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Paul Krugman In Playboy Interview: 'People Should Be In Jail' Because Of Financial Crisis

Paul Krugman Playboy

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 02/17/2012 11:30 am Updated: 02/17/2012 11:30 am

We know, you just bought that copy of Playboy for the Paul Krugman interview.

The Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist may not be center-fold material (or maybe you're into that middle-aged bearded wonky economist sort of thing? We're not judging), but he's using the iconic magazine to discuss his views on the sexiest of topics, you guessed it: the financial crisis. (Read the full Playboy interview here, by the way.)

"It's hard for me to believe there were no crimes," Krugman told Playboy. "Given the scale of [the financial crisis], given how many corners were being cut, some people must have violated laws. I think people should be in jail."

Krugman's sentiment echos other critics who say that those responsible for bringing the U.S. to the brink of financial collapse aren't being held accountable for the havoc they wreaked. Objectively speaking, federal prosecution of financial fraud fell to a 20-year low in 2011, according to a report released in November. The Occupy Wall Street movement, which Krugman said in the interview has "done a great service," has highlighted these concerns and as public anger grows government agencies have taken some action.

Could the reckoning be upon us? The Securities and Exchange Commission may file a lawsuit against some of the nation's biggest banks over whether the banks knew that they were selling bonds backed by shoddy mortgage loans in the lead up to the financial crisis, according to a Wall Street Journal report earlier this month.

In addition, the Justice Department is going to bring charges against four Credit Suisse traders, alleging that they committed fraud four years ago. But that's an action that some say isn't prosecuting those at the heart of the problem.

And though 49 states attorneys general and the Obama administration have reached a $25 billion settlement with the nation's largest lenders over accusations of systematic mortgage fraud, the banks don’t have to admit wrongdoing as part of the deal.

Despite anger from lawmakers and ordinary Americans, some don't think that all banks should be blamed equally for the financial meltdown. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon called "blanket blame of all banks" a "form of discrimination" in an interview with Fox News last month.

Krugman isn't buying it.

"Dimon may be a wonderful, warm human being, but people like him are part of the problem," he told Playboy.

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