Tuesday, February 09, 2016

endless corruption as banksters diversified their debt-slave portfolios...,

HuffPo |  Since leaving office, both Bill and Hillary have made millions of dollars giving speeches to banks while being remarkably quiet about prosecution of financial crime, not to mention the Obama administration's appalling record since the crisis - zero prosecutions, bankers in senior regulatory positions, inviting bank CEOs to state dinners dozens of times, et cetera. Now Hillary says she'll rely on Bill for economic policy. Bad idea. The financial sector became a pervasively criminal and economically destabilizing industry largely through Clinton policies, and now Hillary takes their money. When pressed, Democratic insiders concede all this, but then say, well, OK, the financial sector is just too powerful to rein in, but think of what Hillary could do in, say, education.

Let us therefore take a brief tour of the Education Management Corporation (EDMC), one of the most repulsively predatory companies in America. EDMC specialized in exploiting poor people seeking to better themselves educationally. It used fraudulent marketing, luring students into paying high tuition - by taking out student loans signed over to EDMC. EDMC kept all the money, but provided abysmal schooling with high dropout rates. EDMC made huge profits while poor students wasted time, obtained no skills, and dropped out with crushing debts.

EDMC raked in $11 billion this way. Assuming, say, $11,000 per student, EDMC screwed one million poor Americans. Eventually the Justice Department sued, but as usual the settlement was a wrist-slap with no criminal prosecutions, no admission of guilt, and no financial relief to victims.

But why am I telling you all this?

Well, now. Who devised EDMC's strategy, aided by relaxed Federal regulation? Who was EDMC's largest shareholder, buying 41% of the company in 2006?

Goldman Sachs.

Now, Hillary, when you and Bill have your little cocktail parties for the Clinton Foundation in Goldman Sachs offices, when you give your speeches to Goldman Sachs executives, when you chat them up for donations, when you meet them at White House state dinners, just how frequently do you bring this up?

OK, Hillary ain't so great. But could Bernie do any better? Well, he could appoint an Attorney General and a head of the DOJ Criminal Division who haven't spent their careers defending corporate criminals, and then invite the Justice Department to put lots of bankers in jail. (There is overwhelming evidence to justify doing so; for details, read this, or chapter 6 of this.) Bernie could also appoint an Antitrust Division head who would actually investigate the cozy, cartel-like arrangements that pervade finance, and bring major cases against the banks. He could appoint a Federal Reserve chair who would require banks to divest assets and operate safely, plus regulating bankers' compensation so that if you caused a disaster, you couldn't profit from it. All this can be done without a single new law, and both Bill Clinton and Obama could have done them too.