What happens when Chicken Little is right? I think that might be the issue of the coming decade as the banking industry, here and around the world, long described as deeply corrupt, begins dropping bits of our blue heaven on our heads. It’s being called “the largest consumer (or market) fraud in history.” Usually you have to take the hyperbole with some salt, but this really is the biggest market and consumer fraud in history. Madoff”s 30 (or 50) billion is nothing compared to these guys.
The financial sector first brought down the U.S. economy, and then Europe (Iceland led the way, oddly) and in doing so they gave the right-wing an invaluable tool (the so-called debt or deficit crisis) to try to reverse a century of political progress in everything from health care to education to police forces. Only a few of the financial criminals have been prosecuted and the few punishments that were doled out were paid by institutions and not people. The people left with their pockets full.
Now, things seem to be shifting, or so we can hope, as the next shoe drops and more evidence emerges of the sheer, breathtaking scale of the corruption (“U.S. Is Building Criminal Cases in Rate-Fixing“). Globalization and deregulation really made crime pay. The London interbank offered rate scandal (aka LIBOR) is, according to reports, only the tip of the iceberg. Here’s the interesting thing : is this a problem finally big enough to spur anti-capitalist debate in time for the election? Papa Mitt hopes not.