Why won't Obama bring Wall Street to Justice?

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Why won't Obama bring Wall Street to Justice?

Post  Thomas Truong on Fri May 11, 2012 2:11 am

For all those of you actually interested in inequality, or frustrated with the banking industry escaping unscathed from the collapse, read this article.

From the Daily Beast:

Why Can't Obama Bring Wall Street to Justice?

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Despite his populist posturing, the president has failed to pin a single top finance exec on criminal charges since the economic collapse. Are the banks too big to jail—or is Washington’s revolving door at to blame? Peter J. Boyer and Peter Schweizer investigate:

Obama’s 2009 White House summit with finance titans, in which the president warned that only he was standing "between you and the pitchforks "Why, despite widespread outrage, financial-fraud prosecutions by the Department of Justice are at 20-year lows

Attorney General Eric Holder’s lucrative ties to a top-tier law firm whose marquee clients include some of finance’s worst offenders

How Obama’s trumpeted “task force” for investigating risky mortgage lenders—announced in this year’s State of the Union speech—is badly understaffed and has yet to produce any discernible progress

With the Occupy protesters resuming battle stations, and Mitt Romney in place as the presumptive Republican nominee, President Obama has begun to fashion his campaign as a crusade for the 99 percent--a fight against, as one Obama ad puts it, "a guy who had a Swiss bank account." Casting Romney as a plutocrat will be easy enough. But the president's claim as avenging populist may prove trickier, given his own deeply complicated, even conflicted, relationship with Big Finance.

Obama came into office vowing to end business as usual, and, in the gray post-crash dawn of 2009, nowhere did a reckoning with justice seem more due than in the financial sector. The public was shaken, and angry, and Wall Street seemed oblivious to its own culpability, defending extravagant pay bonuses even while accepting a taxpayer bailout. Obama channeled this anger, and employed its rhetoric, blaming the worldwide economic collapse on "the reckless speculation of bankers." Two months into his presidency, Obama summoned the titans of finance to the White House, where he told them, "My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks."

The bankers may have found the president's tone unsettling. Candidate Obama had been their guy, accepting vast amounts of Wall Street campaign money for his victories over Hillary Clinton and John McCain (Goldman Sachs executives ponied up $1 million, more than any other private source of funding in 2008). Obama far outraised his Republican rival, John McCain, on Wall Street--around $16 million to $9 million. As it turned out, Obama apparently actually meant what he said at that White House meeting--his administration effectively would stand between Big Finance and anything like a severe accounting. To the dismay of many of Obama's supporters, nearly four years after the disaster, there has not been a single criminal charge filed by the federal government against any top executive of the elite financial institutions.

"It's perplexing at best," says Phil Angelides, the Democratic former California treasurer who chaired the bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. "It's deeply troubling at worst."

Strikingly, federal prosecutions overall have risen sharply under Obama, increasing dramatically in such areas as civil rights and health-care fraud. But according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a data-gathering organization at Syracuse University, financial-fraud prosecutions by the Department of Justice are at 20-year lows. They're down 39 percent since 2003, when fraud at Enron and WorldCom led to a series of prosecutions, and are just one third of what they were during the Clinton administration. (The Justice Department says the numbers would be higher if new categories of crime were counted.)

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Re: Why won't Obama bring Wall Street to Justice?

Post  David Ward on Fri May 11, 2012 3:18 am

Given the "monkey shit fight at the zoo" that has erupted in Greece in response to austerity measures, I'm becoming increasingly fearful that our leaders will be unwilling to address our financial issues in any substantive way.

What I'm afraid of, is a continuation of the tendency to kick the can down the road until our economy (and the world's) crashes completely.

We're so afraid of the medicine that the cancer will kill us.

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Re: Why won't Obama bring Wall Street to Justice?

Post  David Mitchel on Fri May 11, 2012 3:56 am

These guys will either have pitchforks on them for years to come, or they will have pitchforks now. Both candidates are horrible right now, but Romney is even worse in his case because he probably relates more to these businesses than he does average Americans, which is a bad sign.

Not only do they think they are above us, they think they're entitled to the money they stole from us to keep them afloat. Not one freaking splat was done that was reconcilable.

They even have the nerve to call us to call us wolves.

If any candidate wants to save face, they'd better distance themselves, or bring these guys on the firing line. And that means getting someone to look into this matter that don't think about the money given by these banks to them.

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Re: Why won't Obama bring Wall Street to Justice?

Post  Maria Marsala on Fri May 11, 2012 12:00 pm

Obama is probably getting pay offs from Wall Street. You do know that Warren Buffet worked with Obama to set up that "bail out the banks" deal right? Then he invested money in the banks before they got bailed out, and made huge sums of money off of them. Now normally the law would call that, "insider trading" but because Warren Buffet did it while working with the president to "save the nation's banks" he was not only not prosecuted but rewarded instead.

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Re: Why won't Obama bring Wall Street to Justice?

Post  Thomas Truong on Sat May 12, 2012 10:12 am

Even if politicians were all super-intelligent and wises, they could not decide what peoples must do and how to manage society in its globality. It's something superior to the human brain capacity. Only the spontaneous order, laissez'faire and catallaxy can do that.

Anyway, peoples are often stupids and can't manage thir life with the best efficiency, but politicians are just peoples too, so they are as much stupids and then have no authority and competence to takes decisions for peoples.

End of the story.

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