Sunday, February 17, 2013

Elizabeth Warren off to a great start

Much to their chagrin and after much lobbying against, freshman Senator Warren was appointed to the banking committee. And after participating in her first committee hearing we can see why. She asked a simple question of banking regulators: "When was the last time you took a Wall Street bank to trial?" And not one of them could answer the question. It was as if they were not used to such questions. Because they weren't. To date no one has dared to ask such a simple yet key question, for knowing the answer the legislators didn't want to embarrass not only their benefactors but themselves.

Of course the regulators hemmed and hawed and made excuses, saying they had achieved settlements, sometimes rather large. But quite frankly those settlements were equivalent to a few days worth of operating expenses compared to the exponential amounts they wracked in from their criminal activities. Not to mention that not one of the bankers in the '08 meltdown were criminally prosecuted. Not one. 

Meanwhile the little guy goes to criminal trial all the time. Warren: "There are district attorneys and United States attorneys out there every day squeezing ordinary citizens on sometimes very thin grounds and taking them to trial in order to make an example, as they put it. I'm really concerned that 'too big to fail' has become 'too big for trial.'" One recent example being Aaron Scwartz, whose harm to society was minimal compared to that of the banking industry, yet he simply had to be made an example of.

Warren's attitude is the right one to bring justice not only to the banking industry but to the elected and appointed officials that are supposed to regulate them instead of catering to them. I hope her election and participation is a sign that we are moving forward in this regard and that others like her are to follow in short order.

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