Thursday, March 15, 2012

With Obama's Help, BOA Too Crooked To Fail

Have you heard about the plot to rig global interest rates? The $137 million fine for bilking needy schools and cities? The ingenious plan to suck multiple fees out of the unemployment checks of jobless workers?  If not, you haven't been keeping up on Bank of America.

It's been four years since the government, in the name of preventing a depression, saved this megabank from ruin by pumping $45 billion of taxpayer money into its arm. Since then, the Obama administration has looked the other way as the bank committed an astonishing variety of crimes.

As thoroughly documented by Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi, Bank of America has systematically cheated investors, insurers, depositors, homeowners, shareholders, pensioners and taxpayers.

BOA brought tens of thousands of Americans to foreclosure court using bogus, "robo-signed" evidence. It hawked worthless mortgages to dozens of unions and state pension funds, draining them of hundreds of millions in value. It also helped push insurance giants like AMBAC into bankruptcy by fraudulently inducing them to spend hundreds of millions insuring those same worthless mortgages.

But despite being the very definition of an unaccountable corporate villain, Bank of America is now bigger and more dangerous than ever. It controls more than 12 percent of America's bank deposits (skirting a federal law designed to prohibit any firm from controlling more than 10 percent), as well as 17 percent of all American home mortgages.

By looking the other way and rewarding the bank's bad behavior with a massive government bailout, we actually allowed a huge financial company to not just grow so big that its collapse would imperil the whole economy, but to get away with any and all crimes it might commit.

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