about? Before that you were kind of introduced to that you were pleasantly surprised by? Did you hate anyone entirely? What was your What was your experience?
No, I didn't hate anyone I with all of these people, I am reserving judgment until I see how they vote on things. Because it's very easy to like I said, it's easy to take on this title for the most part. And I'm just a little I'm skeptical of some of them. I don't want to you know, put them on blast immediately. Maybe I'll be wrong. But there are a few who I think are I have just taken on that title because it's convenient, based on their backgrounds, what they even said in this in this conference. But there were a couple that really surprised me. One I'm really interested by is Jasmine Crockett, and Texas. She was just a very forceful speaker, especially at the end, they were talking about some of the tight races in Texas, and how they could have gone Democrat just a narrow margin one Republican. And she pointed out, people don't invest in Texas and Texas Democrats the same way people have invested in Georgia Democrats over the past several years. And if you want to see these races, go blue, do the same thing that you've done in Georgia and Texas. And I think that's something that a lot of Democrats in that state that will resonate with them, because they are tired of being written off. A lot of people you've heard it, Texas should just succeed, they should just leave the country start their own country. Like no, there are millions of good people in that state who agree with you who hate Abbott, who don't want restrictive abortion laws, who don't want to see climate change, continue to devastate this planet. There are plenty of good people who agree with you who just need a little bit of help. I mean, it's extremely gerrymandered, there's a ton of money on the Republican side. There's a ton of oil money in politics in that state. They don't want to be involved in that. But it's very easy for someone in a different state to say that and it's much harder to get out of that state. If you live there. If you want to be represented by a Democrat or represented by a progressive. You can't just up and leave you sever all ties with your family. You have to quit your job for them. Sometimes. It just it's not that easy. So I feel bad for people in red states who continually are demeaned, insulted, written off dismissed by kind of these coastal elite Democrats. So those comments I think, will resonate with a lot of people. I really liked her But again, let's just see how she votes. There was the most buzz, I think was for Maxwell frost choices the the Gen Z guy who won in Florida,
the first day, he'll be the First Gen Z member of Congress.
Right? That's good for him. That's awesome. I love these 25. I want to see how he votes. Yeah, see what he does. But you know, good for him. He took a selfie afterward with the with the new incoming progressives, which was cute. And I think this just goes to show, you know, some of the cynicism just from people, toward progressives in the CPC in general, I just tweeted a picture of him taking a selfie with them, which was his idea. And this was after the photo op, they were just they were done. And he just wanted it for himself. And all these people were like, Oh, look at them trying to be cool. Look at them trying to be hip, and this is an old people are trying to do the Gen Z thing. It's like he just asked for a picture. Can we just can we please relax? Not everything is a new launching pad for criticizing and damning and writing off the progressives in Congress. Look, they mess up a lot. We definitely criticize them. But like, let's just let's choose our battles wisely. I thought that was pretty entertaining. But yeah, he had the most buzz for sure. I think the one the person that we've talked about and covered the most of all these people was summerleaze. She rocks, I do think she will be a consistent, like fierce progressive vote in Congress, which is fantastic. Love seeing a strong progressive coming out of the rust belt as someone who grew up there. I mean, she it's no surprise she won. She speaks to issues that we feel deeply in that area. You know, we are people who grew up or lived in a post industrial hellscape in the Rust Belt. You know, think trade deals just got it our air our our cities and our towns, jobs are shipped overseas. And Republicans want to blame immigrants. They want to blame people of color. They want to blame marginalized groups while taking campaign donations from the same companies that did that to our hometowns. So I grew up just across the border, and Youngstown across the border from Pittsburgh. So I'm really, really happy that we have a strong progressive representing the Rust Belt. That's very, very exciting.
That's great. I just want to underline this idea you've hit a couple of times, which is waiting to see how people vote and not having this sort of like just completely devoid of logic, dedication to sheer identity, where it's just like, oh, this person is young, that means they're going to be good or this person is whatever those identity boxes that a person gets to fit, I think is really important. I think that's something and I'm glad you highlighted because I think it's something that people need to be more cognizant about as they are, especially as they're meeting new politicians is like, just because they they look a certain way or they come from a certain place doesn't mean anything until they actually start casting votes. Absolutely.
I mean, on that point, I was thinking last night about how Kristin cinema drew a ton of praise when he just
in cinema. Jordan, Kiersten sorry, yeah. Yes. Thank you,
thank whatever, it doesn't matter if he sucks anyway. The thing is, when she when she won, and when she was sworn in, as a Senator, do you remember the fanfare? I think she like wore like a colorful outfit big. And people like just lost their minds. Like tennis.
Yeah, like, who cares? Who cares. And it's just like quintessential identity politics, and it's totally halt. So all these people, whether they're, you know, whatever they look like, however, they identify whatever they, whatever their backgrounds are, I don't care. I want to see what they do. And, you know, it's exciting. We have new progressives. But like I said, it's very easy to take on that mantle, and then just continue to vote with Democrats. And that also explains the problem of them not voting as a bloc. So just wait and see. It's my only guidance to people
on that same on that same note, what do you think these new progressive wins means for the state of progressive politics, especially in and you kind of already touched on it, but especially in some of these red states, that some of these new members are coming from?
I love to see that. Because that is something we have been told for years, that you can't have a progressive in House races in red states, because it just doesn't work there. And that is the cycle after cycle after cycle, we're seeing this increasingly untrue. We've known that's untrue. But now it's being proven time and time and time again. So what progressives are saying and this is something that Sanders has hid for years, these ideas are not radical. They're not extreme. The status quo is what's truly extreme here. You look at the price of our health care, the price of our insurance that we even have a system like that, when every other developed country does As not the cost of living all of these different issues, adopting the same approaches that the rest of the developed world has to all of these systemic issues. That's not extreme. That's just us modernizing our system. And that's simply what progressives are saying. And that has been derived by corporate media and corporate parties and politicians as extreme. And people are finally starting to see through it to a much greater degree, and I'm very excited about that. So that's what these races, to me illustrate that more and more people are wising up. More and more people are learning about how the rest of the developed world operates. And understanding that we are unique and so many of these systemic issues, and we don't have to be, so they're taking the action at the polls. That's very exciting.
Jordan, thank you so much for attending to thank you so much for attending the event on behalf of the lever. And thank you for joining us here on levered time and telling us about it.
Thanks for having me, Frank.
We're going to take a quick break, but we'll be right back with tales from the crypto hour deep dive discussion about last week's cryptocurrency implosion. Welcome back to labor time. Now we turn to the economic horror story of the week in a segment that we're calling Tales from the crypto
in the last several years, the cryptocurrency industry has seen unprecedented growth. what once seemed like an online novelty had exploded at one point into a multi trillion dollar industry. The mythology around this industry was as old as time a get rich quick scheme that seemed to promise that even the little guy could get in on the ground floor with a little bit of investment and hit it big, like even the highest paid Wall Street traders. But if at any point you had the thought, Wait, this all seems like a total scam, then this past week may have felt like pure vindication. If you haven't been following the news. Here's the short version. Last week, the cryptocurrency exchange FTX suddenly collapsed and declared bankruptcy. While its founder and Democratic primary megadonor Sam Backman freed, he resigned as FTX as CEO. Most shockingly, it's been reported that FTX has been lending bank min Fried's trading firm billions of dollars of customer assets to fund its own risky investments, a move which could very well end with some of FTX his leadership being criminally investigated and prosecuted. If Sam Backman Fried's name sounds vaguely familiar. That's because he was the 30 year old crypto billionaire who spent the better part of the 2020 election cycle buying Democratic primaries for corporate Democratic candidates in their races against progressives. What bank Ben Fried has been buying is Friends and Influence. And the same goes for the crypto industry as a whole. They basically want no regulation at all. And they want friends in power and they're willing to pay for that. As one example, the number of lobbyists in Washington representing cryptocurrency proponents nearly tripled in just three years. This is a story of deregulation, political power and theft, the kind that America experienced during Enron and during the financial crisis. Basically, this digital currency has gone unregulated for a long time. While its proponents have bankrolled politicians and a lobbying army to try to keep regulators at bay, all while the crypto bros have been enriching themselves through a kind of cartoonish Ponzi scheme to help break all of this down in terms that we can all understand. I'll now be joined by two crypto policy experts who have been sounding the alarm about this for years even amid all the hype about crypto. Matt Stoller is the director of research at the American Economic liberties project. And journalist Jacob Silverman is the co author of the book easy money cryptocurrency casino capitalism and the golden age of fraud. Jacob Hey there. Hi. How you doing? Good. Um, it's good to see you Matt. How you doing man? Hey. So So I want to start this discussion at the very very beginning. For folks who don't know what crypto currency actually is, I feel like the discussion should just start there before we get into what happened in this what we're calling Tales from the crypto I will start with Jacob what is cryptocurrency? How would you explain that to somebody who has like no idea what currency is cryptocurrency? A computer is just like the most basic explanation of what cryptocurrency is.
Yeah, that's what we're just starting to define is where people get bogged down a lot. I would say it's It aspires to be basically private money. Money created by private entities. corporations and outside of state or political control. The one important thing to know is that in practice, it does none of the things that a currency is supposed to do, whether it's store value, medium exchange, things like that. So cryptocurrencies pretend to be currencies and pretend to be a lot of other things. Really, they're more like unregistered securities that are penny stocks.
So and the crypto part, I guess that that word, right, what is what does that mean? Why is it called not just currency? Why is it called cryptocurrency?
Well, it uses cryptography. And it uses blockchain technology, which is basically just a distributed database that has become worshipped in the minds of crypto fanatics. They think this is the next great technology, even though it's rather old. And so the crypto part refers to using cryptographic tools and processes to secure transactions, to maintain partial anonymity, and to basically cut out intermediaries if possible. That's the goal, at least through encryption, which is something that we use and other forms, whether in messaging or just online banking, or anything like that. But the idea is that you can basically get rid of people and intermediaries institutions with code. And I think that's totally wrong. But that's what they aspire towards,
can I can I give a slightly different definition, which is not inconsistent. Basically, it's like this different way of doing a spreadsheet, that's not very interesting. And people put a bunch of markings in a spreadsheet, and they pretend it's worth something. That's literally all it is. I agree. It's like the reason it's hard to understand what crypto is, is because it's nothing. It's nothing at all. And everybody all of these elite institutions are like, you have to understand and they keep telling people they're stupid for not understanding that it is in fact, nothing. It's what it is. It's just like markings in a spreadsheet that random dudes on the internet say is worth something.
So if I created like a if I create like a Google Sheet, and I'm like Matt Stoller, you now have 1000 cirrhotic coins. Yeah, and I just mark it down in on the second column math solar first column, you know, amount 1000 Serota coins? That's great. And it's encrypted, I guess in some way. That's cryptocurrency?
If you did it, if you saved it in a specific spreadsheet that was a little bit more annoying and inefficient than a sheet. Yes, that's all it is. And you'd have to be good at telling stories. And being like, this is the most amazing thing ever. Do you want to get rich quick squid like and then then and then you'd go and sponsor a Brookings conference. And then everybody would be to, like, awkward to like fart in church and be like, this is nothing but that's what it is. It's like the analogy here is the 1920s. Florida land boom in the in the mid 1920s, where you had a bunch of people speculating on land in Florida. And sometimes they were speculating on lands like there was this one city called Nettie and people were trading in New York, like land grants of Nettie and turns out Nettie didn't exist, right? And, and so like, people were trading it and it sort of seemed to have value as they were trading it because you could sell a land grant and Nettie to someone else. But then like, when they figured out, oh, this doesn't exist. It's like, it's, you know, it went it went to zero, because it's like, not a thing, right? And that's what all these things
are. Okay, so I want to so not to get too far afield before we get into the collapse that happened this week. I guess, I guess the follow up would be, you hear a lot of people say, well, well, money, the cash the $20 bill in my wallet. That's not really anything other than a piece of paper is so how does it compare that's fed by the Fed.
Right, exactly. Like oops,
sorry, I just have total contempt for these assholes. I'm just like, beyond mad.
So what's the difference? I guess, what's the difference?
I mean, to start with, I'd say, you know, the dollar is supported by the entire sort of structure of society and the law and if you want to be sort of real politic about it, the entire US military machine, but I mean, there is of course of sort of social and quality to money. There's money as opposed to as partly about social relations. There's a whole scenario quality, loosen its airy quality, perhaps that we're all kind of investing our faith in it. But that's why my co writer and I, Ben McKenzie often argue that money is about trust, actually, and they're trying to eradicate trust. So let Raticate any political governance over money. And I just think that's not really what money is.
Money is a creature of the state money is simply like the US dollar is a creature of US law. And we just say this is a means of exchange. And it's backed by all of these institutions include the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the IRS, there's lots of like technical ways that you can talk about it. But there's a reason people are like, you know, when they're like, the money is fake, like, no one is ever like Yeah, yeah, my money is fake. I'll hand you all my fiat currency. Like they never say that because it's not fake. It's just because it's like an abstract concept doesn't make it fake. I mean, it's somewhat similar thing with these cryptocurrencies, but he doesn't make the money. It just makes them get rich quick schemes.
So let's get into the get rich quick scheme. The the story of Sam Backman free we'll get into his political connections in the lie But he had this exchange called FTX. As I understand it, and I'm the I'm, I don't I'm not a crypto expert, it was basically where you could give real money over to this exchange, you know, real dollars and you would be able to essentially buy and sell different crypto currencies. And over the last week that made headlines because the this exchange which he he had been worth, I guess on paper billions of dollars that exchange collapsed, I guess, Matt, why don't you tell the story of of what happened? What was the collapse? Yeah,
so I mean, we're gonna learn more but he's basically like a stooge. He's a 30 year old weirdo who's into this like strange cult called Effective Altruism where like, like Matt Iglesias and those guys are like kind of in it to like it like penetrates the like core of the these like annoying establishment types. But he like invent he does. He had a t as two companies, basically, one is called Alameda research, and the other is called FTX. One of them is a trading operation. And one of them is an is an exchange where people can go and they can trade crypto and crypto derivatives and things like that. And what he was doing is he was basically doing sham transactions between the two of them. It's very similar to Enron, except at one point, and Ron was doing something useful, and the crypto was never useful. So you know, it's like, he printed his own currency, which were called FTT coins. And then he would sell those to Alameda, and then why are they worth something? Oh, because the last price was X amount, and then you could sell them back from Alameda to the FTX. And whoa, well, you know, the, you know, this essentially sham transactions with sham prices. And so all the assets were kind of fake. And then what he was really doing is just taking customer money that they deposited in FTX, and stealing it. And like, meanwhile, like covering it all up with these sort of Sham transactions, but he's also like part of this whole gross network of people. You know, basically, anybody who ever pushed crypto is kind of like part of this network of like Silicon Valley goons, and whatnot, and they really want to focus on SBF. Not just because he was an important player, but because because he's a useful stooge. Right, because it's easier to go after Him than to go after Harvard than to go after like Andreessen Horowitz or Sequoia or like, you know, Brookings, or, you know, the Federal Reserve, or like any number of institutions that would not say, this is fake nonsense, this, this is ridiculous, and it shouldn't exist. And now you can, sorry, I'm really mad about this, Jacob, I know, You've done a lot of work. So I don't want to take over, you know, you're the expert here. I don't want to like take this over. But I that's, that's the gist of who he was, and what he did. And there are a lot of, there's a lot of other things that are gonna fall apart soon. I mean, there are still some crypto exchanges, there's this like, there's this other Ponzi scheme called tether, which is even bigger, and that's going to fall apart. Like we're not at the end. Right. And Sam Bateman freed is too dumb to to like lawyer up, so he'll probably end up going to jail. But like, there are a lot of people who should be going to jail here.
Okay, so Jacob, that's a good follow up question, which is, how much of what happened at FTX that made all these headlines, Sam bank Winfrey, this 30 year old billionaire? How much of that was an isolated incident incident? Or is what happened to him or what he perpetrated? Is that endemic to the entire crypto industry?
I'd say it's endemic. I mean, we've seen examples of people like him before recently. I mean, we were writing recently for our book in progress of a chapter about the paradigmatic fraud and we were using Celsius, which was a literal Ponzi scheme that collapsed over the summer. I mean, Sam is now bigger, so we're rewriting a little bit but, you know, they, they all do business with each other, which is important to note, I think, Matt sort of gesture at that, like, Alameda had a huge venture capital arm, Sam was invested everywhere by Nance, which kind of helped take down. I mean, Sam took himself down, the binance kind of pushed him over. They are invested in everyone they invested in FTX. Like, there are a lot of overlapping relationships here. So I'd say when some of these finances are exposed through bankruptcy processes that are ongoing, and that are inevitable because I think there are multiple exchanges teetering, even right now. We're going to learn more. I mean, hopefully, there'll be more enforcement and maybe some actual risks, but the dominant model in crypto is spin up your own coin, get some VC money to float it, you do a lot of hype and other nonsense to make it seem useful and pump the value and then do a lot of wash trading like Matt was describing and bullshit transactions and then also try to bring in some retail money and then you can gamble with all that so that was basically what was happening. Alameda was gambling mostly in the in the decentralized finance ecosystem. And they kept getting more and more in the hole as other companies started failing, including companies that FTX had invested in. And then FDA then Sam said, Oh, we have to do something about this. This What seemed to be what happened. And he diverted up to $10 billion of real Fiat customer money that have been given to FTX. So, we've seen this before, BitFenix did something like this, which is a major exchange as part of tether. They were hacked years ago, they also gave a bunch of money to a bank that was shut down in a big law enforcement operation, because there's laundering money for a cartel. So they've like, you have these institutions that are familiar with losing hundreds of millions of dollars, and then spinning up some token or some rescue scheme. But basically, we've seen these kinds of economics or these tokenomics everywhere.
It's like crazy when you listen to what Jacob is saying, because it's like, all of that is illegal, like literally everything they're doing is illegal. Because when you spin up a coin, like we have securities laws that we passed in the 30s, that say that when you have a collective endeavor, which is which is done for profit, and the security can can shift in value, that that is regulated like a security, and then it places where those trade are regulated as Securities Exchanges, and there's a whole bunch of rules that you have to adhere to. And so it's like, all of this stuff is illegal. It's all illegal. We just didn't enforce the law under first, the Obama administration and then the Trump administration. And once you allow this stuff to kind of sit in a gray area for long enough, it becomes hard to actually bring cases cases take a long time. And so like, what's happened is you have the SEC that actually has been investigating since you know, since Gary Gensler took over in April of 2021. But like it takes a long time, like they had to fight a subpoena, like to enforce a subpoena on a guy named dou Kwan who had a Ponzi scheme called Terra Luna. And it took them 10 months to even get it validated by the court because dou Kwan hired like big law firm to fight and like it went on appeals court. And by the time the appeals court said, yeah, you actually have to hand over information, the Ponzi scheme had collapsed. And so like, this stuff is all illegal, it should be all illegal. And we just didn't enforce the law. And now when we're trying to enforce the law, it like, you know, it's not a light switch, you have to like, actually spin things up.
I think one important thing to sort of add on to that as well. Madison is also like the framework and the laws exist to deal with this stuff. I mean, some of it might seem novel, or unprecedented. But you have, you've had the industry calling for regulatory clarity. That's their phrase for several years. Now. It's pretty much there, or at least the SEC could do. It has the authority. So it's really just about enforcing the law. And then then you see also some recent positioning, where they're trying to say SVF was either an isolate actor, or was because he was offshore, and we didn't have regular regulatory clarity. And we can go into details about why that's nonsense. But basically, again, like he's on an isolate, actor, they all did business with him. They all work on similar principles. So I don't think they can get away with just, you know, segmenting him off.
Okay, I want to go into this regulation issue for a second because right people are going to be looking at these headlines this exchange collapses. This guy, essentially, as I understand it, and as you've explained, people's deposits that they were going to use, presumably consumers were going to use to trade Bitcoin, were then funneled into sandbank mints, Fried's kind of speculative separate entity that was intertwined with it, and he was speculating with that money. There's been this debate over, as you've alluded to, whether the Securities and Exchange Commission should regulate that, or whether this other organization called the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, the CFTC should regulate that sounds very, very in the weeds. I guess I would ask, Matt, what has been the debate over that? And why, to the, to the layman? What, why is pushing the CFTC, the pro crypto folks then pushing the CFTC to be the regulator? Why is that such a problem?
Well, first of all, everyone at the CFTC is loves crypto. They're like all crypto boosters. It's embarrassing. I mean, you know, Caroline family's a Republican CFTC Commissioner, she was caught in like April, with this really embarrassing picture of her with Sam, thank you for you joking with him about, you know, his hair and like with the former CFTC chair, Mark Weejun under Obama, and it just like it, the SEC has a much more hardcore culture. They're also legal differences. So commodities are, you know, commodities like wheat, right, or, or metal or something like that, you know, there's no, there's, you don't really have to disclose that much about wheat, right? There's no internal accounting around wheat. So there's a lot fewer legal, there's a lot less legal authority for the CFTC to go in and prevent market manipulation and enforce disclosure regimes and address conflicts of interest. Because they're just different. You know, they're just different regulatory schemes. And so what Sam bank been freed and what a lot of the people and this really comes from Andreessen Horowitz, this is this SPF is just a stooge. Right. And
explain why Andreessen Horowitz is
so and Marc Andreessen is the founder of Netscape and he's sort of one is on the board of Facebook and he and like a bunch of people at this I'm at this most powerful venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. They have been pushing like crypto and waging war against Gary Gensler since he got in there. And you know, they they founded clubhouse, that telephone app. And then like, if you ever went on there, it was just like Andreessen Horowitz people pushing crypto, right? These are the guys who were like sitting down with the lawmakers and the policymakers and buying up DC and trying to move regulatory authority from the SEC to the CFTC. And saying, Oh, well, these tokens are really, you know, these coins are really just, you know, they can become commodities, or they are, you know, maybe they're, you know, we need regulatory clarity, because they're, they're totally new and innovative. And all these disclosure regimes and consumer protections, like they don't, we don't need those those that's like belongs to like the paper belt in the old centuries and all the rest of it. I mean, to give you a sense of how stupid these people are not stupid, but like, just out of touch. It's like there's this one guy named Bellagio, who was the CTO of Coinbase. And then he was also an Andreessen Horowitz partner, and last year, he was saying, we haven't yet seen, I'm quoting him, we haven't yet seen blockchains in wartime, when the fate of nations depends on how much Bitcoin they have, like, these people are crazy. Like, they're really crazy. And they have been in this case worth like $600 million. I mean, like, this is a real, like authoritarian movement that like got behind crypto to steal a lot of money because but also because they really wanted to attack the basics of the state. Okay, so
you've just described this kind of push to get the SEC not to regulate crypto put it regulation under the CFTC. That came, one of the leader the two leaders of those push. Those pushes were Republican senators Cynthia Loomis of Wyoming and Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, they appeared together on national television and actually encouraged Americans to invest their retirement savings in crypto listen to this
fidelity, the largest 401k manager in the country, announced that they were going to offer a Bitcoin to users or to consumers. Companies have to choose to allow their employees to put Bitcoin in their 401, K's Labor Department came out and said, This is a terrible idea. What do you think,
I think the Labor Department's wrong, I think it's wonderful idea, it should be part of a diversified asset allocation. And it should be on the end of the spectrum of a store of value. Obviously, if you have a fully diversified asset allocation, you will have some assets that you want to produce income in the short run, you also want some assets that are just a store of value. And I think that's where Bitcoin really shines. And for that reason, it belongs says a slice of a diversified asset allocation for retirement funds.
No, I agree. And that's why this piece of legislation is so important, and why it's so timely, once you create basic infrastructure around these types of digital assets, where there are disclosure requirements, where they have a regulator, where there's full transparency, that is going to create the safety and soundness in the market that will give other people comfort, that this is a market that is here to stay. It's one that is properly regulated, and one that has oversight and accountability. And that's what this legislation is going to do.
I guess, I guess, Jacob, my question is just tell us a little bit about the increase in lobbying the, from the crypto industry, the amount of money that came in the politics, maybe from Sam Franklin freed as an example. And then I guess the question would be, after telling us about that, what in your mind if any kind of culpability is there between the Republicans and the corporate Democrats who have been pushing crypto and or neglecting to really get serious about regulating it? Right?
Well, Sam certainly expended a lot of money himself. He was the second biggest donor, I believe in the 22. Democrats in 2020. Cycle he was talking about donating up to 1,000,000,020 24. Obviously, that didn't happen. I mean, one thing we have to keep in mind is that he while he was a big Democrat donor, one of his top executives Ryan cellmate, donated and pretty much equal amount to Republicans in this latest cycle. So they really had both sides cover there were packs that people at FTX donated to that donate to both sides of the aisle. You know, there's been no unified pushback from Democrats, there hasn't really been much of a whole of government strategy, I would argue. I mean, they're obviously the CFTC is sort of ready to do their pro crypto thing. There. There have been these units established the DOJ and an FBI to go after crypto crime, and that I think, came from the White House but I think an easy layup would have been for Democrats to start talking about more about consumer protection and that like most people have On the crypto like, statistically have lost money. I mean, actually, according the mechanics of MLMs, 99% of people will lose money. And the fact that most people now just simply can't get their money out of exchanges, because they shut down withdrawals. People are upset. I mean, some people are really in trouble. And one thing that my writing partner I talk about a lot is that, you know, some people lose $1,000. And it's no big deal. Some people lose $1,000. And that's rent or something enormous for them. And right now, the industry is sort of acting like this is just another bear market. We're gonna get through this, you know, I heard a guy the other day, say I lost $2 billion. And I said, I was thinking, I don't care. I care about the person who lost 500, who can't do that. So I think the Democrats really falling down sort of their traditional kind of, I don't know, middle class defender role, perhaps. I mean, it's been a long time since they've really done that. And I think that the money is just been so liberally strewn around that their meeting, they were meeting with crypto people, not just Sam, but for last couple years, you don't really meet a lot with consumer protection groups or people lobbying against financial crimes or things like that. Let me
just I just want to point out something, David, that both Jacob and I were warning of this scam a long time ago, right? So we're not like there's a lot of people who are now saying, Oh, my God, I can't believe this. This is absolutely ridiculous. But what to be clear, like, Jacob and I were saying this when the bubble was hot.
And that's an that's important. I mean, there are. And I should mention, there have been some people use YouTube as an example, but does Sherrod Brown as an example of the Ohio Senator Elizabeth Warren and Elizabeth Warren, both of them have been warning about that warning about crypto as a whole for a very long time. Amid all the hype,
let me make a point about the reg regulatory successes because I think it's important to not overlook the fact that some good things did happen. So I don't know if you remember a few years ago, but Facebook tried to create their own cryptocurrency, Libra, right? And they didn't they weren't able to do it, because regulators said you can't do this. And can you imagine what kind of mess that would have that would have fostered if they had been able to do that? Another, you know, they just can market that to 2 billion people instantly. Another regulatory success is that though it's a series of scams, it didn't affect the real economy. This is not a systemic crisis. And that's like the biggest, you know, that's the biggest point here is, and this is I think, partly due to Gary Gensler and partly due to people like Sherrod Brown, we kept crypto out of the banking system. Yeah. And that's a huge success. So people lost money. And that's really sad. But it's like, it's just, it's like, it's just a scam, instead of it being like 2008. And I think we have to look at that and say, it's a huge, huge, huge regulatory success, because Sam Bateman, freetds endgame, and these guys real end game was to get regulatory clarity, and then to get access to the Fed or the FDIC, so they could trade their fake money for real money. And they didn't get
that that's a really important point. And I think that's why it's been likened right now to the made off situation, as opposed to the financial crisis, but, but I do want to go back to who got hurt. In the last few years, we've seen this massive advertising push from the crypto industry to try and lure regular folks into investing. And also, by the way, an effort to try to get into people's 401 Ks. There were of course, the now infamous crypto.com ads, which featured a slew of a list celebrities hockey and crypto. Here's a couple of samples of that.
I'm getting into crypto with FTX.
I can't tell you everything. But if you want to make history, you got to call your own shots.
Like I was saying it's FTX. It's a safe and easy way to get into crypto. And I'm never wrong about this stuff. Never Quit messing around, man. Give me some tips on crypto. No, but you are an expert, right?
No, I'm not an expert. And I don't need to be with FTX. I have everything I need to buy, sell and trade crypto safely.
But for simple words that have been whispered by the intrepid since the time of the Romans, Fortune favors the brave.
So that was Matt Damon, LeBron James, Steph Curry, Tom Brady and Larry David, all in ads, pushing crypto, hearing those ads, knowing what we know. Now. There's a specific question and then a general question. This specific question is, who do we that we know of who is actually harmed by FTX? Is specific collapse and the crypto market drop off? And then generally, does the crypto market drop off? Hurt? Lots and lots of people? Are we talking about a million people we talking about 10,000 people what kinds of people I guess Jacob, like give us a sense of the blast zone of the of the situation?
Yeah, you know, it depends on the measure, but pused and some studies and I think in general, it's somewhere around 14 15% of Americans perhaps have bought into crypto it's certainly not mass adoption. A lot of it though, I mean, over represented by people of color, statistically The people who are told who had the banking system close to them in some way or another, and through a process known as affinity fraud, we're basically told, Hey, this is actually the better solution for you. So you do have a lot of black Americans, Latino Americans who are who bought into crypto excuse, of course, mostly young men, mostly sort of 18 to 35 or so. One thing that I do start hearing from people, both in interviews and, and just reading and reporting is that, you know, there are some social losses too, there's loss of trust, there's, you know, you often have a male man and a couple who has bought in, of course, and his partner doesn't get it, it doesn't want him to do it. And then oops, the money's gone. And you have to explain that. And so there are a lot of you know, there are consequences for families and things like that. I agree with Matt, that I think we're lucky that it hasn't been systemic. I mean, the SEC managed to sort of contain the contagion. They've kept saying no to ETFs, which is one of the great dreams of crypto believers to provide x more fresh money, more Fiat in the system. And the SEC keeps saying no, there's so much market manipulation here and tether especially, seems to be sketchy essentially, that they're actually I think, copying and pasting the text for each rejection letter. So, you know, there are social consequences. If you go on Reddit, a lot of the crypto subreddits, especially during some of these times, like now will have a suicide hotline number at the top. So, you know, I think more comprehensive data about the blast radius and how many people are affected will be will be later, Celsius, for example, was treat itself like a crypto bank had claimed more than a million customers. FTX certainly has hundreds of 1000s FTX also had a lot of money from other crypto companies. So, especially ones they invest in, they reportedly pressured them, hey, please keep your money with us. It's safe. So there's going to be radiating effects. I really think a few more exchanges could go down this week or next. So it's going to take time to really suss that out. Like how many people are really affected.
Let me ask Matt Stoller, I want to turn back to you and play devil's advocate for a second here just to go 50,000 foot view. Again, to go back to the specific sandbank when fried scandal FTX seemed, obviously now that what we've learned seemed like a scam. But it kind of almost in a sense, a kind of garden variety scam, money came in to an exchange, the money was misused to essentially gamble. And I guess the devil's advocate argument is that it's not necessarily related or specific to crypto, it was just a scam. And there are similar scams in the crypto world, ostensibly, and that a scam is a scam regardless of what what is being scammed upon. That it's not it's not specific to crypto. And I think I guess crypto proponents would say listen, there's a good way to run crypto, these are just bad apples. What do you say to that?
Well, I think every it's See, this is why I think the focus on SPF is can politically useful for a lot of people, but it's the wrong way to look at it. Every single major crypto institution has fallen apart in, you know, slightly different ways. But essentially, fraud is at the core of it. So it wasn't just you know, as Jacob mentioned, it was Celsius. It's Terra Luna, it was it was three rows capital, it was like, you can go down and like, find an endless number of big guys who are scamming and then you have all the pump and dump guys who were like much smaller, but like every single part of the crypto space was based on fraud and money laundering. Like I've literally I always ask people when we're in the crypto, I'm open minded. I am like, I'm open minded. Like, what's the use case? Give me a use case. Right? If it's so cool. And like I have never found a use case. No one has ever given me a use case that is anything but a variant of fraud or money laundering. Like I was on it. The first time I went on a podcast to debate this guy who was like he was he was like a Republican telecom lobbyists turned crypto lobbyist. Like because like you live in DC, David, like the worst people were got onto crypto, right. And like, the guy who was hosting the podcast was like a nice guy, but he is really into Bitcoin. And I said to him, I was like, Peter, so you know, what was the first How did you get into Bitcoin? Like what happened? He was like, Oh, I was trying to buy drugs on the internet. Like, that's fine. I've heard that a lot. That's it. It's like that's what people use it for. And, and they also often say, Oh, well, what about in authoritarian regimes when people you know, have to, like they need a way of fighting the state. But it's like, that's money laundering. Like we shouldn't have authoritarian states if we can avoid it, but like, they're not fighting authoritarianism. They're just like trying to break the state. It just happens to be that some of those people live in an authoritarian state. So like, that's the that's the gist of what I saw. And that's why it's like it's all you know, I didn't know the specifics of Sam bank, but I you know, Jacob knows the specifics of all of these in much greater detail because I just looked at it and I was like, Oh, this is just this is all just a fraud. And like, I knew people like Jacob and various others were like tracking In detail, like you don't have to know the details, you just have to know. It's like fake money designed to buy drugs on the internet. And then they built a whole bunch of institutions that don't really do anything except trade trade with one another. And it's like, you don't need to know more than that. I agree.
So let's let's start with let's go back to where we started this conversation with one last question. The spreadsheet idea, okay, crypto is a spreadsheet, you know, Serota coin. I just have a spreadsheet a Google Doc that says Jacob has 1000 Serota coin. Matt has 1000 Serota coin all of a sudden
ELSS we bought at a discount because we're VCs are friends of yours, right? There you go. I gave you the friend and then we get to dump them on retail in a few months. Right?
So when we talk about, okay, outlawing crypto, I'm putting that in quotes, This all needs to be outlawed. What do we mean by outlawing crypto? If crypto is essentially just a spreadsheet? I guess what I'm asking is what specifically are we outlawing? There's there's there's obviously fraud and the way crypto is used. But if we're outlawing the thing itself, what does that actually mean, in practice?
I mean, I'm sure maca could get some of the the policy and mechanics of this but you know, there basically, it could be about controlling the on ramps and off ramps into the conventional banking system. I mean, that's one way to do it. As many people in crypto are pointing out right now. FTX was an offshore company that would have had us counterpart, Sam himself had over 130 companies that filed for bankruptcy under him. So these organizations tend to be global and tend to have presences in various countries. I mean, binance is by far the biggest exchange in the world, and it's mostly overseas. So what you really I think can hope for is to enforce the laws at home, to say American companies or companies are trading or giving services to Americans need to abide by securities laws, and you need to have appropriate and stringent checks and regulations to hopefully not have this enter the regular banking system too much, in some ways, they could then die on its own. I think if you if you actually have a real multinational law enforcement effort against something like tether, which is being investigated by the DOJ, that's basically the Central Bank of crypto right now, that would also shrink this a lot. I don't think you can hope to really get rid of this stuff or have some wholesale prohibition that is completely effective. I think a lot of it will be off surance are pointed towards the Asia in the Global South, but you can control where it interacts with US banking systems, and how laws are applied to people working and doing business here.
Yeah, I think that I think that's basically right, what you need is a lot as a an emergency appropriation 100 billion dollars or something to the SEC into the criminal division, to just go in and just bring mass litigation against anybody who's issued a coin. And just say you have to register with the SEC, and you know, all of these regulatory requirements, they will all effectively disappear. Same thing with the exchanges, the exchanges are probably easier. But like the point is, is what you want to do is establish the legal precedent that you can't do this again. Right. And and then, you know, put some put some handcuffs on people, but I think the real, the real way to address this is to get to Marc Andreessen. I think if you have to arrest somebody who's at a very high level in American society, and my view is like Marc Andreessen is the guy who was masterminding a lot of it is he's masterminding the smear campaign on Gary Gensler. He's the guy who's sort of corrupted politics, that you have to you know, this didn't come from nowhere. This came from those same political elites, that deregulated Wall Street that facilitated the rise of big tech that facilitate all forms of cheating. And like you have to get them right instead of some like annoying 30 year old who was like friends with Matt Iglesias or whatever, like, this is about, you know, the like the power players here. They're out in Silicon Valley. I mean, I also think it would be really important, I think it'd be really great if like Matt Damon gave his money back to a fun. Yeah, for crypto victims, I think it would be good if like all the Hollywood stars who did that I think at the stadiums who got money from FTX, I think it'd be really good if they all gave money into a fund to distribute to victims. Because we need a mass social repudiation of these people. And these scams, like FDR said something in 1932. Before he was president, he said, you know that the time to act is when the public's fingers have been burned in the fires of speculation. I mean, that paraphrasing, that was the gist of it. And it's like, now's the time to act, now's the time to say, Okay, let's not do this again. And frankly, I think we're gonna have a real crisis in the next four or five years. And so this is a good opportunity, like a test case to get the SEC. And our bank regulators actually ready for something that goes hits the real economy with like private equity, fraud and all sorts of other things that actually are running real businesses and corrupting them. So that's like, I think there's There's nothing bad about this collapse. It is glorious. It is just great. And it discredits all sorts of people who deserve to be discredited. It's just like, we have to now just sort of do the political work to make sure that they get they actually get discredited
Jacob Silverman is an investigative journalist writing a book on easy money cryptocurrency casino capitalism and the golden age of fraud, it comes out next year. You can follow him on Twitter at Silverman Jacob. Matt Stoller is the director of research at the American Economic liberties project and he writes a substack newsletter, which I read, every single edition of that subject newsletter is called Big. And you can follow him at Matthew Stoller on Twitter. Thanks to both of you guys. And thank you for having blown the whistle and for continuing to blow the whistle, even when it wasn't cool. So I think I just again, just to express that gratitude that you have been making this argument for a long time when it was politically unpopular. And thanks to both of you for the work that you do and for blowing that whistle.
Glad to do it. Thank you. Thanks.
That's it for today's show. As a reminder, our paid subscribers who get lever time premium, they get to hear our bonus segment my interview with the author of the new book atomic days, the untold story of the most toxic place in America. It's about the Hanford Nuclear reservation in Washington State
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