Is Matt Taibbi the only real investigative journalist left in America? It isn’t like there isn’t plenty to investigate. In another of his brilliant but deeply disturbing articles, Taibbi shows how Wall Street bankers steal Billions of dollars, and even when caught red handed face essentially no penalties at all. At worse, they receive a joke of a fine — far less than the money they stole — which they then pay using shareholder money instead of their own.
How do they get away with this? How about because the SEC and Justice department lawyers are often former executives of the very companies they are supposed to be investigating. Or that when a government auditor tries to just investigate (not even prosecute) wrongdoing, they are summarily fired. Even when the bankers are openly bragging about their rip-offs.
This is not a partisan issue. Even Obama is deeply in bed with Wall Street — Goldman Sachs one his top private campaign contributor, his economic transition team was headed by a Citigroup executive, and an executive of JP Morgan Chase is his new chief of staff. How likely is someone to go after criminal activity at Chase when they own $7.7 million in Chase stock?
In his final paragraph, Taibbi sums up the issue that to me is of paramount importance. When the system is blatantly tilted in favor of the rich and powerful then “this whole American Dream thing recedes even further from reality”. When success is defined more by cronyism instead of good old ideas and hard work, then everyone suffers.
Unfortunately, I don’t expect the corporate-owned, profit-driven mainstream media — Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, or even Keith Olbermann — to give much attention to this story.
UPDATE: Cenk Uygur has a summary of the whole mess, including an interview with Matt Taibbi: