Time to really focus on the banks

July 9, 2010 | By | Reply More

At The New Republic, James K. Galbraith argues that “The financial crisis in America isn’t over. It’s ongoing, it remains unresolved, and it stands in the way of full economic recovery.”

To restore the rule of law means first a rigorous audit of the banks and of the Federal Reserve. This means investigations—Representative Marcy Kaptur has proposed adding a thousand FBI agents to this task. It means criminal referrals from the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, from the regulators, from Congress, and from the new management of troubled banks as they clean house. It means indictments, prosecutions, convictions, and imprisonments. The model must be the clean-up of the Savings and Loans, less than 20 years ago, when a thousand industry insiders went to prison. Bankers must be made to feel the power of the law in their bones.

I agree with much of what Galbraith says, although he wants to give the ratings agencies a free pass, which is, in my view, outrageous. If the ratings agencies had bothered to inspect even a few loan files, they would have seen the exploding ARMs triggered by 2 or 3 year teaser rates and the scant or non-existent documentation. A huge percentage of subprime loans were guaranteed to fail. It add insult to injury that the ratings agencies are successfully (so far) invoking the First Amendment to defend their incompetence and fraud.

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Category: Economy, Fraud

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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