From this Thursday's The Daily Show, guest host John Oliver took Wall Street and the SEC to task for allowing one after the other of these big banks to avoid any real criminal or civil liability for crashing the global economy.
OLIVER: But first, we start tonight with memories. Who remembers what Wall Street bankers turned our financial system into a free-wheeling sub-prime casino, precipitating a global economic crash, in which all our money disappeared? Do you remember? Yeah. I remember that too. Well guess what? The chickens are finally coming home to roost.
Or maybe not. After going through a list of some recent reports on these banks and what looked like they might finally be held accountable for their actions, Oliver discovered that he might have been celebrating a bit too soon.
With one bank after another being allowed to settle and for a pittance of their cost of doing business, rather than anyone going to jail, Oliver made this observation:
OLIVER: Is this really any surprise though? Every time regulators go after Wall Street, it always ends the same way. […]
Settled. So it seems Wall Street regulation is really just like the Middle East peace process. No one goes to jail and it all ends with a bunch of half-assed settlements that seem to make everyone angry. So we might not get the emotional closure of having them admit what they did, or the physical closure of watching them go to jail, so how about some financial justice? Can we at least hit them where it hurts?
Apparently not with the likes of Goldman Sachs who paid what amounted to a whole three days of their revenue in a recent settlement. Oliver went on to hit the regulators for pretending that these fines were actually meaningful, and then shared with the audience one of the few cases that did end up with someone winding up in court.