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Sunday, October 23, 2016

WATCH: Not One Wall Street Executive Is In Jail Because the Big Banks ‘Own The Place’

Watch The Untouchables on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

In “The Untouchables,” PBS’s Frontline takes a look at the aftermath of the financial crisis and tries to answer the question that should haunt us all: Why are no Wall Street executives in jail for their role in the financial crisis that cost this country eight million jobs?

The answers the program presents are infuriating. From mortgage providers who consciously engaged in a strategy of funding everyone, to the banks that disregarded their own credit policies to purchase those mortgages, to a Justice Department humbled by the legal power of Wall Street and too afraid of shocking the financial system to prosecute any top executives, the real culprit is a political system that’s still too broken to confront the unfettered power of the big banks, which are bigger now than they were before the financial crisis.

If there is a hero in the story, it’s former senator Ted Kaufman (D-DE), Joe Biden’s former aide, who took the new vice president’s seat from 2009-2010. Kaufman fought for increased funding to fight financial fraud and used his oversight to follow up on the surprising lack of prosecutions. But unlike Kaufman, who knew he’d never run for office, most politicians in Washington D.C. had careers to protect.

Private law firms have picked up where the DOJ left off prosecuting the banks for defrauding their customers and the institutions that backed their mortgages. The state of New York recently joined a number of other parties to file a civil case against Bear Stearns’ current owner, JPMorgan Chase, using testimony and evidence from the private firms to form much of their case.

So why couldn’t the government make that case? As good as this Frontline documentary is, it misses a few key aspects of the story.

First, the big banks’ lobbying power wasn’t diminished by the financial crisis, as TARP placed no restrictions on their activity. The millions that the financial service lobby had to throw around in 2009 and 2010 to limit Congress’ interest in investigating the crisis and prevent further reforms led Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) to look at the Senate and realize that the banks “…own the place.”

Second, the frustration the public felt during the worst of the disaster was successfully diverted from Wall Street to the president via an amazingly coordinated effort by the right wing, aided by Fox News and billionaire-funded dark money “social welfare” nonprofits like FreedomWorks and Americans For Prosperity. These groups successful framed any attack on Wall Street as an attack on capitalism itself.

One of the great “what if”s of recent history is “What if Occupy Wall Street came before the Tea Party?” The pressure to prosecute would likely had been too powerful to ignore.

Finally, it gives Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) a chance to lament the lack of prosecutions, even though he’s a perfect example of the lack of oversight and dysfunction that let the crisis happen then tried to prevent any reforms.

When you factor these political realities in with the the answers presented in “The Untouchables,” we should all be aware that not only could another financial crisis happen now, but the complete lack of criminal accountability for such mass fraud could easily follow once again.

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • Because Wall Street and the NRA hold the keys to Congress and the White House. Any politician that dares erect obstacle to the goals of these two entities will have less chances of being elected, or reelected, than those who mess around with Social Security or MEDICARE.

    • highpckts

      Dominick – A pair of cement shoes would be made to size!!

  • If Congress had any GUTS, legislation would be PASSED that bars any Industry, or Lobbyists for those industries, that have caused massive harm to the economy, from contributing financially or legislatively to any political party or SUPER-PAC for a period of at least 10 years.




  • eliminate with extreme Prejudice

  • dslocum

    How Congress could have funded bailouts of the banks with NO contingencies is unbelievable!!!! Congress failed to do their job, as they have repeatedly in the years since.
    Lobbyists power is a national disgrace and only Congress can fix it – so it will never happen. Corporate America and Wall Street run our country. Our vote means very little these days.
    The voters are being cheated again!

    • alsoavietnamvet

      Like the article points out, “Most politicians in Washington, DC have careers to protect”. This is the very reason we need to put term limits on members of Congress!!! If you agree, contact any political activist you know, and find out how to get a term limit “action” started (I’m trying, in my home town).

  • Raji the Green Witch

    Like George Carlin said, It’s all one big fucking greedy club and WE are NOT in it. Yet WHY the fuck do some of us lend these assholes our support? Stand up for them? And even DEFEND them? They do NOT give a flying fuck about us and won’t even bat an eyelash if we ALL fall by the wayside and die. SCREW them! We do NOT need them, THEY need US! All we need to do is turn our backs on them for one damn week and they’ll be on their knees begging for our support. They’ll promise us ANYTHING, but you know what? We should NOT give it to them until THEY make good on ALL of their PAST promises FIRST!

  • onedonewong

    Of course neither Dodds Feank, waters or Rangle are in jail either even though thy personally profited from the banks going bust.
    And no one has gone to jai or been fired over fast and Furious, Bengazi either wonder why

  • If OWS had come before the Tea Party, it wouldn’t have changed anything. The conservative media did everything it could to prop up the Tea Party as being something of actual significance while doing everything they could to try and disregard OWS as a bunch of drug-using hippie Marxists.

    If OWS had come first, all they would have been to the conservative media is another letter in Glenn Beck’s “oligarhy” revelation along with ACORN. The only difference would have been that, instead of the Tea Party, they would have been called the “53-percenters party.”

  • bchrista

    Has anyone noiced that everytime there is a serious sensible discussion is being held among a group of pundits an asshole like onedonewong or Lana Ward always jumps in and interjects some asshole remarks unassociated with the subject, don’t that remind anyone of the tactics used by Republican Tea Baggers to shift the subject away to something else in order to confuse the issue that person must be a shill for the Repubs because they don’t want people to get their minds together and maybe decide to react and eventually rebel, this is particularly true of the throng of people they have kept under their spell because if these people ever wake I wouldn’t want to see the conquences. Hell hath no fury like that of the citizendrey gone balistics..

  • bchrista

    Adding to my previous post this Benghazi topic is getting a little old, frankly I wouldn’t keep bring it up because it could cause a landslide and the public might want answers as to why all the previous disasters were not thoroughly investigated as the Benghazi issue, when one considers that over 3000 Americans and local citizens were killed in the attacks on Consulates and Embassies over seas under previous Presidents, especially since it seems the Congress always with holds funding for security and then comes back later and blames everyone but themselves for the problem. There have been several high ranking indiviuals defending Bush after 9/11 but none has bothered to explain why Oama Bin Laden’s family just happened to be guests at Bush’s place at the time of the attacks when over 3000 American lives were lost, when the worst attack on American soil happened and why is it that Bush and his cronies helped sneak them out of the United States and no investigation was ever persued to find out what they knew about the attack. And our hero Senators Lindsley Graham, and John McCain totally tried to crusify a poor government employee, Susan Rice, for repeating information that she had been told to repeat. This smacks of partision politics. how about the three lousy assholes that questioned Hillerey Clinton on her knowledge of the Benghazi atack on the Consulate and they oversteppped their line of questioning treating it more like an inquisition than a need to seek answers to a problem, and Rand Paul’s question about Arms in Turkey completely having nothing to do with Benghazi and the nerve of this asshole stating that if he were President he would have fired her this bastard if he ran again I doubt that he could get elected to cleaning out latrines, the only reason he’s in office is becuse of his father a former Senater himself who was also an idiot