Remember what happened when Enron tanked and took its employees 401K’s down with it? The feds went after top executives with criminal charges, and several went to jail.
In the savings and loan scandal of the 1980’s hundreds of bankers were convicted, including many big fish.
So what happens when Wall Street bankers play casino and wreck the economy? They get a taxpayer bailout and keep paying themselves obscene bonuses.
On Fresh Air, the New York Times’ Louise Story and I talk about why there hasn’t been a single prosecution of a major figure in the financial meltdown.
Story (great name for a reporter, huh?) and the Times’ Gretchen Morgenson have uncovered some fascinating information about how officials in the Bush administration adopted a softer approach to allegations of corporate wrongdoing.
In many cases, it was an approved stategy for the government to notify a company of its suspicions, then ask the company to hire a law firm to do the investigation and present its findings.
It’s an interesting conversation, and Story is one of those reporters who has both a mastery of facts and a gift for getting right to the point.
You can hear Fresh Air at 3 and 7 on WHYY (91FM). If you’re listening outside the Philadelphia era, find a station here. And you can always hear the show, download a podcast and get more information at the Fresh Air website.