Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Grand Larceny

Thieves break through and steal.  Guess who!

Common theft costs us each about $38 a year. That's all the stolen cars, picked pockets, home break-ins, etc, averaged out across the U.S. population.

Employers steal more than that from their employees.  The ones most affected, the lower and minimum wage earners, illegally deprived of overtime pay for hours actually worked, denied benefits.  It's called 'wage theft'.

Wall Street is the really impressive winner among thieves.  In the 2007-08 grandiose theft, they took about $47,000 from every man, woman, and child in the U.S.  More damage done than 1,000 years worth of regular thievery by all those thieves we work so hard to prosecute and punish.

And guess how many Wall Streeters were prosecuted ... zero.
Of the 160,000+ Wall Street players, ... zero.
Of the CEOs and managers who knew precisely what they were doing, ... zero.

No prosecutions.
No firings.
Not so much as an apology.

CEOs who were in on the deal got mega-million dollar salaries.
Traders who made the transactions got multi-million dollar bonuses.
The companies that provided A+ ratings for junk got their payoff and went unpunished.

More than a million died from starvation in the first year, we're told, as the world marketplace took the hit.  Another 10,000 committed suicide.

  • Steal a bag of groceries, go to jail.
  • Steal billions from everybody in the country, get a bonus.
  • Cause the deaths of a million people ...
  • Maybe the bonuses were for ethic-less efficiency.

Senator Levin notes, “The overwhelming evidence is that those institutions deceived their clients and deceived the public, and they were aided and abetted by deferential regulators and credit ratings agencies who had conflicts of interest.”

The masterminds and executioners are unlikely to face immediate penalties. Eventually, certainly.  The death and loss were somewhat unintended, so the charges might be reduced to manslaughter (a million counts) and grand larceny (318 million counts).

Thanks and a hat tip to the U.S. Congress for legalizing Wall Street's play.  It used to be illegal gambling, but things changed at the insistence of big business.  No point in passing up those campaign contributions, and anyway, Greenspan promised it couldn't fail.  The troubling part, they were foolish (lacking in basic intelligence) enough to drink the kool-aid.  The fraud and carnage continue unabated.

It's perhaps not surprising that Congress can't even discuss economic inequality.  They apparently haven't a clue.

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