Wednesday, October 22, 2008

There Were Those Who Didn't Think Wall Street Affected Them

I wonder if that's the case now. Companies are closing down and people are losing their jobs and homes. I hate to be overly dramatic, but I agree with a lot of what I read that indicates we haven't seen anything close to the worst of it yet. We should all be able to sue the executives of those ratings agencies and banks for pain and suffering. This event is a great example of how white collar crime is not harmless. I don't care what anyone says, a crime has been committed. It wasn't a loophole or misunderstanding. The people involved had a legal duty not to do what they did.

I'm in the middle of reading about Michael Short, in an old copy of The Washington Post Magazine someone gave me. I've always been interested in how the American justice system is essentially corrupt in its application. Most Americans only get the justice they can afford. Short is no different and got sentenced to 15 years for a crack dealing violation. His sentence was commuted by President Bush after all but about six months had been served. Anyone who's even been close to a real jail knows it's no fun for even a night. Anyone whose been around certain neighborhoods knows that a lot of those guys doing hard time for drugs are far less harmful to society than those jerks at S&P joking about rating a deal even if it were structured by a cow.

The people involved in the credit ratings agency activity that rated junk mortgage bonds as AAA are responsible for bringing the world to its knees, some governments could very well fall before this is over. Wall Street bank executives want to call this an unfortunate incident and just keep the taxpayer money flowing. 401(k)s and some money market funds got wiped out. Pension funds and even money market funds are at risk or already gone. I am not anti-wealth. I think a lot of us know or have met people who are defined as wealthy. The ones I've met are a lot easier to get along with than some other people I could name, even in my own family.

However, money's not everything and the people from the banks to the ratings agencies, anyone who had a hand in it, should have their names published nationwide and fined or jailed for the maximum penalty allowed by law. Sy Harding wrote on his 10/22/08 blog that now was not the time to assign blame. I strongly disagree. I think we have to assign blame.
Also: We don't need all these Congressional and regulatory investigations right now looking into how this all happened, pointing blame, politicians all over the media after publicity. The investigations can come later. Doing so now is only adding to the gloom and uncertainty on Main Street, and cannot accomplish anything right now. Instead concentrate on getting the system out of the mess, and preventing more panic. Then go back later and place blame.
Confidence will not return until the public is convinced that justice means more in American than how fat someone's wallet is, or how many politicians they have bought. Some of the investigations will take time, but others can be faster. As reported on :

The ratings agencies betrayed our trust, says an irate Jon Najarian on CNBC’s Closing Bell. In order to amend the broken trust we need to get some skins on the wall.
Skins on the wall! I wonder if they are accepting volunteers for processing those hides.

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