“The primary role of government is to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority.” – James Madison
So, here’s a very good question. Why isn’t Wall Street in jail?
Recently, Matt Taibbi wrote an article in Rolling Stone that sheds some light on this question–The Daily Dorkmonger covers his article, too. This past weekend, he also spoke with Amy Goodman from Democracy Now! You can read the transcript or watch the segment here.
First, I would like to refer back to the quote from James Madison at the beginning of this blog entry.
During his discussion with Ms. Goodman, Mr. Taibbi tells the story of how Gary Aguirre, an SEC investigator, was fired after he pushed the matter on requesting to talk to John Mack, a very powerful person on Wall Street with “powerful political connections,” about a case involving Credit Suisse First Boston–essentially, Mack was untouchable.
I think that really sums it up as to why Wall Street isn’t in jail. If the SEC is willing to work with the lawyers representing companies targeted for investigation so all that happens to them is a fine here and no admission of guilt there, which is tantamount to a slap on the wrist, then it speaks volumes about who the government works for.
Thus, Bernie Madoff went to jail because “the wrong people suffered,” i.e. his “victims” were the rich. If his victims had been “teachers and firemen and the usual suspects,” then all would have been fine.