Guilty bankers don’t even have to admit guilt

I have been railing about the fact that despite the massive damage that the major banks did to ordinary people and the economy leading up to and during the recent financial crisis, not a single major bank executive was even threatened with jail time. Instead the banks were merely fined amounts that seem impressive to ordinary people but are a pittance to the banks who can write it off as the cost of doing business.

What is not so well known is that in these settlements, the banks were not even required to admit wrongdoing, even as they agreed to pay these fines. This means that they can say with a straight face that they have not done anything wrong, ever, and that everything bad that happened was because of other people’s actions or an act of god.

The Daily Show provides the details.

(This clip aired on August 8, 2013. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post.)


  1. lanir says

    PBS Frontline has some very good info on this topic as well from late January:

    I’d say that’s only if you want more detail or find you’re skeptical of how well “The Daily Show” is reporting the facts (pretty spot-on as it turns out). The general gist is the same as reported in the 5 minute comedy clip.

  2. says

    I’d almost be ok with the slaps on the wrist if further damage to the economy could be expected from harsh punishments. I’d hate it, but things were bad enough to justify things that would normally be unthinkable. I don’t know quite enough about the economy to know if this would happen, but it’s clear that a lot was wrong with the regulatory system, making it economically risky to prosecute offenders wouldn’t surprise me. It’s at least the only possible actual justification I can come up with for such light “punishments”.

    Of course, if such a justification actually applied, you’d think the first thing to be done after the initial economic disaster is contained would be to fix the laws and regulations so that 1, this is less likely to happen again, and 2, if it does, we can safely prosecute the offenders. I’ve seen very little happen in this regard. Like a lot of the bailout “Here’s some cash, try not to screw up again”.

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