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Wall Street Banksters Now Too-Big-To-Jail

By Jim Hightower
Author, Commentator, America’s Number One Populist

Some consider it un-American to like anything about those “namby-pamby” European nations, but still: Let’s hear it for the Swiss!

In a March referendum, the mild-mannered, pacifist-minded Swiss people rose up and hammered their bank executives who’ve been grabbing rip-off pay packages. Two-thirds of voters emphatically shouted “yes” to a maverick proposal requiring that shareholders be given the binding say on executive pay. Violators of the new rules would sacrifice up to six years of salary and face three years in jail. That’s hardly namby-pamby.

Indeed, it’s America’s lawmakers and regulators who’ve been squishy-soft on banksterism. None of the Wall Street titans who enriched themselves with rip-off pay packages while running financial scams that wrecked our economy have even been pursued by the law, much less put in jail. It’s no surprise, then, that they’ve gone right back to scamming and grabbing rip-off pay. Hardly a week goes by without another revelation of big-bank fraud, yet the banks just pay an inconsequential fine and the culprits skate free.

Forget too-big-to-fail, banks have become “too big to jail.” Our nation’s top prosecutor, Attorney General Eric Holder, recently conceded that finagling financial giants are being given a pass: “It does become difficult for us to prosecute them,” he testified, “when we are hit with indications that… if we do bring a criminal charge – it will have a negative impact on the national economy.”

Meanwhile, just four giants – Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo – put nearly $20 million into last year’s elections, mostly to back Republicans promising to weaken the few feeble restraints we now have on banker thievery. Our lawmakers and regulators want to coddle the big bankers – with such keystone kops overseeing them, why would any Wall Streeter even think of going straight?

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National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be – consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks. Twice elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Hightower believes that the true political spectrum is not right to left but top to bottom, and he has become a leading national voice for the 80 percent of the public who no longer find themselves within shouting distance of the Washington and Wall Street powers at the top. He publishes a populist political newsletter, “The Hightower Lowdown.” He is a New York Times best-selling author, and has written seven books including, Thieves In High Places: They’ve Stolen Our Country And It’s Time To Take It Back; If the Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates; and There’s Nothing In the Middle Of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos. His newspaper column is distributed nationally by Creators Syndicate.

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This piece was first published on Jim Hightower’s website.

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