Saturday, November 13, 2010

It can't be that bad: the prequel

Matt Taibbi has apparently been chronicling the descent of the U.S. into a third-world economy for some time now. Here's a story he did last April about how the big banks snookered Jefferson County, Alabama into taking on more debt than they could afford to pay with the net result that the county is now bankrupt.

Once you ... understand what took place in Jefferson County, there's really no room left for illusions. We live in a gangster state, and our days of laughing at other countries are over. It's our turn to get laughed at. In Birmingham, lots of people have gone to jail for the crime: More than 20 local officials and businessmen have been convicted of corruption in federal court. Last October ... Birmingham's mayor was convicted of fraud and money-laundering for taking bribes funneled to him by Wall Street bankers — everything from Rolex watches to Ferragamo suits to cash. But those who greenlighted the bribes and profited most from the scam remain largely untouched.


That such a blatant violation of anti-trust laws took place and neither JP Morgan nor Goldman have been prosecuted for it is yet another mystery of the current financial crisis. "This is an open-and-shut case of anti-competitive behavior," says Taylor, the former regulator.

1 comment:

Jared said...

This article made me almost physically ill. The banks+courts make Bernie Madoff look like a saint.