Schechter's perceptive pieces have impressed me in the past and this one is a standout. He examines each of the important factors behind the financial crisis and lays everything out in a most accessible style.
Oh and Danny Schechter levels some scathing criticism at the Progressive community here at D-Kos:
Will banksters get away with it?
Wall Street crime goes deeper: The system means prosecutors fail to jail corporate criminals.
Hats off to Matt Taibbi for staying on the Wall Street crime beat, asking in his most recent report in Rolling Stone: "Why Isn't Wall Street in Jail?"
"Financial crooks," he argues, "brought down the world's economy — but the feds are doing more to protect them than to prosecute them."
True enough, but that’s only part of the story. The Daily Kos called his investigation a "depressing read" perhaps because it suggests that the Obama Administration is not doing what it should to reign in financial crime. Many of the lawyers he calls on to act come from big corporate law firms and buy into their worldview.
Kos should be more depressed by the failure of the progressive community to focus on these issues, and not pressing the government to do the right thing.
There is much more to this story. It's also more about institutions than individuals, more about a captured system that enables and covers up crime and, then, deflects attention away from the deeper problem.
Ouch! What Schechter seems to be suggesting is that while we here at D-Kos and the Netroots were obsessing about every tactical twist and turn, and all the complex policy implications from every facet of health care reform, the corpulent pigs that caused the the financial crisis on Wall Street trotted back into their penthouse swine suites, and were allowed to remain aloof from the economic carnage going on beneath them, that they did so much to cause.
Back to Schechter's examination of the factors driving the country into the 2008 financial crisis that resulted in the ongoing economic catastrophe.
After hundreds of bankers were jailed in the wake of the Savings and Loan crisis, financial fraudsters pushed for weakened regulations, guaranteeing that their colleagues wouldn't be jailed in when the next crisis hit.
Here is a sampling of the ten problems that Schecter identified.
First, many of those who might be charged with financial crimes and fraud invested in lobbying and political donations to insure that tough regulations and enforcement were neutered before the housing bubble they promoted took off.
What was once illegal soon became "legal".
Third, the industry promulgated economic theories and ideologies that won the backing of the economics profession which largely did not see the crisis coming, making those who favored a crackdown on fraud appear unfashionable and out of date.
Fourth, prominent members of the financial services industry were appointed to top positions in the government agencies that should have cracked down on financial crime, but instead looked the other way.
For number two and numbers five through eight you'll have to read Schechter incisive piece.
Ninth, With the exception of softball inquiries by a financial crisis inquiry commission, there has been no intensive investigations in the United States even like the tepid 9/11 Commission.
The case for criminality has still not achieved critical mass as an issue to become a dominant explanation for why the economy collapsed. In fact, it is still being sneered at or ignored.
Finally, tenth, a big problem in my countdown, are the progressive critics of the crisis who also largely ignore criminality as a key factor and possible focus for an organizing effort.
They treat the crisis as if they are at a financial seminar at Harvard, focusing on the complexities of derivatives, credit default swaps and structured financial products in language that ordinary people rarely can penetrate. They argue that banks should not be too big to fail, but rarely they are not too big to jail.
Few progressive activist groups stress the immorality of these practices, much less their criminality after all these years! There is little active solidarity even in the progressive community with the newly homeless or jobless.
Where is the active empathy, compassion and the caring for the victims of the financial crimes?
The victims are all around us, isolated, un-noticed, almost invisible in the media. In the 1930 unions and organizations for the unemployed sprang up. We need to help foster that kind of movement again.
Why have the unions and leftist groups been mostly silent on these issues?
We've been remiss in perusing justice as vigorously as we should have. We need to do more to reach out to help the Americans who were hurt the most. It still can be done. We must work to raise the profile of Wall Street's criminality and culpability for the daunting economic hardships so many Americans still face.