Phil Angelides Discusses America's Dual Justice System: One For Wall Street And One For Everyone Else

Tyler Durden's picture

Lisa Murphy of Bloomberg interviewed the chairman of the now defunct FCIC, Phil Angelides to discuss the findings presented yesterday by Carl Levin. The topic was the "greased pig" that is Wall Street. The conclusion is that America now has a dual justice system: "One for ordinary people and then one for people with money and enormous wealth and power." As for crime deterrents, considering that to this day not one person has gone to prison, even an idiot can foresee what Angelides has to say on this issue: "To the extent laws were broken, we need deterrents. If someone robs a
7-11, they took $500 and they were able to settle the next day for $50
and no admission of wrongdoing, they'd knock over that 7-11 again.
And
we've seen time after time where people and firms have made tens, one
hundreds, billions of dollars. They've settled charges for pennies on
the dollar. At Citigroup for example they represented that they had $13
billion of subprime mortgage exposure when they really had $55 billion.
The penalty to the chief financial officer who made $19 million that
year, 2007, was $100,000. Goldman was fined $500 million but the date
they settled their stock moved up $2 billion. There's been no real
consequence." Too bad there is no acknowledgment that it is people like Angelides who through their corrupt behavior over the years allowed Wall Street to singlehandedly usurp the democratic process and replace it with that of a fascist corporatocracy. But that's irrelevant: at some point, sooner or later, the American peasantry will snap. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not the day after the Apple borg hypnosis ends, and the fascination with American Idol expires, but at some point thereafter, absolutely. And the primary reason will be the glaring trampling of the tenets contained in both the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, by the kleptocratic "superclass." Then what happens when the billions of ones and zeros held in some bank vault and imparting some ephemeral monetary greatness to these people, finally is exposed for the sham it is, and they have nothing to protect them from the hordes of hungry, angry and very well armed? We can only hope they will be able to bribe their way to the top in that world order as well as they can in the current one. Somehow we doubt it.

Highlights from the Angelides interview:

I think there's a great concern in this country on two fronts. One is there's a question here, do we have a dual justice system? One for ordinary people and then one for people with money and enormous wealth and power. Secondly, we need deterrents. To the extent laws were broken, we need deterrents. If someone robs a 7-11, they took $500 and they were able to settle the next day for $50 and no admission of wrongdoing, they'd knock over that 7-11 again. And we've seen time after time where people and firms have made tens, one hundreds, billions of dollars. They've settled charges for pennies on the dollar. At Citigroup for example they represented that they had $13 billion of subprime mortgage exposure when they really had $55 billion. The penalty to the chief financial officer who made $19 million that year, 2007, was $100,000. Goldman was fined $500 million but the date they settled their stock moved up $2 billion. There's been no real consequence.
    
Well I think there's two things here. Number one is it's up to the prosecutors to do thorough investigations. That's what we should expect. We don't want hangmen justice. We don't want vengeance, but we want thorough investigations. And if people crossed a line they ought to be prosecuted. But there were a lot of people who bellied up to the line and conducted themselves in a way without the highest standards of ethics or moral conduct that hurt the economy badly.

And I think one of the things that's most troubling to people is there seems to be very little relationship between who drove this crisis, the big financial institutions, the CEOs, regulators who didn't do their job, and the people who are paying the price, which are millions of people who have lost their jobs, lost their homes, lost their life savings.
    
But what we're seeing is from the House of Representatives, the new Republican-controlled House of Representatives, efforts to cut the budget of the Securities and Exchange Commission, cut the budget of the Commodities Future Trading Commission, a real push back on reform in the wake of this devastation. And I think that is very dangerous.
    
You also need to attract talent. Look, Wall Street is nimble, it's quick, it's smart. It's a little bit like a greased pig.  They move fast, they're hard to catch. We need to do a better job of recruiting people of talent into the public sector, paying them, making sure we have regulators who can frankly match up with Wall Street.
 
h/t MM