Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bernie Sanders: Jail Wall Street CEO's

On October 6th, Bernie Sanders said this:
“It is an obscenity that people in this country are getting arrested at near record rates for smoking marijuana, but not one Wall Street CEO has been prosecuted for triggering the Great Recession in 2008. Millions of Americans lost their jobs, homes, life savings and ability to send their kids to college because of the greed on Wall Street. We can no longer tolerate a criminal justice system that treats Wall Street executives as too big to jail when their actions have ruined the lives of so many Americans.”
Simply, the reason that no Wall Street CEO was ever charged with a single crime during the financial crisis, was that two Democratic-controlled Congresses and two Democratic Presidents -- Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton -- were responsible for the housing bubble and the fact that banking institutions were engaging in investment activities by bundling loans and selling them on Wall Street. A fact that the Obama Administration didn't want made public with a series of federal trials. 

In 1977, Congress passed a bill called the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA); which President Carter signed into law. That law "encouraged" any banking institution receiving Federal Depositors Insurance to provide increased loan activity to low income neighborhoods in the area they served. In other words, banks were forced to relax their lending requirements and take on more risk by lending to lower income families.  Banking institutions not in compliance could lose FDIC and be barred from any expansion of their operations.

Enforcement was lax until Bill Clinton became President in 1993.  His administration heavily cracked down on banks and expanded the mandate to increase the percentage of low income families being served by the law. Thus, they were seriously forced to take on more risk and severely reduce lending requirements.  This resulted in people getting  loans that never should have. In the following video, Clinton brags about the fact that since 1977, 85+% of the funding in low income neighborhoods had come after his 5 years in office:

Then, too, Clinton also signed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act which repealed those parts of the 1933 Glass-Stegall law which had prohibited investment banking.  Therefore, banks got the green light to use Wall Street to bundle mortgages and sell them in the stock market in order to shield themselves from the increased loan risk from low income families.

Basically, it was the federal government that created the financial mess that occurred just 6 years after Clinton left office.  And, any CEO being charged with some kind of fiduciary malfeasance -- as Bernie Sanders has suggested -- would have easily escaped  any fines or prison time because of  "the devil made me do it" defense; where the devil is really President Clinton.

So Bernie, maybe it is Bill Clinton who needs to be behind bars; and not some Wall Street CEO.


Bernie Sanders wants Wall Street execs jailed for 2008 financial crisis:

A Brief Description of CRA:

Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act:

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