Not one of the Wall Street crooks who drove our economy off a cliff has gone to jail. And now we know why. For the country's top law enforcement official, Attorney General Eric Holder, "too big to fail" has now become "too big to jail."
Shockingly, Attorney General Holder recently admitted as much, saying:
"I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes
so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy."
Send a message: Send one or two CEOs to prison and the rest will fall in line. The economy won't tank. Nobody in our country is above the law. But apparently Attorney General Holder has lost sight of that. Tell Attorney General Holder that he is NOT above the law and that it's his job to prosecute criminals. If he can't bring himself to prosecute the Wall Street crooks, he should resign!
When Attorney General Holder effectively gives a "get out of jail free" card to Wall Street crooks, it hurts our country in two ways. First, taking the threat of prosecution off the table gives a green light to criminals to keep at it. This is especially true when breaking the law is enormously profitable -- as it is with Wall Street banks.
Second, letting criminals operate with impunity fundamentally weakens the Rule of Law. When Senator Elizabeth Warren was speaking with federal banking regulators about the lack of criminal prosecution of HSBC for laundering drug money and violating our sanctions regime, she said this:
"If you're caught with an ounce of cocaine, the chances are good you're going to go to jail. If it happens repeatedly, you may go to jail for the rest of your life. But evidently, if you launder nearly a billion dollars for drug cartels and violate international sanctions, your company pays a fine and you go home and sleep in your own bed at night...I think that's fundamentally wrong."
It is indeed fundamentally wrong. If you haven't read Matt Taibbi's piece on HSBC, it's well worth reading to see the kind of blatant criminality that's being overlooked.
As is the broader notion of "too big to jail." Our democracy simply cannot tolerate two sets of laws -- one set for the richest and most powerful individuals and institutions, and another set for everyone else.
On another note regarding the crooked Wall Street banks:
Despite conservative screams about the “socialist communist Kenyan
Muslim” in the White House, the fact is, Wall Street just had its best
week… ever. That’s not hyperbole -- the Dow just hit new
highs --- and has for ten days in a row!
Meanwhile, in real America, the sequester threatens hundreds of thousands of jobs in the midst of an anemic recovery, with DC deadlocked thanks to obstructionist Republicans (and the lack of Senator Harry Reid's promise to reform the filibuster). And of course, conservatives continue to insist that any budget deal include further hardships on the working class and retired.
But Senators Tom Harkin and Sheldon Whitehouse have a better idea -- a Wall Street speculation tax. The burden on traders would be minimal -- just three pennies on every $100 traded, or 0.03 percent.
This absurdly modest tax would raise $352 billion over 10 years, or
one-third of what the sequester will cut, creating and saving jobs, and
putting the burden where it belongs -- on those who created our economic
problems and profited the most from taxpayer bailouts, and continue to profit
today (while the rest of us made our "shared sacrifices").
As is usually the case in DC, the roadblock isn’t public opinion -- 81 percent of Americans support a tax on trading. What we need are bold leaders to take on the corporatist lobby, and a grassroots army to have their backs. If you wish, click here to sign the petition.
Alternatively, you may phone the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask the operator for your Senator's office...then leave a message with their aide.
Holding Wall Street accountable --- and taxing them their fair share while the rest of the country suffers --- is bipartisan. Both Republicans and Democrats should be on board with this.
And remind U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that he works for us, and to "DO YOUR JOB!"