Posts Tagged ‘2008 economic collapse’

eanda logoby @anarchyroll

What does a white-collar, wall street economic terrorist have to do to go to jail?

Write billion dollar checks with strings attached and an ability to make money back off the deal I suppose.

That is what Goldman Sachs recently did in New York as a means of settling their Legacy Matters related to the 2008 economic collapse that they have now admitted to being at least partially responsible for.

Usually when a person confesses to a crime, they still go to jail, they still face a righteous punishment. Maybe instead of the death penalty they serve life in prison. The deal that Goldman Sachs cut with the working group headed by the New York Attorney General, is very Manhattan, a lot of bluster for the sake of appearances that stinks like garbage when brought into the sun.

What good is restitution without a righteous penalty? What is the value of a fine to people with unlimited money and unlimited capacity to get free money from the US government?

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A penalty isn’t a penalty if it doesn’t hurt the person or party being penalized.

Fining Goldman Sachs five billion dollars is like fining the ocean enough water to run a water park for a summer. Not only is it less than a minimal but its a pretty salty reward  that cant quench anybody’s thirst.

In the developed world money equals power. The purpose of news is to inform the common person about what those in power are doing. The event of the 2008 economic collapse and the ripple effects in the aftermath of it effect more people directly than any presidential election in modern times

Yet how much coverage did the announcement of this multi billion dollar settlement get compared to any aspect of the presidential primary or anything Donald Trump has said in the last year?

Legacy matters.

Most people would agree that it does. On Wall Street that means a whole different thing. Then again what doesn’t? The announced five billion dollar settlement by Goldman Sachs sums up their legacy and the legacy of the 2008 economic collapse quite well.

Smoke screens, legalese, under the table deals, double talk, fine print, more mystery than truth, more PR than pure.That is the legacy of the 2008 economic collapse and the Great Recession that followed it.

That is the legacy that matters to Goldman Sachs, and the royal we of Wall Street. The legacy matters of the too big to fail institutions on Wall Street are nothing more than numbers on a spreadsheet…just like everything and everyone else in the world.

On Wall Street, legacy matters are things you put behind with shame. In the rest of the world, it’s something you leave behind with pride.

eanda logoajclogo2by @anarchyroll
5/22/2014

How many people went to jail for causing the 2008 economic collapse of not just the United States, but the entire global economy?

I thought the answer was zero, it turns out I was wrong. The answer is one, one person from Wall Street went to jail post 2008.

It’s not just an income inequality gap that exists and is expanding in America, there is also a judicial inequality gap. Since I’m white I’ve only noticed this recently. If I was a minority I would have likely not just written about the disparity, but would have been arrested and put in jail already.

Graph courtesy of Project.org

In America, white-collar criminal really is a double entendre. One for the type of crime, a second for the race of the criminal.

Though maybe it is time to update the image and the term. Something more appropriate would be green collar crime. Though the fact that almost all of the white-collar corporate CEO’s were/are white; it is the quantity of dead presidents in their offshore bank account that is the blade to their prison term skate.

What does it say about us as a society that we allow this kind of disparity to justice to become the norm? Is the damage caused by the architects of the ’08 collapse greater than, equal to, or less than the robbery of a single person? How about the rape of a single person? The murder of a single person? Selling drugs to a single person?

I’m not pretending to have an answer here. I am certainly not standing on a pedestal.

Was the damage caused by World Com and Enron akin to a serial robber? A serial killer? A serial rapist? A drug kingpin? How do we measure the collateral damage? Is the death by stabbing of a man in his early twenties different from a retiree who finds out they have lost all of their money in a Ponzi scheme and is destitute without the physical ability to earn for the rest of their life?

What about the people who kill themselves due to an economic depression? What if they have spouses and children? Is their loss, pain, and suffering different from a woman who gets robbed and raped at gun point walking home from the train station?

When entire neighborhoods and towns are put into foreclosure. Hundreds, thousands, millions without work, shelter, food, water, or hope for the future…are the people responsible for causing so much human tragedy somehow less evil, deserving less scorn, and less judicial prosecution than a teenager who runs over a kid while texting and driving? What about drinking and driving?

When blood is spilled, lives taken, innocence stolen in violent crimes we as a society hunt down the criminals, lock them up, throw away the key, and turn the other cheek while they are habitually raped in prison. Victims of violent crimes and their families are forever changed, unable to ever fill the hole created by an evil person that took something that can never be given back.

But is that psychological damage not shared by victims of massive financial crimes against society like in 2008? When we aren’t talking about a single person losing a job or life’s savings but a large percentage of the global population. Are the strains placed on society not akin to that placed on the immediate friends and families of violent crimes?

If not, can we at least as a society agree that we should lock up hedge fund managers, investment bankers, and Ponzi schemers that cause global recessions and depressions as strictly and regularly as we lock up drug dealers and users?