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> The government can't just dissolve a corporation on a whim.

Not on a whim, but for (e.g., in Delaware) “abuse, misuse or nonuse of its corporate powers, privileges or franchises.” (Delaware Code Title 8, § 284.)

> We have due process and the rule of law.

While rarely used in practice currently (it was more used in the past, and there is a movement to revive the practice), the law provides for charter revocation for corporate misconduct.

The point is that charter revocation requires both the executive and judicial branch to agree. Moreover, I think I can guarantee that any vague sounding statement like "abuse, misuse or nonuse of its corporate powers, privileges or franchises." has been translated into a series of relatively specific conditions by the courts. You can't just sue someone for being vaguely terrible.

Basically, however appalling the unaccountable power of credit bureaus is, it was legal yesterday and it's not the job of either the executive branch or the judicial to decide today that such power isn't legal today. The judicial system especially is oriented towards prevent that kind of thing. Rather, deciding that is the job of (even more dysfunctional) legislative branch.

This, of course, doesn't guarantee that executive or judicial branch couldn't "get religion" and try to get end this situation but it would have it own messiness.

And there you have it - an American legal/government system very much resembling a well built car driven far too long without an overhaul.

It doesn't seem like the executive and judicial branches will need to get involved whatsoever if there is a multibillion dollar lawsuit; if successful this will basically 'dissolve' Equifax.

Well, I wouldn't shed any tears over the dissolution of Equifax and other credit agencies - though a lawsuit would of course involve the judicial branch (the courts).

But the problem is:

A. If Equifax gets a judgment for close to or for more than the company is worth, the simplest way one could assure the suit is paid to sell the company, keeping the operation going rather than ending it.

B. Many businesses integrate credit checks into their operations - it's ridiculous and despicable as mentioned by other but most of these companies and individuals (landlord for example) at least imagine they couldn't survive without the credit agencies so this large group would push for another solution then just getting rid of the credit agencies.

C. Getting rid of one credit agencies leaves the other two even stronger.

If there were a $17 billion judgement against a $17 billion company, it would not sell for $17 billion.

It is also unlikely a $17 billion market cap = $17 billion in assets during an emergency sale. Especially with the shadow of a $17 billion judgement that could encumber the acquired assets.

It's bad business to acquire assets from someone with a judgement against them, unless you're getting a great deal.

If there were a $17 billion judgement against a $17 billion company, it would not sell for $17 billion.

If there is a judgment against a company which that company cannot pay, that company enters bankruptcy.

What happens when a corporation enter bankruptcy is the assets of the corporation are assigned to a receiver. The receiver then disposes of those assets with the aim of raising as much money as possible to pay the creditors involved. In the case of a credit bureau, keeping the bureau functioning would arguably be the best way to earn money to pay the individuals who the corporation owes money to - both the people who the got the judgment (first priority), other creditors(second priority) and then the share-holder (third priority).

This situation means that corporation that produces toxic waste, dumps it in a river and goes bankrupt from a private suit against it could continue to produce toxic in order keep producing and making money, in order to pay that judgment (it would probably be argued that the toxic-waste leak was a one-time thing).

Part of the problem is a private lawsuit isn't a substitute for state regulation even if it's often presented as such. Part of the problem is the very worst that happen to the owners, the shareholder, is their shares become worthless so their incentive for stopping truly bad behavior by organizations is limited.

You might say this is fucked-up and I would agree with you. Don't confuse my comments with statements of support for how things. I simply want to thorough, accurate and complete summary of just what a messy we're in.

Bankruptcy is the strange other side of the US debt system. In this case, it would be an unfair get out of jail free card, a shirking of responsibility.

"Well, I wouldn't shed any tears over the dissolution of Equifax and other credit agencies"

In Project Mayhem we have no names.

> they couldn't survive without the credit agencies

Europe operates just fine without the notion of credit or credit agencies.

If there is a lawsuit, the judicial branch is involved.

This assumes the highest good is to maintain the previously defined delineation of governmental branches.

Some of the legislative branch dysfunction is due to interference from the same corporate interests they should govern.

Corporations are able to DoS their oversight.

You are correct there will be unexpected messiness. The question becomes whether our current trend is sustainable over the long term; many believe the second order effects cannot be worse than the path we are currently on.

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