Similar to how the Obama administration simply forgave and forgot war crimes and illegal wiretapping during the Bush administration, the Obama administration offered the same type of amnesty for banks and bankers who had bitten off more than they could chew in 2008. Society’s financial elites were not only vested with immunity for their fraud, but prospered as a result of it, even as ordinary people today continue to suffer the effects of that crisis.
PBS’ Frontline once broadcasted a one-hour report on one of the greatest and most shameful failings of the Obama administration: the lack of even a single arrest or prosecution of any senior Wall Street banker for the systemic fraud that caused the 2008 financial crisis. This was no accident, and for a comparison with a country who did not protect their bankers: Iceland held their banks responsible for their risks and losses and is the ONLY nation to fully repay all their debts from the 2008 crisis.
Obama justice officials shielded these Wall Street oligarchs (who, for the record, overwhelmingly supported Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign) as they simultaneously prosecuted and imprisoned powerless Americans for far more trivial transgressions, including protesting the unfair benefits given to the bankers and financiers. As Harvard law professor Larry Lessig put it 2 weeks ago when expressing anger over the persecution of Aaron Swartz: “we live in a world where the architects of the financial crisis regularly dine at the White House.” If you’re interested, Lessig also has some other fine words about the American democracy.
This corruption isn’t even a secret: lifelong Wall Street defender Alan Greenspan, the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, said in Congressional testimony that “a lot of that stuff was just plain fraud.” We now find ourselves almost 8 years later, and there has still been no change to seen in terms of financial regulation or even holding white-collar criminals responsible for their behavior.
In response to the DOJ’s excuse that these types criminal cases are too hard to win, numerous experts including senators, top Capitlor Hill staffers, and former DOJ prosecutors emphasized the key point: Obama officials never even tried. The real mystery in all of this is that it has not led to greater social unrest, although I guess the question might be answered with two words: “police state.”