I’m trying to remember the last time a member of society’s elite or one of industry’s captains was convicted and sentenced to prison and actually did the time. I mean a lot of people, some elected and many who finance elections always seem to manage to stay out of jail and keep their stuff while most Americans have to sell everything they own just to defend their innocence. Candidly, it seems that our government and industry are one big racketeering enterprise and Americans are expected to accept victimization as a way of life from economic boom to bust.
In the 80’s insider trading got Ivan Boesky and junk bonds took out Michael Milken. The 2001 Enron scandal provided convictions for CFO Andrew Fastow, CEO Jeff Skilling and the founder and now rumored to be dead Enron founder Ken Lay. Oh, but his conviction was vacated because he died before sentencing. Oh, brother. And WorldCom’s destruction took down a few more.
A few years ago Bernie Madoff the former non-executive chairman of the NASDAQ stock market and lion of Wall Street who was allowed to operate for close to 40 years with impunity received a hefty prison sentence. You remember Bernie, the guy who stole $65 billion on paper that turned out to be $18 billion of rich people’s money.
However, I’m trying to remember the last time one of the Masters of the Universe actually went to prison for breaking the laws and violating securities statutes that caused the greatest economic disaster since the Great Depression. More importantly I haven’t heard much in the way of forthcoming criminal charges against anyone responsible for tanking a stock market and destroying the greatest economy in the world. It’s been four years and not a peep; just Dodd/Frank legislation. Even former New Jersey Governor John Corzine can’t remember, but then again he can’t remember how or where $1.6 billion dollars of MF Global’s customer money went when he was at the helm. It doesn’t surprise me. Administration after administration, one industry giant after another, and no one goes to prison.
How many families have been destroyed by Pharmaceutical manufacturers love for understating the addictive nature of prescribed medication like opiates? How many Americans have been used as lab rats with little recourse or remedy? Yet the people we pay to protect us from these purposeful and criminal acts give the perpetrator’s a pass and a fine. Everywhere we look the top cops of regulatory agencies appointed by our government turn a blind eye and Americans foot the bill. Too many people with overwhelming conflicts of interest are put in charge of making sure the law is followed and it is killing us. For the love of Pete they didn’t even kick Charles Rangel, the former chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, out of the Congress for tax evasion. And he writes the tax law.
Geithner, Bernanke, Sibelius, Shapiro all vetted and approved by Senators worth millions who to this day are allowed to use inside information to invest and grow their wealth and powerbase. Senators (both Republican and Democrat) receiving tens of millions of dollars in campaign contributions from industries they regulate. If this isn’t the definition of racketeering and organized crime I don’t know what is.
Politicians and their benefactors need to be stopped. The only remedy for illegal acts is a stiff and long prison sentence. Confiscation of bad actor’s assets (as is normally done in racketeering and organized crime cases) would go a long way to sending a message to those who burn American citizens. After all the government does it to us all the time. No reason why corrupt politicians families should benefit from illegal acts. It might even prevent the growing of our so-called political dynasties that have caused more destruction than benefit. But then again I live in a country that re-elected Marion Barry.
Somebody needs to go to prison and quick. I don’t care if it guts our government to the bone. Perhaps that should be the new focus in our attempts to shrink government. Lock up the criminals and confiscate their wealth. I bet you that we could balance the budget and might even make a dent in the debt. Talk about fiscal responsibility.