Transcript

Marc Steiner: Hello, I’m Marc Steiner. And welcome to the Marc Steiner Show right here on The Real News Network. Good to have you all with us. Well, last week we saw Wall Street in a tizzy because a group of Redditors on Wall Street Bets forum worked in tandem to use stock trading apps like Robinhood to collectively invest in stock for video game retailer GameStop, driving that stock price way up in a matter of hours and causing giant losses for many wealthy investors and hedge funds that were trying to short sell that stock. 

Now, other wealthy investors made a killing. The financial world began to reel at the hands of these online renegades, or are they really renegades? And it wasn’t just GameStop. Other businesses that are heavily targeted for short selling are places like AMC entertainment, Bed, Bath and Beyond, and they all got swept up in this Reddit led charge.

Then the fun became to an abrupt end when Robinhood and other platforms imposed strict restrictions on traders, effectively stopping their ability to buy shares in GameStop and other select stocks. Now, this move has prompted outcries and accusations of game rigging by people across the political spectrum. And just imagine now, I’m talking about Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, the Congresswoman and Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Elizabeth Warren. And on Friday, Warren said, her quote was, “For years, the stock market has been less and less about the value of business and more and more like casino gambling. GameStop is just the latest and most visible example. We need to take this not as a one-off problem, but as a systemic problem that requires systemic regulation and enforcement.”

And so there’s a lot going on here, and what has unfolded has huge implications. We know that viewers like us here at The Real News have a lot of questions about what is really going on here, exactly what happened on Wall Street and how that affects us, why it’s important and what it means for us all going forward. What’s it mean for our retirements? Well, let’s start here, Bill Black is back. Good to have you back, Bill. 

Bill Black: Thank you. 

Marc Steiner: Bill’s an associate professor of economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas city, he’s a white color criminologist, former financial regulator and author of the book The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One. Also, joining us again is Arun Gupta. Arun’s back with us. Arun, welcome back. 

Arun Gupta: Great to be with you. 

Marc Steiner: He is a noted journalist who has written for the Washington Post, The Nation, Raw Story, Guardian, Jacobin, many other places. He’s a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York, and working on his book, which is called Bacon as a Weapon of Mass Destruction, a Junk Food Loving Chef’s Inquiry Into Taste, which might be very fitting for today’s discussion. So good to have you both here. Can we just start with this? Can we just start … and, Bill, I’ll jump to you first if you don’t mind. Just a very, very short, a quick lesson in what these terms mean, like short sale. I think people have a hard time grasping what kind of game is being played.

Bill Black: Okay. So the very idea that short sale is a game is itself problematic, right? You’re betting one direction. You’re always betting. Why betting one direction is considered a game and the other direction is not considered a game is quite unclear. And bizarrely, not necessarily these short sellers, but the short sellers tend to be often the people closest aligned with the public interest, as opposed to the folks who are going long, which is of course the opposite. 

So first really basic point that picks up on your basic point, this is all just the secondary market. This is not the primary market. The primary market is the initial public offerings. The IPO’s. That’s what actually gets capital to accompany that it could invest, right? That’s the whole theory why we’re doing this thing. So we have this elaborate, massive secondary market. Why? Because when markets are broad, deep is another phrase for them, it means whole lot of trades. They tend to be more efficient. Or if you want to phrase it the other way, less inefficient, harder to scam and such, right? 

To make this seamless market where you can just go in on, today your app and actually buy a stock and such, we have behind the scenes market makers, which is one of the reasons when we have a great financial crisis, things go to hell in seconds, right? Soon nanoseconds, because the market makers fail. There’s not somebody always on the other side of a trade magically at the price, even in the ballpark of the price you’re trying to buy or sell. So these market makers come in, and if price is falling precipitously, they go bankrupt. In which case, then trading ceases. When trading ceases, what’s the value of an asset if you can’t sell it?

So having deep markets, having a efficient markets is actually a good thing for the world. And that’s the theory, the whole idea of the SEC, Securities and Exchange Commission is an information regime. We give you more reliable information and that means you can make these decisions. And this got coupled with, to your point, this has nothing frigging to do with the economy, the real economy. We can’t emphasize that enough. The real economy is one thing and the whole financial system is another thing. To call it a casino is like to be shocked in Casa Blanca [crosstalk 00:06:19] that’s why it frigging exists in large part. Okay?

One of the ways you can bet, and the reason it can be on the side of the quasi-angels, is a company is highly overvalued in its stock price. Why? Well, often because the CEO is looting the place and cheating and engaging in accounting fraud, right? Charles Keating was famously a beset by shorts, right? Because people figured out that he was scamming things. The great financial crisis, we have all seen the movie now, The Big Short, right? You have unbelievable overstatement in the real economy of asset values. Well, how do you bet against it? You bet that the price is going to fall. You enter into borrowing transaction, and you pledge that you’re going to buy shares or delivered shares that you don’t have.

And that’s great if the price falls, but if it doesn’t, then it’s a world of hurt, but there’s something worse, and that is called a short squeeze. And a short squeeze is famous. Cornelius Vanderbilt did this to another robber Barron, Drew. Drew did a whole shorting in league with corrupt politicians and they targeted Vanderbilt. What was he thinking? And Vanderbilt got his own corrupt politicians and did a short squeeze. And what that means is, back to this broad markets versus very thin markets. These markets get super thin when it comes to lots and lots of trading. So the shorts have to bid back to get the stock, but the stock skyrocketing in value and they bet it was going to fall from roughly 32 to somewhere in the twenties. And now it’s in the three hundreds and four hundreds at times.

That’s when they completely go bankrupt, literally. And in this case it was a hedge fund or a couple of hedge funds that specialized in shorting. And when people got together and said, “Screw fundamental values, let’s all buy GameStop,” Then it rose in price. And the entity, the hedge fund shorting couldn’t deliver the shares and actually got bailed out in the first instance. Then as you say, there’s a dispute. Did Robinhood voluntarily stop in league with others, or did it really come up against its capital limits? Because capital limits actually do exist, and it wouldn’t be illogical that they came up against the capital limits, but without knowing more [inaudible 00:09:33] we may have to short the short, [inaudible 00:09:35] Robinhood. We’re all guessing at this point as to what went on. So yeah, there should be an investigation.

Marc Steiner: So pick up on that, Arun, and especially with your theories about what really happened here.

Arun Gupta: Well, so I think if we look at it from a broader historical perspective, there’s a lot of rage at what’s going on. If you read these message boards on Reddit and on stock websites, you could see a lot of anger at the 2008 bailout. First of all, Wall Street basically wrecked the economy. They engaged in this just epic criminality, blatant fraud. Companies like Goldman Sachs that were marketing mortgages and mortgage backed securities, even as they were betting against them, this ended up crashing the US and the global economy, basically. The subprime mortgage crisis cost Americans something like $13 trillion dollars. And yet what happened was the Obama administration moved heaven and earth to bail them out. No one went to jail for this. There was reports that the FBI was ready to move on many different cases. And in the case of Goldman Sachs, it went from something like $1 trillion in debt to record profitability within a year.

And this was done on essentially the backs of workers and the middle class. There’s this famous quote from Tim Geithner about foaming the runway, which he meant that they wanted to essentially see all these defaults in mortgages to help the banks get them off the books. And we saw something like 8 million foreclosures, many of them were of completely fraudulent, and the banks ended up paying some fines, but it just wound up as being a cost of doing business. It’s pretty much the same exact way that a chemical company like Dow or ExxonMobil will dump toxins in the environment, will pollute, then they just pay a fine, because in the end, they’re going to walk away with much more money. 

And this is the part of the backdrop for what’s going on. But then we also have to understand that Wall Street has become this giant casino. Let me give a little illustration of this. There’s this stock that everyone’s likely heard about, Tesla, the electric vehicle company. It’s seen its valuation soar to stratospheric levels. It’s nearing $1 trillion in value. It’s a small car maker. Its owner, Elon Musk, is basically neck and neck with Jeff Bezos as the richest man in the world, worth about $180 billion. 

The thing about companies, Wall Street has just almost an endless variety of ways to quantify how much they’re worth. And one of the oldest and most standard ways is a price to earnings ratio. Now say you have a company like Apple. This is just for illustration. Their stock price is $15. In the last 12 months, they’ve made $1 in profit. So you divide the share price $15, by the profit $1, and that is called a price, price of stocks, to earnings ratio. That’s 15. And that is considered about the historical norm. 

Tesla has a price to earnings ratio of $1,700, which means you would have to hold that stock for 1,700 years to make your money back. And because Tesla has soared so much, last year we started to see this huge bubble in other electric vehicles stocks. This comes back to Bill’s point about short selling, and the short sellers actually often serve a very important function. 

Now, in the case of what’s going on with GameStop, you had a highly leveraged hedge fund, Melvin Capital, that basically got in over its head. But in the electric vehicle sector, there’s this company called Nikola that, and it’s Nikola Tesla, right? It’s trying to even trade off the name of Tesla. It’s basically a giant fraud, and it has been exposed by a short seller. And yet it saw its price soar in 2020. 

This gets caught up with something else called SPACs, or special purpose acquisition companies. Now, this is just a complete scam where you have essentially these shell companies that go public and say, “Hey, we’re going to acquire another company,” and this whole sector took off in 2020. And when you see the sectors, what they’re investing in, it’s all these basically bubble stocks, it’s electric vehicles, sports gambling, marijuana, space exploration. And I talked to an institutional manager who said like, “Look, the CEOs of these SPACs, they’re incompetent. If they’re so great, why are they a CEO of these shell companies?” 

So what you saw with Nikola was it stocks soared and then crashed, so lots of people get left holding the bag. And this company, they actually had a demo, they are supposed to be making electric trucks. They had to demo a few years ago where they made this video of this truck moving on a road and it turned out, this short seller exposed it, that they towed the truck to the top of a hill and let it go, right? This is a total metaphor for Wall Street. It’s just as a complete scam constantly. And that’s not to say there aren’t companies that do real things, make real products. Of course there are, but what people see is just this giant bubble economy, they don’t necessarily understand it, but they know this is being backstopped by the state. 

We’ve had the Federal Reserve engage in quantitative easing in this easy money. The Dow Jones has soared something like 60% since its lows last March. American US billionaires have added $1.1 trillion to their wealth, even as we’re approaching 500,000 deaths, half a million deaths. So people get a sense that they are being screwed, and someone figured out like, “Hey, here’s a way to get back at Wall Street.”So they started to, and now we see this manipulation by Robinhood and other brokers where they’re shutting down the trades, even as they are making money. They’re in league, essentially with these big institutions. 

The last point is, Robinhood is this free trading platform. And this is a rule of the internet economy. If something is free, you’re the product, right? With Google, with Facebook. That’s exactly what’s going on with Robinhood, is they’re selling people’s data to these market makers and the market makers are then using them to trade. And one, their main market maker, Citadel, they have the owner of it, this guy, Griffin, he invested all this money in the hedge fund, Melvin Capital, that took a bath from the GameStop fiasco. So it’s all this kind of like, it has the appearance of just all this dirty dealing. And it confirms to people that the game is rigged against them.

Marc Steiner: So I think this is an important point here to just kind of just hone in on a couple aspects here. On one hand, Elizabeth Warren said about the need now to really regulate Wall Street and regulate the financial markets and to [inaudible 00:18:06] investigation, you’ve got people like on the left, Alexandra Ocasio Cortez, who was talking about investigating Robinhood, the same thing Cruz says, they wanted to investigate Robinhood. And as soon as I heard that, my first thought was, “Well, it goes way beyond Robinhood. This has to do with a systemic issue here.” So how do you deal with that? And how do you address what comes next? Because it’s communities where people who … on the one hand, you see AOC saying, “We have to investigate this, but I’m not working with Cruz. He tried to kill me.” So that was … which I understand what that means, but the question really is here, what does it mean to regulate Wall Street? How can you do it? 

How do you stop this kind of gaming behavior, and what the hell does that have to do with our lives and our economy and our paychecks? I think those are the two things people are most concerned about. So let’s wrestle with that for a moment. So what does that mean to kind of take this on in the way Elizabeth Warren said, and does it have to go even beyond that. So as pithy as we can, let’s jump into it, and Bill, go ahead. Then, Arun, jump in, let’s have this out.

Bill Black: Okay. Again, it means an enormous change probably in the way we think about securities regulation, because it is conceived of as simply an information system, as opposed to dealing with the essentially rigged nature of things. We just heard an absolutely true thing. Anything that’s supposedly free, ain’t free. And since we’re talking about GameStop, I mean, virtually all the free games on the internet are predatory, designed to hook young males into spending hundreds of dollars a year to play to win type of thing. So this is ubiquitous across the product space and the information space.

So part of what’s going on is selling all of our information, everything in Facebook, et cetera, is to get you to click and give them information. Because as soon as they get information, they monetize the information. So that’s a second area we haven’t talked about at all, it’s probably bigger in terms of classic manipulation. And that is the hyper velocity traders, because the hyper velocity traders are the market these days, right? In most spheres. 

Yeah, we’ve seen the power of Reddit, but remember this is going to end badly for the people that go in, because GameStop in fact was overvalued, not undervalued. And it’s now massively overvalued, which means people are buying it for PE ratios that are not Tesla insane, but are insane. By the way, Musk is a big cheerleader of this process as well. And if Musk is the cheerleader, we should be very careful about joining team Musk on anything. He has not got our interests in mind. 

So the hypervelocity trading’s a huge thing, and it involves all kinds of front running and it involves all kinds of insider information. We’ve got a guy that owns one of the principal major league teams now, whose whole thing was insider trading, where the Justice Department refused to prosecute him. Prosecuted something like 11 of his chief lieutenants. Most of them successfully. Although, the Second Circuit reversed a number of the convictions, which is another key story, by the way, how we’ve made it next to impossible to get convictions in a lot of these cases and how we’ve allowed political corruption to essentially be something that can’t be prosecuted in the United States, because all of these things come back to, if you’ve got large private sector corruption, you’ve got large public sector corruption, at least with a small C going on in the process. 

Musk is a big cheerleader of this process as well. And if Musk is the cheerleader, we should be very careful about joining team Musk on anything. He has not got our interests in mind. 

Bill Black

So there’s enormous accounting fraud still. There’s enormous insider trading. We’ve got hedge funds that dominate, huge part, the Mercers that we’ve talked about in the past, just absolutely toxic in terms of American life. Then we have tax cuts. So what do incredibly wealthy people do if you give them a trillion additional dollars? They don’t buy more yachts, in truth. They don’t have time to buy things, right? They buy stock. And what happens if you increase demand for stock by $1 trillion? Well, you’re going to get a huge rise in stock price.

Who is that going to spur the wealth of? Who is going to withdraw from stock markets? And when did they withdraw? They withdrew with the Great Depression. They withdrew with the collapse of the .com bubble. They had started to come back and they collapsed with the great financial crisis. So the market isn’t considered safe for regular people. And by the way, Reddit’s a community, these things, of young-ish males who, yes, have rage against everything and are … they do really weird stuff. And it works because momentum always works in the short run, if you can get lots of momentum. So this is geeky, Rho, Rho, Rho, your boat. Rho is the symbol for momentum in physics, right? 

But in the longer run, it too is going to end badly. And by the way, they manipulate stocks as well. And they’re well into it. And it’s going to be one scandal after another, because what’s the most famous scam along these lines? It’s got a name. It’s called pump and dump, and that is happening, I guarantee you right now. You pump up the price, you dump it. The chumps that come in later suffer the massive losses.

Marc Steiner: So, let me get to the question here. The biggest question in the end is [inaudible 00:24:53], and I think that [crosstalk 00:24:54]-

Bill Black: It’s not one thing is my point, Marc. There’s isn’t a fix-

Marc Steiner: No, I understand that. 

Bill Black: This is a profoundly corrupt, as my colleague has just explained, system. It needs fixes in large numbers of areas, including stuff we’ve talked about in the past of, how do you restore the FBI? How do you restore the SEC? How do you restore the Department of Justice?

Arun Gupta: I think we can also do simple things, like have a tax on trading that would discourage the high volume trading, a wealth tax. But that takes political will. It takes essentially people organized, the society organized. And a lot of what we’ve seen for decades is this type of … essentially billionaires are worshiped in our society. And the media, mainstream media play a huge role in that. And of course, a lot of them are owned by these same exact billionaires now, like Jeff Bezos, Rupert Murdoch, Sumner Redstone, Disney. So the problem is we have this kind of like self-reinforcing system where it’s just like, there’s all this chicanery going on, but they never point the finger and say, “The problem is the billionaires.” And when someone like Bernie Sanders does, he’s the skunk at the garden party who farted.

Marc Steiner: So if we were sitting in Congress at this moment and you have Cruz and a Ocasio Cortez on similar pages and other people saying … at least in terms of what they’re saying to the press, the question becomes, what does happen? And one of the things that you looked at in 2008 was one of the reasons that people lost confidence in the Democrats was because of the way the game was played in 2008 in the bailout. That was a huge part of what happened to them. So the question becomes, if you’re going to push an agenda that is going to benefit of the entire country and benefit the people of this country, what is it people need to understand, and what is it people need to be pushing in order to address what we’re facing with Wall Street in our economy? I think that’s the question people really want to understand.

Bill Black: Well, again, I agree that there are a large number of steps that we have to be thinking very broadly and including things like taxes. But if you want to single start in this political space we have now, it’s to have the Pecora style hearing-

Marc Steiner: Which means what?

Bill Black: This is not the five-minute questioning by one party versus another. This is professional questioning that goes on for hours, then you let the politician have a little face time at the end. The Australians did this with a Royal Commission recently, and they did it right. So it had all the facts, it had numbers, but it always told a story. It was always a narrative. It was always, “Here’s a real person,” or a series of real people, “And this is the terrible thing that happened to their lives. And it hasn’t just been a one-off. It’s due to these policies and practice. These incentives created by the bosses.”

That not only educates people to the real problem, it creates the rare political space to be able to have substantial changes. This requires a very different way of thinking about how we approach it. It’s going to have many facets. It’s going to have tax facets. It’s going to have regulatory facets. It’s going to be prosecutions, but largely you have to blow the lid, because when you take the lid off, it’s going to be maggots, right? Creepy, crawly maggots everywhere.

Marc Steiner: Arun, go ahead.

Arun Gupta: Oh, well I was just going to say, I know from plenty of people on Twitter, their solution is guillotines on Wall Street.

Marc Steiner: What sort of guillotines?

Bill Black: Well, that’s seriously sort of a problem. These are the same approaches that led to the attack on the Capitol, right? Yes, it is rage, but it’s also weirdly focused. It’s manipulated by the real problems, people like Musk taking leadership roles. This will end very badly if we allow it to continue because yeah, their heroes aren’t cowboys, it’s billionaires.

Arun Gupta: Yeah. And I think it is very important to also remember there is this very much as fascist threat, right? Fascists have always railed against elites, always railed against bankers, which is just a euphemism for Jews. This can very easily veer into antisemitism. We see Donald Trump made antisemitism great again. And we have this political force-

Bill Black: Jewish space lasers are a real thing. I mean, let’s-

Arun Gupta: Well, if you’ve seen a Mel Brooks’ History of the World there’s, yeah, the giant Jewish space station star of David. He has the documentary evidence. But this, yes, there a real danger. People have talked about how on Wall Street Bets, one of the founders, that they had to clean it up because there was these chat rooms that were filled with white supremacists and neo-Nazis and antisemites. There is this kind of like, certainly this frat boy mentality, but that veers a lot into Trumpism. 

As someone who has been covering the fascist right for years, I understand what Bill’s saying. And I’ve heard a lot of people, including the institutional fund manager I was talking to make that analogy with 1/6, that this is like the storming of the Capitol. And yeah, I think there’s a very broad similarities, but that obviously was something also a very different, but there is this late danger that this does not go left in terms of, “Hey, let’s like create a healthier progressive society,” but that this goes in this direction of far right extremism.

Marc Steiner: So, I mean, we don’t have very much time here, but I mean, the point I’m trying to get to here is, what exactly should Congress be doing to address the issue? Because, A, there’s a serious danger of how it can affect a larger economy, and B, that you can’t let this manipulation continue. And the question is, they’ve got to drill down to begin to end it, to control it. And that seems to be the question here, what do they do?

Arun Gupta: I mean, Bill would know a hell of a lot better than me. I would say like, do we need to break up the big banks, but is that possible in this world? I know the economist Rick Wolf makes the point that it’s just like, “Look, if governments wanted to, they could really shut down this kind of flow of hidden wealth that, when they wanted to, they took all this action in concert to shut down financing of Al Qaeda and these other type of religious extremist groups around the world. Well, why can’t they shut down all this kind of hidden money tax havens? They could easily do that. We know where they all are, such as in The Bahamas and elsewhere.” So there are actions that can be taken. It’s just, who? The system is still rigged. Not just the financial system, but the ideological system.

Bill Black: So that they come back to sunlight as a disinfectant, the brand ICN idea, get the facts out. It’s one thing to know the system is rigged, and that can lead to all kinds of things, including in America and most places in the world, blaming Jews, right? It’s another thing to say, “No, no, here’s the 17 ways that it’s rigged that we can change and need to change.” Right? And they will be broad and there’ll be in many areas, but you have to start by getting the facts out and getting the facts out in a way that actually identified the people who are the real perpetrators.

You don’t leave this story, “Well, oh, somehow it’s mysteriously rigged. It must be the Jews.” Instead, “Here’s exactly how it is rigged.” And Real News has, over the years put on a whole series of people who have been telling that story of not, “Well, the system’s rigged.” But, “Here are the specific ways in which it’s rigged,” right?

So for example, marginal tax rates. Marginal tax rates on these people are absurdly low, and effectively when they go off shore or when they go to Delaware in the United States, they can reduce their taxes to pretty close to zero. But a lot of that has been created in the legal system. David K Johnston and others have been talking about this for decades, but there’s no reason has to be just on Real News. It could be happening every day. The Democrats control the committees and subcommittees. They could be holding real honest to God hearings with the power of subpoena, but using professionals. They can create the rules and they can say, “Questioning will be done by staff attorneys,” and then they could go and hire really good staff attorneys who are great at this type of stuff. And then as I said, they get their five minutes of face time at the end of all of this process.

And it would actually be good for them. They would become famous for holding those kinds of hearings, right. But we call it the Pecora hearing for a reason. This is Ferdinand Pecora, who did the successful investigation after a couple of initial attempts and failed in the response to the Great Depression, a Republican appointed by Republicans, right? Somebody that could never rise to the top in Tammany because he was known to be honest. He was not an expert in financial markets. He was an expert in mobs, turned out that was the relevant expertise, right? 

He got together with, as his key aid? An investigative reporter who knew where the bodies were buried and then used the congressional authority to get the facts of, as I said, that not only created the structural basis for change, it created the political space because he discredited the world’s top bankers in America, humiliated them in their testimony when the facts came out. We can do that. We’re actually really good at producing those kinds of lawyers that can do that kind of questioning. It’s one of our skill sets still, but you do not see them when members of Congress are doing their five minutes and asking their non questions that are really statements.

Marc Steiner: Well, I think that what we’ve talked about here is really important. And I think that one of the things maybe to follow up on together is just as this thing unfolds is to do that critique in how this happens so people can see it. I think that what you just said, what both you just said is critical to where the future is going to go. And I want to get you both back on here to kind of hone in on this as we see how this unfolds in the coming weeks, if it unfolds and where it goes. I don’t think Cruz is a Pecora, but we’ll see.

Arun Gupta: If I can make actually one last comment towards your point. 

Marc Steiner: Yeah. Very quick, though. Yeah.

Arun Gupta: We’re coming up on the 10 year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, and they warned us about this, right? And that had the ruling class, at least for a moment, shaking in their Guccis. So when you have the mob on Wall Street calling to get the bankers out of the politics, out of the political control, that’s I think central to change. That you do need the mob, but they were peaceful mob calling for action. We need to see that again.

We’re coming up on the 10 year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, and they warned us about this, right? And that had the ruling class, at least for a moment, shaking in their Guccis.

Arun Gupta

Marc Steiner: I remember that very well, reported from the middle of that mob the whole time. So, yes. Arun Gupta and Bill Black, thank you both so much for joining us here on The Real News. It’s great to have you with us. Really was, good discussion. And I’m Marc Steiner here on the Marc Steiner Show for The Real News Network. Thank you all for joining us. Please go to that email address, MSS@TheRealNews.com, let us know what you think and what we should be covering and how you thought about this and what else you’d like to know about. So for The Real News, thank you so much for joining us and take care.

Between r/wallstreetbets, short selling, and a lot of GameStop stock, things have certainly been interesting on the stock market of late, but who are the real winners and losers here? And what does the #GameStonks saga reveal about the nature of the stock market and the function it actually serves in our society?

For this segment of “The Marc Steiner Show,” Marc is joined by investigative journalist Arun Gupta, whose work has been featured in outlets like the Washington Post, The Intercept, The Nation, Raw Story, The Guardian, and Jacobin; and Bill Black, associate professor of economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas, white-collar criminologist and former financial regulator, and author of the book “The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One.”

Listen to full podcast episodes of “The Marc Steiner Show.”

Marc Steiner

Host, The Marc Steiner Show

Marc Steiner, interim co-Editor at TRNN, is a Peabody Award-winning journalist who has spent his life working on issues of social justice. He walked his first picket line at age 13 and at age 16 became the youngest person in Maryland arrested for Civil Rights protests, in the Freedom Rides through Cambridge. As part of the Poor People’s Campaign in 1968, Marc helped organize poor white communities with the Young Patriots, the white Appalachian counterpart to the Black Panthers. Early in his career he counseled at-risk youth in therapeutic settings and founded a theater program in the Maryland State prison system. He also taught Theatre for 10 years at the Baltimore School for the Arts. From 1993 through 1997 his signature “Marc Steiner Show” aired on Baltimore’s public radio airwaves, both WYPR – which Marc co-founded – and Morgan State University’s WEAA.