Monday, April 5, 2010

The crimes of capitalism go unpunished

image courtesy of Centre for Media and Democracy

Two excellent pieces by Mary Bottari on the website of the Centre for Media and Democracy about the crimes of the American capitalist corporate elite.

In one piece Bottari reports that the real cost of taxpayer bailouts of US financial corporations is much greater than reported and totals $4.6 trillion- yes, that is $4.6 trillion gifted by the US public to the doyens of free market capitalism.
Bottari writes:
The Centre for Media and Democracy (CMD) concludes that multiple federal agencies have disbursed $4.6 trillion dollars in supporting the financial sector since the meltdown in 2007-2008. Of that, $2 trillion is still outstanding. Our tally shows that the Federal Reserve is the real source of the bailout funds. CMD’s assessment demonstrates that while the press has focused its attention on the $700 billion TARP bill passed by Congress, the Federal Reserve has provided by far the bulk of the funding for the bailout in the form of loans amounting to $3.8 trillion.
In a second piece Bottari highlights the lack of action by American authorities in investigating and prosecuting the financial crimes committed by America's largest financial corporations. Not one person from a financial institution has been imprisoned for their crimes (the exception is the Ponzi scheme king Bernard Madoff) :
"Eighteen months after the collapse of the financial system, not one Wall St Titan has joined the Ponzi king in the federal pen.............. Apparently no one at the Department of Justice or the FBI really cares about the greatest white-collar crime wave in the history of the world -- even if it did rob average American of some $14 trillion dollars in lost wages, savings, and housing wealth. After eighteen months, it is difficult to point to one CEO from a major Wall Street bank, hedge fund, or fraudulent mortgage company who is behind bars".
The website BanksterUSA also developed by the Centre for Media and Democracy is a great source of information.

When it comes to investigating and prosecuting corporate crime and criminality, particularly financial crime and fraud, the situation is little different here in Australia. Despite two decades of corporate collapses and pervasive financial fraud, usually the result of corporate criminality, there is little evidence in this country that the crimes of the rich and powerful corporate elite are accorded anywhere the same priority as ordinary street crimes.

No comments: