Lots of questions are being asked about the Clinton Foundation–except some obvious ones that are being almost entirely ignored, questions which should invite debate on troubling connections sitting right out …
Let me give credit, up front, to a splendid idea from the actors Greg Wise and Emma Thompson that clarified my own outrage at a simple reality: the bankers destroyed the economy with their greed and incompetence, the Obama Administration lets each bank CEO off the hook with a negotiated deal for a fine that the institution, not the banker pays, and with no jail time for a single high-ranking Wall Streeter and WE PAY FOR THIS.
That’s right: each one of us, with our taxes, pays for this sleazy deal with the financial elite.
If you want to know why the Wall Street elite and the bankers who robbed us blind are laughing all the way to their mansions, it’s because the joke is on YOU. On every American. Because after they robbed the country, and destroyed millions of jobs and trillions of dollars in value, YOU get to pick a nice part of the tab.
A billion here, a billion there…all of a sudden…yeah, you’re talking real money. And one assumes that’s what the accountants at banks figure when they smile about the latest scam to pad the bottom line for banks. It’s called “dividend arbitrage”–and that “arbitrage” already gives a hint.
Well, this is just more of the same. Shareholders and customers pay the tab for greed and incompetence–and the Administration goes along. A new deal–but no one held responsible.
Well, it gets a bit repetitive to write about this but it’s that or spacecrafts following comets(come to think of it, the comet stuff is much more fun). But, here we go again: bankers rip us off and all they need to do is sock it to the shareholders and customers and, presto, Eric Holder and his boss go home happy campers. The Treasury might get a little richer but nothing much will have changed.
One person who is a bit of a hero, I think, in this whole post-financial-crisis-the-bankers-got-away-with-it scam is Jed Rakoff, who sits in the Federal District Court of Manhattan. A few years ago, I wrote that Rakoff understood that the government, our government, and, in particular, the Securities and Exchange Commission, is not serious about holding people accountable for the robbery and greed and incompetence that led to the financial collapse, costing millions of people their jobs and obliterating trillions of dollars in wealth. As Rakoff said, it’s all a show. But, at least, when he can, Rakoff is trying to make it hurt–and, now, to the tune of a $1.9 billion fine against Bank of America.
Maybe I’m naive or just stubborn (yes) or both but I can’t get too excited by today’s news of a judgement against Bank of America. Because it doesn’t change much down the road. You’ll see why.
It would be a great day if just once — just once — the bankers who caused financial mayhem ended up in jail. That’s not going to happen in the latest charges leveled against Bank of America because the charges are civil, not criminal. But, for now, we can feel a smidgen of glee.
Keep your eye on the ball, which is tough when it come to making sure another chunk of change doesn’t end up in the pockets of the big banks. But, it keeps happening.
When I come back in my next life, I want to be a banker or a hotshot on Wall Street. Because it’s the kind of work where you can do anything you want, break any laws, never get punished and make a huge amount of money. And the best thing is: you make someone else pay for your fuck-ups. That is the upshot of the settlement reached today with the banks. Another day, another sham.
So, it’s easy to capture our predicament today–though you’d never get that from the transcribers of press releases (formerly known as “journalists”). Here is is neatly summed up: we’ve been robbed, only little fish are being held accountable for relatively small crimes and, even more to the point, in a political rhetorical world where shareholders are revered, the shareholders are being left to pay the bill.
It is great that JP Morgan has been sued–and congrats to NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. But, we’ve seen this picture before: suits are filed and the executives who committed fraud or financial crimes or misconduct are NEVER–NEVER–held accountable. If we want real change–not phony, uplifting change–these people must go to jail. NO DEALS.
Really, I can’t tell whether people who work at the major banks moonlight as comedy writers for The Daily Show, or they are so immune to public shame or punishment that they just don’t give a damn.
Hey, Bank of America shareholder, how does it feel to have the executives deceive investors (in other words, lie), escape any personal responsibility for the lies, cause huge losses and, then, stick YOU with a bill for over $2 BILLION? Well, probably not a great feeling but, screw you, you are just an investor, not a coddled, overpaid executive who just got handed a stay-out-of-jail card.
Not surprisingly, Bank of America–one of the truly despicable actors in the mortgage scandal–has violated a deal it struck with the state of Nevada. And Nevada wants to sue. …