Bank Fines + Prosecutions = Enforcement

Since 2008, the U.S. authorities have meted out $87.53 billion in fines to global banks. That number comes from data complied by the Financial Times. Some people believe that bankers are finally getting their due, being hit with billion-dollar penalties for their recklessness.

I don’t see it that way; rather, it looks like little more than a belated attempt to walk back the too-big-to jail trial balloon floated by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

To me, this represents a colossal failure on the part of our political leaders, regulators, law-enforcement officials and bankers. I don’t buy the concept that a lack of prosecution or conviction means no crimes were committed any more than I buy that O.J. Simpson’s acquittal means he didn’t murder his estranged wife. Rather, what this lack of criminal prosecution reflects is timidity by prosecutors who seem to have forgotten how to do their jobs.

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