almost has a lock on the Fed Chair position.
The trial balloon, it seems, has floated: Albert Hunt, today, puts Larry Summers’s chances of getting nominated as Fed Chair at 65%, saying that he has the support of just about everybody in the Obama administration not named Valerie Jarrett.
Obama continues to play the Lucy role, and we continue to be Charlie Brown. (See previous post.) Yes, I got my hopes up -- again -- when the media announced that there would be serious investigations of mortgage fraud on the part of B of A and Chase. But as Matt Taibbi
notes, any actions will probably result in nothing more than fines, which the banks will simply consider the price of doing business.
But to me, these investigations will be meaningless unless one of two things happens, once they reach the inevitable stage of concluding painstakingly-crafted settlements with the inevitable teams of high-priced lawyers for the offending firms:
1) Someone goes to jail.
2) The company is ordered to break itself up into smaller pieces.
As to point one, here's the thing. If criminal laws were violated, then the government certainly has discretion to exercise mercy and seek non-criminal sanctions against the individuals responsible. But they can really only do that and not be total hypocrites if they also simultaneously implement leniency programs for ordinary street criminals at the same time.
Just yesterday, for instance, a federal judge in Mississippi handed down a six-month sentence to a man and ordered him to pay $8,282 in restitution for food stamp fraud – one Stanley Jones apparently lied in an application about whether or not anyone in his household had ever been convicted of a felony drug charge when he applied for food stamps.
Meanwhile, S.E.C. target Fab Tourre – the Goldman exec who joked about selling bad bonds to "widows and orphans" – will not do a day in jail for his part in a fraud that caused two banks in Europe to lose over a billion dollars. And Fab's restitution will range from $30,000 to $780,000, depending upon how much judge Katherine Forrest decides to ding him for each of his six counts of civil fraud.
I haven't checked recently. Is the right-wing media machine still droning on about what a socialist
Barack Obama supposedly is?