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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

March 6, 2012 at 10:00 AM

Why are the banksters still at large?

Earlier this week, Attorney General Eric Holder laid out his legal defense for the killing of a U.S. citizen abroad, stemming from the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki, reputedly an American-born al-Queda operative, five months ago in Yemen. As Wired commented, “Here’s Why the Government Thinks It Can Kill You Overseas.

Holder has yet to be pressed on another vital matter: Why the Obama administration has not prosecuted any major Wall Street figure or big banker for the swindles that brought on the Great Recession. For that matter, why is former Democratic senator and governor Jon Corzine still at large after the massive fraud at MF Global? The damage that Bernie Madoff did was nothing compared with the leaders of the too-big-to-fail banks, the shadow banking system, AIG, etc. And Washington Mutual. And yet Holder, a former corporate lawyer, has done nothing. Iceland is putting its former prime minister on trial for the financial crisis. It would never happen here.

In an unrelated (?) story, Bill Clinton will help President Obama ramp up his fund raising from Wall Street, according to Bloomberg. Clinton, a favorite of the banking industry when he was president, joined with Republican Sen. Phil Gramm to repeal Glass-Steagall in 1999, setting the stage for the deregulated looting and crash to follow.

Attorney General Holder’s refusal to uphold the rule of law will be remembered by historians as a sorry chapter in American history. It’s bad for capitalism. It’s worse for the taxpayers. To put a fine point on it, the pinstriped lawbreakers in the “financial services” industry did far worse damage to America than the late Anwar al-Awlaki. But they’ve gotten away with it. Saved by the taxpayers, the TBTFs are bigger than ever, the derivative shops more dangerous than ever, all using your money to lobby against reform. They are cooking up fresh disasters, knowing their profits will be privatized while their losses will be socialized. (Here’s the latest example of Goldman Sachs “doing God’s work” in Greece, and how Wall Street is gaming Greece’s troubles).

And Don’t Miss: Congress’ potential faulty tax logic || David Cay Johnston

Today’s Econ Haiku:

Bond swap for write-offs

It’s super Tuesday in Greece

The voters won’t show

Comments | More in Bailout, Banking

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