Several recent reports, in The New York Times and elsewhere, have reminded us that not one of the bankers who caused the meltdown two years ago, destroying the savings and the lives of countless Americans and doing their part to make illegal foreclosures and 20 percent unemployment the new normal, has been indicted or gone to jail. Not a single one.
In her Times story today, Gretchen Morgenson recounted a meeting in 2008 between Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy Geithner and then-N.Y. Attorney General (now governor) Andrew Cuomo. They conveniently decided not to prosecute either banks or bankers for fear of ruining the markets and causing financial Armageddon. Now, where have we heard that scary term before? Oh yeah, from the boss of JP Morgan Chase, whose profits just soared by 67 percent. CEO Jamie Dimon personally went to the U.S. government last week to warn of yet another Armageddon, in the event Congress does not raise the debt ceiling next month. That's the same Jamie Dimon who charged his company a whopping half a mil in moving expenses recently because his million dollar salary and $5 million bonus just didn't cut it. I guess he wants to fly a private space shuttle to Mars to avoid Armageddon when the debt ceiling collapse explodes the whole planet. Either that, or he's going to move the contents of Fort Knox to an underground mansion paid for by Homeland Security. (You can probably tell I am really into conspiracy theories today as well as feeling crankier than usual).
Morgenson also blamed the lack of FBI expertise and manpower for the failure to investigate Wall Street bankers. She contrasted the current lack of accountability to the hundreds of prosecutions in the Savings & Loan scandals in the 90s, when the modern day Mr. Potters actually went to the slammer. Not only do few investigators have the knowledge of the arcane credit default swaps and other financial casino tricks invented by Wall Street, the culprits themselves have trouble explaining exactly what they did to screw us all so royally. They committed crimes so novel there were no specific laws against them. The Securities and Exchange Commission in charge of overseeing the financial world was lackadaisical at best and criminally complicit at worst. Whisteblowers who approached Congress were ignored. The repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, enacted during the Great Depression to prevent the rise of banks too big to fail, just opened the floodgates of unfettered greed even wider. Gene Sperling, a top Obama economic advisor, was one of the architects of that repeal during the Clinton Administration. The so-called financial reform legislation last year co-sponsored by Chris Dodd (himself a beneficiary of a crooked Countrywide mortgage deal) and smooth talking Barney Frank, has teeth made of yellow jello.
But the real wolves have been reined in, proving that Congress, despite the conventional wisdom, can really do things when it takes a mind too. The wolf population has grown and no longer in danger of extinction. They apparently have been killing livestock and terrorizing Max Baucus's constituents. And the National Rifle Association has to have more furry warm bodies as targets for their bullets of freedom.
RootsAction, a group of activist economists, is calling for A Robin Hood tax on Wall Street Let's see if the president puts his money where his mouth is and fights for it. Cuomo , himself a puppet of Wall Street, just got rid of the state millionaires tax and slashed the budget on the backs of the poor. The banks threatened to leave Wall Street unless he did. The corporations and banks are so grateful they are running nonstop TV ads thanking him. They're calling themselves the Committee to Save New York, and their ad actually features a crowd of pedestrians in Brooks Brothers suits. I am not kidding! No wonder the banksters are raking in the record profits. Even their needy trophy wives get sweetheart zero interest deals from The Fed, according to a recent article by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone. (And for a detailed story on Cuomo's influence peddlers, see "Eyes on the Ties" on my Blog List on the right- hand side of the page).
But it's never enough. Jamie Dimon is now whining that Senator Dick Durbin wants to put the kibosh on his usurious price-fixing debit card fees. This guy is insatiable. His greed goes way beyond normal unmitigated avarice. Since he and his ilk are already de facto owners of the government, any attempt to rein him in amounts to a mutiny, in his view. It is sheer effrontery for Uncle Sam to say no to Mr. Dimon.
Meanwhile, I hope all the gray wolves somehow get word that the bullets are going to be flying and do the smart thing by emigrating to Canada. The laws up there actually protect species, both human and animal. And they even have strict banking laws that protect ordinary citizens. I say let's ship Jamie Dimon up there to the wastes of the Yukon Territory or an abandoned Siberian gulag and let him howl all he wants at the moon, alone and far away, where he and other seriously dangerous creatures can cause no further damage. The taxpayers will gladly foot the bill for his moving expenses.
|Let's Give Them a Reason to Howl|