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> Causing financial crisis wasn't illegal. Unethical but not a crime. Except for some cases of misselling products, banks playing against the customer etc.

The exception there swallows the rule. Prosecutors could have, and in previous financial crises did, prosecute top executives under the laws against, for example, wire fraud.

They didn't this time for reasons outlined in the excellent book: Chickenshit Club (https://www.amazon.com/Chickenshit-Club-Department-Prosecute...)




I think the top review of this book summarizes it all pretty well:

With George W. Bush, Justice deteriorated under Secretary Alberto Gonzalez, who was forced to resign, and the SEC deteriorated under Christopher Cox, whose intent appeared to be to simply let it collapse from inactivity. Budgets were slashed and staffs reduced at the same time as demand for action increased. This is standard procedure for discrediting an institution. The stories of confusion, conflict, lack of direction, leadership or policy are all detailed here. The frustration of the prosecutors is palpable. In the current administration, you can see it real-time at Education, State, and the EPA for example.

The answer to the question is that everything changed. Prosecutors today are actually afraid to file suit, fearing they might lose and have black marks on their CVs. (James Comey famously called them chickenshits.) They have little or even no trial experience any more. Everything is a negotiated fine (never paid by the perpetrators). They have been battered by the collapse of Arthur Andersen, which put a lot of employees on the street, and has given us ridiculous arguments over “too big to fail” and markets that “self-regulate”. They no longer work for the “public good”. They work to get better jobs in big law firms. They want to take their faultless experience in government to make themselves millions from the other side. The revolving door makes this one huge club. This is so far removed from their predecessors as to be unrecognizable. And Eisinger makes this shockingly clear as he proceeds from decade to decade.

Considering people like Preet Bharara are now out, I'd say deterioration is only further accelerating.




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