Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wall Street vs. OWS: Do the crime and don't do the time

What’s the score?  Let’s go to the videotape:

In one corner, thousands of Occupy demonstrators evicted, pepper sprayed, violently yanked, penned like animals, and arrested.

In the other corner, there’s the FIRE (financial, insurance & real estate) sector.  Recent example: MF Global hedge fund racing to bankruptcy in the last week of October.  Nothing to see here.  Move along.  No arrests, no convictions, no perp walks.  Just massive looting.  It couldn’t keep its hands off all that luscious customer money.

First $600 million of customer money was missing.  Now as much as $1.2 billion may be gone.  What’s a few 100 millions between newly minted enemies?  It seems that MF Global is guilty of sloppy bookkeeping.

The FBI and federal prosecutors are mobilized and they have an answer.  How does the NY Times put it?:

[Their] inquiries have increasingly homed in on the theory that much of the customer money had left the firm.

That sounds like customer greenbacks sprouted legs and arms, sauntered into the street and hailed a cab.

That money left and it ain’t coming back:

No one at MF Global, including its former chief executive, Mr. Corzine, has been accused of wrongdoing.

You know what’s coming back?  History, in the form of repeating itself.  Despite the obvious mountains of evidence that Wall Street caused the 2008 economic collapse that’s still playing out as a massive redistribution of wealth from the bottom to the top, no one was held accountable:

The fallout from the collapse of MF Global has renewed calls for tougher regulation of the futures industry, which has long relied on the principle that customer money is always safe.

In other words, trust the fox to guard the hen house.  Any regulator (think Elizabeth Warren) or politician (think Dodd-Frank) who remotely hints at oversight is crushed in an extortionate vise.

Days before its Chapter 11 filing…MF Global was taking what amounted to free loans from its clients.

No one at MF Global is charged with any crime.  Sloppy bookkeeping.  The customer money marched out the door.  If you park your money on Wall Street, you’re a sucker.

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