Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, January 28, 2011

Where Is The Accountability?

Business people, Wall Streeters and politicians like to point at teachers in public education systems and ask "Where is the accountability?"

But that's the wrong question.

The right question is, given what happened in 2007-2008, "Why is ANYBODY listening to these people in the first place?"

A Congressional report looking at who caused the 2008 financial meltdown finds plenty of culprits and not ONE was a teacher:

Twelve of the 13 largest U.S. financial institutions "were at risk of failure" at the depth of the 2008 financial crisis, while at least 50 hedge funds tried to capitalize on it, according to a report released Thursday by a U.S. panel investigating how the financial system unraveled.

The report quantifies a huge run on the bank at Morgan Stanley, describes the alleged trading practices of a secretive hedge fund and tallies the number of such funds betting against U.S. homeowners.

The 545-page document paints a picture of a financial system let loose by lax regulation and careening out of control. Regulators now are hammering out a financial-regulatory overhaul, though some analysts say not enough has been done since to prevent a recurrence.

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission didn't produce new culprits or scandals in a crisis already analyzed at length by the news media, a U.S. Senate investigation, a congressional oversight committee, an inspector general and financial regulators.

The report described a shadow banking system that helped trigger a more than tenfold surge in financial-sector debt, to $36 trillion in 2007 from $3 trillion in 1978.

Then it crumbled, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told the commission in a November 2009 interview.

"As a scholar of the Great Depression, I honestly believe that September and October of 2008 was the worst financial crisis in global history, including the Great Depression," Mr. Bernanke said, according to the commission's report.

Of the 13 most important U.S. financial institutions, "12 were at risk of failure within a period of a week or two," the report quoted Mr. Bernanke as saying.

Mr. Bernanke declined to comment through a spokeswoman.

The list of potential failures included Goldman Sachs Group Inc., people familiar with the report said. The only major financial institution not at risk at the time was J.P. Morgan Chase.

Spokesmen for J.P. Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs declined to comment on the report.

After regulators let Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. collapse in September 2008, one of the most vulnerable banks was Morgan Stanley, the report notes.

Hedge funds pulled $86 billion in assets from the investment bank in the week following the Sept. 15 Lehman bankruptcy filing, stemming from concerns about Morgan Stanley's viability, according to a Morgan Stanley email at the time to the New York Federal Reserve titled "Liquidity Landscape."

"Many of our sophisticated clients started to liquefy," Morgan Stanley Treasurer David Wong told the commission in October. A Morgan Stanley spokeswoman declined to comment.

The report also provided clarity about the number of hedge funds gambling homeowners couldn't pay their mortgages.

And all we hear from so many at JP Morgan Chase, at Goldman and other "connected" banks is how the country's financial ills are brought to us by government workers and ll the problems in public education is brought to us by unionized teachers.

We hear the same from politicians like Little Andy Cuomo.

But all this blaming of government workers for the economy and teachers for education is horsebleep.

The problem is Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, et al.

These guys have gobbled billions in tax payer bailouts.

They would have been out of business had tax payers NOT bailed them out.

And you know who some of those tax payers were?

Teachers and policemen and fire personnel and government workers.

The same people the Goldmans and Morgans are coming after.

The same people the Goldmans and the Morgans BLAME for the problems in the country - problems either started or exacerbated by themselves.

Again I say, where is the accountability for the Wall Street and hedge fund criminals?


  1. Thank you, Perdido - I live in one of the states where teachers are being attacked. Because I lived and worked in NYC in past, I know about hedge fund criminals, but people in Indiana have no idea about them, and so there is no anger. I have been waiting for SOMEONE to hold these creatures accountable. In NYC they're lauded as heroes for their charitable donations, but they should be pilloried at the least. I wonder how many of the 6 million jobs offshored and outsourced can be traced to the hedge fund machinations ... for which they also will never be accountable (I remember reading so many ads for sales of companies in early 2009 in the NYT)