"The Obama Justice Department hasn't tried a single Wall Street executive in a criminal court. Against a handful, it decided to let the S.E.C. bring civil charges of fraud, which are easier to prove. So if defendants' wrists are merely being slapped by the S.E.C. instead of cuffed by the Justice Department, Obama has only his appointees to blame.

For three important reasons, the President needs to explain why the Justice Department has filed away its investigations of big banks and Wall Street firms without indicting anyone. First, American confidence in the system is deeply shaken. Second, it strains credulity for millions of Americans -- and has impelled thousands of them to occupy public places in protest -- that no banking or insurance executive deserves criminal prosecution for the actions that brought on the financial crisis. Third, by failing to prosecute a single high-profile Wall Street actor today, the Administration is failing to deter financial fraud tomorrow.

The jury is out (alas, only metaphorically) on whether Wall Street practices that accompanied the financial crisis amounted to criminal fraud. Some legal commentators have concluded that the causes of the crisis were systemic and not the result of malfeasance or conspiracy. The debate about whether practices were illegal or simply unethical will never be resolved because only a jury can render a verdict after weighing the evidence, presented by opposing counsel, for each element of an alleged crime."

--Excerpted from the Huffington Post


It appears that the Obama administration has eased up on prosecutions of Wall Street as part of a conscious strategy to prevent a collapse of confidence in our financial system, with the expected 50-state foreclosure settlement intended mainly to quickly move on from a generation of fraud. Geithner seems to believe that if fraud were aggressively prosecuted, and the world made aware of the incredible extent of the illegality in our markets, that international confidence in the American financial sector would plummet and our economy would suffer. The logic seems to be to stick a band-aid on it now and let the real mess happen later on, on someone else's watch, or at least in a second term, when there’s no need to worry about re-election.

Of course, this is exactly the wrong way to go about things. If the present administration really wanted to convince the world that America’s markets weren’t broken, they would effectively police fraud, and by extension prove to everybody that at the very least, our regulatory system is not broken. 

As put so well by Matt Taibbi in the RollingStone, "By continually lying about the extent of the country’s corruption problems, they’re adding fraud to fraud and raising such a great bonfire of lies that they probably won’t ever be able to fix the underlying mess. If they looked at the world like public servants, and not like corporate executives, they’d understand that the only way out is to come clean. That they don’t look at things that way should tell people quite a lot."

So what can we do?  I suggest we begin with a top agenda item of the Occupy Movement: Get Money Out of Politics.

The fact is, we need to get money out of politics before we will ever see any real change in our country. This issue is even more important than stabilizing the economy because there is always going to be some lobbyist flooding money into the system to water down the law, weaken regulations, cut deals, or hide crimes.

This is a non-partisan issue. The more people learn about this, the more they will want to support it.

We need to  promote and support legislation to get the money out of politics. Go to Get Money Out, for more information and to sign the petition.  Pass it on and help educate the masses.