When it comes to the financial crisis and scams, it is a critical yet exquisitely simple question. Folks in Washington and on Wall Street for that matter a lot in the media, would have you believe that the answer is complicated; difficult to figure out. But history shows us otherwise.
During the savings and loans scandals of the 1980s and ’90s, half of the country’s savings and loan associations went bust, the government stepping into to the of $79 billion and thousands ended up behind bars. Between 1990 and 1995, 1,852 officials were prosecuted. More than half of them jailed. On top of that, more than 2,500 bankers were sent to the slammer.
Now, fast forward to any of the financial crimes against the American people in the past decade. In 2003 Freddy Mac was caught by a billion. In 2006, AIG caught in the accounting scandal that indirectly lead to its 2008 demise. Any executives arrested for that? Nope.
Last year, Goldman Sachs caught defrauding investors with bogus mortgages. No jail time. And as for the grand-daddy of them all, the crisis that cost us trillions, so far, nada. If it wasn’t true, you wouldn’t believe it, but there it is and for some of that research, we are indebted to our friend, Matt Taibbi, who explores this in his new article. With that said, there may be a bit of hopeful news today for those of you who believe in justice and fairness. The new chair of the House Oversight Committee, Darrell Issa, has issued his first subpoena. It orders Bank of America to hand over documents about a home loan program called Countrywide VIP. The committee investigating whether Countrywide used sweetheart mortgages in order to buy key friends; maybe a bank regulator, maybe the chair of the Senate Banking Committee. People in the government with power, getting special deals on financing for luxury homes. kind of sounds like Bahrain, right? Not really. joining us now, Republican Congressman from California, Darrell Issa.