Looking over the consolidation of the financial services industry you see a distressing pattern. Find one company that brings together a lot of decently run and profitable companies under one roof. Then set up one subsidiary which sells a long run of risky and substantially fraudulent ‘financial products’ which sucks the entire conglomerated company to the brink of bankruptcy … or rather into bankruptcy, but is held just on the brink by permanent infusions of taxpayer funds, much of which is siphoned off into bonuses to keep the prized talent at the bankrupt company from leaving and going to other de facto bankrupt companies.
Another point. The more I learn what got a lot of these companies into trouble, foolish bets or excessive risk taking don’t really capture what we’re talking about. A lot of this stuff just amounts to fraud. So where are the criminal investigations. Not just hassling CEOs up on Capitol Hill, which is fine. But accountability before the law for the people who ruined the economy? There may be some short term prudential argument for not getting distracted while we’re in crisis mode. But I’m not sure I buy that. I lot of this was simply criminal.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.