In fact, they are now bringing in record profits with another round of record bonuses expected. Meanwhile not one person from Wall Street has been prosecuted with the exception of Madoff and a hedge-fund tycoon, Raj Rajaratnam, who was ordered to serve 11 years in prison for insider-trading.
They have successfully escaped any repercussions from creating such things as credit-default swaps. Michael Greenberger, a law professor at the University of Maryland, explains:
A credit default swap is a contract between two people, one of whom is giving insurance to the other that he will be paid in the event that a financial institution, or a financial instrument, fails. It is an insurance contract, but they’ve been very careful not to call it that because if it were insurance, it would be regulated. So they use a magic substitute word called a ‘swap,’ which by virtue of federal law is deregulated.
Who was selling this? Banks like Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Bank of America, and Citigroup. Yet not one executive from any of these banks has been arrested, charged, and prosecuted. How can that happen? It has something to do with the revolving door between our government and Wall Street. President Obama has chosen to surround himself with former Wall Street executives including former Goldman Sachs CEO Jon Corzine, Evercore Partners executive Charles Myers, Greenstreet Real Estate Partners CEO Steven Green, and Azita Raji, a former investment banker for JP Morgan.
Tim Geithner was interviewed on CNBC yesterday and was asked about the OWS movement and their claims of the lack of prosecutions. He said that the Administration is getting right on the whole “prosecuting the people who defrauded the economy” thing. Geithner said action is on the way. “You’ve seen very, very dramatic enforcement actions already by the enforcement authorities across the U.S. government, and I’m sure you’re going to see more to come. You should stay tuned for that.”
David Dayen of FireDogLake had his own version Geithner’s response:
Let me rewrite that: “We moved within a year and a half of getting in office to put in place a relatively stronger set of rules of the game, in the sense that 1/8 is stronger than 1/16, across the financial sector. Now, we’re now facing a lot of resistance to those rules, and we’re accommodating that resistance by gutting the rules in implementation. We’re going to make sure that we deliver the promise of those reforms, or at least the promise we made to the finance lobby to back off and let them grow their way back to the top.”
Unfortunately, I don’t see the Hope and Change candidate changing all that much. Saying that, I still think given the 2 parties and the candidate we have to choose from, Obama is still the better choice….but that is not saying much.
I know there are people out there that will disagree saying he has tried, but keep in mind in 2008, he was swept in with a majority in both Houses, and even though he did have obstacles even within his own party, he chose to do nothing. He chose to ignore the crimes committed by Wall Street and as a result Eric Holder has done pretty much nothing.