Most of the time, you can ignore that foot on your neck. You can pretend that electoral politics work and that we are a nation of law, not of rich people. You can revel when your tribe puts someone in office, and pretend that the person you voted for is working in your interests.
Not today. Today it is confirmed: there will be no prosecutions, there will be no accountability for the rich financiers and their clients who caused the Great Crash of 2008, profited mightily, fought off regulation, and escaped with their personal fortunes and their reputations intact, all as part of the great muddle-through plan of the Obama administration.
Gretchen Morgenson and Louise Story report in the New York Times that in mid-October, 2008, in the middle of the collapse, Timothy Geithner met with Andrew Cuomo:
According to three people briefed at the time about the meeting, Mr. Geithner expressed concern about the fragility of the financial system.
His worry, according to these people, sprang from a desire to calm markets, a goal that could be complicated by a hard-charging attorney general.
At the time, Geithner was President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and Cuomo was the Attorney General of New York. Cuomo ran noisy investigations but did not prosecute anyone. Now Geithner is Treasury Secretary and Cuomo is Governor of New York. Both of them have been rewarded for their attention to the needs and concerns of the financial markets.
Morgenson and Story report that the efforts of the FBI to ramp up to investigate the fraud and abuse were crushed by the Department of Justice, then headed by Michael Mukasey, shades of Alberto Gonzalez, can’t remember requests to beef up that operation. They report an unpublished policy of the SEC adopted in 2009 calling for caution in issuing hefty fines against banks that had gotten huge bailouts. I wonder how grateful the banks and their rich shareholders are for that thoughtfulness?
Could someone ask what kind of instructions Geithner and his current boss, President Obama, gave to the US Attorneys in the Southern District of New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and other big cities. They have done nothing at all, except, of course, for Preet Bharara’s silly and irrelevant insider trading cases.There is nothing to suggest that Jenny Durkan, the US Attorney in Seattle, (home of Washington Mutual), André Birotte, the US Attorney in Los Angeles (home of Countrywide, Long Beach Mortgage and New Century) and the rest of the Department of Justice even bothered with subpoenas.
Morgenson and Story are careful to add the usual banker explanation that these are complex cases. These cases are not complicated at all, and the information necessary to prove them has been gathered by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and by Senators Levin and Coburn from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations with further information.
That foot on your neck is banksters rubbing your face in their immunity from the rule of law.