Stillwater News Press

Columns

February 12, 2014

JIM HIGHTOWER: The mobsters of Wall Street

STILLWATER, Okla. — Assume that you ran a business that was found guilty of bribery, forgery, perjury, defrauding homeowners, fleecing investors, swindling consumers, cheating credit card holders, violating U.S. trade laws and bilking American soldiers. Can you even imagine the kind of punishment you’d get?

How about zero? Nada. Nothing. Zilch. No jail time. Not even a fine. Plus, you still get to stay on as boss, you get to keep all the loot you gained from the crime spree, and you even get an $8.5 million pay raise!

Of course, you and I would never get such outrageous, absurd, kid-glove pampering by legal authorities. But, then, we’re not the capo of JPMorgan Chase, America’s biggest bank and a crime syndicate that apparently is too big to jail.

Jamie Dimon is the slick, vainglorious, silver-haired boss of the JPMorgan house of banksters. This CEO has fostered a culture of thievery during his years as a top executive at JPMorgan, leading to a shameful litany of crime. Yet, federal prosecutors have bowed to the politically connected Wall Streeter, refusing to ruffle his feathers with even a single criminal charge.

Meanwhile, one of the scams that Dimon directly supervised produced a $6 billion loss for shareholders in 2012. And his reign of mismanagement and illegalities cost the bank’s shareholders another $20 billion in federal fines last year, resulting in a 16 percent drop in profits. You might think the bank’s board of directors would at least slap Jamie’s wrist for the loss of those billions of dollars, but no — in January, they rewarded him, raising his pay by some 70 percent to a sweet $20 million!

That’s the funny thing about Wall Street mobsters (or as I like to call them: Banksters) is that they make a killing by defrauding millions of homeowners, customers, investors and taxpayers — then, when caught, they wonder why we don’t love them.

That’s “funny” as in “bizarre.”

Good grief. This guy builds bank profits through rip-offs, piles billions of dollars in fines on the backs of shareholders, pockets $20 million in personal pay for one year’s work — and he wants us to weep for him?

Only 25 years ago, more than a thousand bankers were prosecuted for this sort of malfeasance during the savings and loan scandal. Maybe We the People should send our own message to today’s banksters by rolling a guillotine down the center of Wall Street.

Jim Hightower is a populist columnist and former commissioner of the Texas Department of Agriculture.

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