The SEC faced the choice: litigate with Citigroup, the big, powerful, well-connected Wall Street bank, or litigate with a single Federal District Judge who can't actually defend himself.
Wall Street banks in general are laying off more and more people given the headwinds of the financial sector. But that is the point. How many of the laid off could have been kept on the payroll with just a portion of Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit's paycheck?
This morning Barack Obama channeled one of American history's truly transformative figures by visiting the tiny Kansas town where Teddy Roosevelt gave his "New Nationalism" speech over a century ago.
The ruling of Judge Rakoff has caused consternation on Wall Street.
Hopefully the next time a bank commits a crime, the guys who fell asleep at the wheel won't have their defense paid for out of your retirement account. We'll only see improvements in banks when directors are liable.
You can believe in the free market, or you can believe in today's Wall Street. But you can't do both.
The failure of the SEC or any other government agency to hold the banks accountable provides the essential justification for citizen action of the sort the Occupy movement has offered.
As we ring out what has been a pretty lousy year for most of us, Wall Streeters are all aglow -- thoughts turning to sugar-plum fairies dancing in their brains, bearing bundles of spring bonuses.
In light of the financial meltdown, many thought that, finally, the Wall Street cop -- the SEC -- was back on the beat. Sadly, the agency's recent settlement with Citigroup makes it look like they are still more interested in appearing tough than being tough.
Yes, big banks are a big part of capitalism. But OWS and the Tea Party both see that what the big banks are doing on the backs of the taxpayer is not capitalism. It's a Frankenstein's monster-version of capitalism masquerading as free enterprise.
With a level-funded budget of $205 million, there is simply no way the CFTC can do their old job, never mind all their new financial reform responsibilities.
Forget relying on the federal government to hold the Wall Street swindlers accountable. Indeed, the Obama administration has been involved in negotiating a deal with state attorneys general to settle their complaints with the banks for a pittance of compensation for the victims.
Why has Robert Rubin, the onetime treasury secretary who went on to become Citigroup chairman during the time of the corporation's financial shenanigans, never been held accountable for this and other deep damage done to the U.S. economy on his watch?
If you are homeless and poor, and steal the equivalent of the cost of bag of groceries to feed yourself and your family, you could spend a decade and a half in prison. This is worthy of Wall Street protests.
The president says he understands the frustration behind the Occupy Wall Street movement. That's nice. But the anger will keep growing as long as the government keeps handing out free passes instead of perp walks to criminal bankers.
Revenue doesn't just materialize out of thin air: people provide it. So, if you don't like the way a bank does business, don't do business with them at all, and don't limit your message to your checking account.