Saturday, 16 June 2012

Stealing from the rich—NOT DONE!

Contrast, if you will, the treatment meted out this week to high-flying Ponzi schemer and all-round scumbag Alan Stanford and the red carpet testicle-worshipping performed by the Senate Banking Committee on JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon.

Stanford received 110 years in prison without parole for bilking his high-rolling customers out of a cool $7 billion. He certainly deserves to leave us forever, but Dimon doesn’t even risk losing his job, an apt sign of our polity’s sinking moral codes.

The assembled senators—who with few exceptions looked like they would like nothing better than to trade places with the man from JPM—frequently argued that, hey, what’s a couple of billion when you’ve made $19 billion last year alone? Ya win a few, ya lose a few.

That misses the point. Why is Dimon’s or any bank making such huge profits so soon after a crushing downturn in economic activity that has been barely reversed? The 19 billion on the plus side should be as worrying as the 2 billion (which probably will turn into twice that once the story dies down) in the red. A major TBTF bank, propped up by oceans of cheap cash from the Fed, should not be outperforming the entire economy to that extent and could not be unless it is engaged in systemically dangerous gambling. They cash in when it works, and we pay for the losses if it all explodes.

But to leave the Dimon-fellating aside, where are the criminal charges against other destroyers of wealth, like Lehman’s Fuld or the execrable Angelo Mozillo of Countrywide who was eminently chargeable for pumping up the sub-prime debacle and walking away with a gargantuan fortune? Or the hundreds of cases that could have been made against robo-signers, fraudulent foreclosure firms, document-forgers in the mortgage servicing industry, and the like?

The difference, sad to say, is that Stanford stole from the rich, which is punishable by death. The rest merely stole from working people who do not own senators or cable networks and can be stiffed with ease.

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