Stick ’em up

Journalist Robert Scheer explores the roots of the Great Recession

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 9/9/2010

Robert Scheer stormed the national political scene in the early 1960s as managing editor of Ramparts, the magazine of the New Left of those times, writing exposés throughout the Vietnam and Nixon eras.
He filed numerous investigative reports in the 1970s and ’80s, particularly during the Reagan years — the rise of the New Right — and became an oracle of liberal politics in the politically polarizing aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001.
Now in his 70s, Scheer, who has penned numerous books, is the author of a syndicated column and editor of Truthdig, a progressive news Web site. Scheer’s latest book on the high-level political chicanery of our times, “The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street,” takes no prisoners on either the left or the right.
In the book, Scheer argues that the heart of the current financial meltdown dates back to Reagan-era free market propaganda and bipartisan deregulation of the banking industry that occurred during the Clinton administration.
“Lobbyists bought the laws they wanted and enabled excessive greed, while the real victims are the people who lose their jobs and their homes,” Scheer told the Weekly.
Scheer said one of his biggest disappointments has been President Obama, who appointed to office some of the same people from the financial “Clinton clique” who favored the deregulation that made this problem possible, such as Lawrence Summers and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
“These people were at the center of great misery,” said Scheer. “Once again, it’s a case of the best and brightest messing the rest of us up.”
Scheer begins his book tour with a reading at 7 p.m. Monday at Vroman’s Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. Call (626) 449-5320 or visit for more information.