How Big Is a $16 Billion Bank Fraud Settlement, Really?

I believe that until we see upper management in Wall Street and its banks get criminally charged, the deterrent to engage in fraudulent behavior is minimal at best. There once was a time when bank executives would have never even thought to engage in such criminal actions because they themselves were heavily invested in the banks and taking these types of risk was simply not done. Since bankers no longer have any personal responsibility attached to their job; it makes it so easy to engage in risky and sketchy behavior. I remember Senator Warren saying that we need to make banking boring again, we need to reinstate Glass-Steagal and we need to require banks to restock their reserves to much healthier levels so that they can withstand any bubble or risky investments. Back in the early 1980’s, I learned in my high school business management class that banks offered interest on your savings accounts as a way to pay your for access to your money so that they can use it as small loans during their banking activities. Nowadays, they do not offer the customer anything of the sort, they take and take by way of service charges, overdraft fees, fees for this, they have discovered a whole new profit stream and the customer has no other recourse other then going to either small banks or credit unions. It is illuminating that the only one to go to prison was Bernie Madoff and that is because he swindled wealthy people. Every other bank executive who separated thousands upon thousands of their hard earned money through their reckless financial behaviors were let off the hook. I think the insult that was added to the injury is that none of these banks were made to admit any criminal wrongdoing; only financial settlements without admission of wrongdoing, it isn’t right. Our recovery took so much longer, not only because the Republican Party stood in the way, but also because the housing market became America’s money pit and getting out from under that avalanche of debt and lost wealth is practically impossible in a jobless recovery. There were so many mistakes made during this recovery period which should have never been made given that we had many lessons landed down to us from the Great Depression. Unfortunately for the average person, those lessons were clearly meant to be used to help the average person, not the wealthy or Wall Street, that is why those lessons were blatantly ignored, it wouldn’t have served the monied classes.


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