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I still see so many reports on the GS bonuses that it seems - obscene bonuses - are the only issue with Goldman Sachs. Folks, the bonuses aren't the issue. I believe in Capitalism and a Free Market Economy. If someone fairly and honestly makes a lot of money they should get paid a lot of money.
However, making money through criminal activity, lying and cheating should be rewarded with legal action and possible jail time not billions in bonuses.
The mortgage broker industry (what's left of it) had been criticized for charging what is called Yield Spread Premium (YSP) - a premium paid by lenders for delivering a higher interest rate loan. As a result, this practice is being prohibited in many states and is catagorized as "Predatory Lending" thus limiting incomes. (Note: The banks charge this YSP as well they just don't have to disclose it).
YSP in and of itself is not wrong or even bad. If applied correctly, it can save the borrower out of pocket cash. Without going into more detail on a lengthy but not so complex topic, my point is that the "little guy" has been prevented from earning a fair compensation and the borrower has been denied a potential benefit. FYI, auto loans have YSP as well, never disclosed or called what it is and has been doing so for many years and have NO benefit to the purchaser at all.
So the "little" guy can have his/her earnings capped but the "too big" guys have no cap in sight for their work and helped not the borrower/customer or average American. In fact, the "too big" guys took advantage of us all -including the elderly - gave us back no benefit and continues on a path of self indulgence while we suffer the spoils of their toils.
The real issue then is how honestly and legally are these huge sums of money being made so that those bonueses and salaries can be paid. Fraudulent ratings by the still admired rating agencies, Fitch, Moody's and Standard and Poors enabled the Wall Street banksters to begin their pillage. Yet nothing is reported, said or done about that. Who instructed them to lie about the real value of the securities they rated AAA? Goldman Sachs perhaps? Or perhaps it was Bear Stearns or Merrill Lynch or Lehman. How involved in all of this was JP Morgan, Bank of America or Wells Fargo? No answers or even any "real" investigations into any of this. No one is questioning.
If there is criminal activity here then we are allowing it to continue and allowing the "banksters" to stay free - except for Bernie Madoff, of course. But even he had to have the help of some very important and high ranking people to pull his scam for so many years.
Let's not talk about bonuses anymore. We already have had that thrown in our faces with indelible ink - ink that cannot be removed. Let's start talking about JUSTICE and EQUALITY of JUSTICE as in "liberty and justice for all".
The major media is "bought and paid for" by the "too big to fail" gang. Maybe we should be talking about some of your salaries as well. What ever happened to "investigative reporting"? You don't seem to be serving the people as journalists. (there are a few, very few exceptions to this). So here is the challenge. Report less on bonuses and more on fraud, illegal activity and profiteering. Remember RICO - Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act?
There may be some fit there.
Here is a summary as provided by Wikipedia (you can click the link above to view the entire explanaiton.
Under RICO, a person who is a member of an enterprise that has committed any two of 35 crimes—27 federal crimes and 8 state crimes—within a 10-year period can be charged with racketeering. Those found guilty of racketeering can be fined up to $250,000 and/or sentenced to 20 years in prison per racketeering count. In addition, the racketeer must forfeit all ill-gotten gains and interest in any business gained through a pattern of "racketeering activity." RICO also permits a private individual harmed by the actions of such an enterprise to file a civil suit; if successful, the individual can collect treble damages.
When the U.S. Attorney decides to indict someone under RICO, he or she has the option of seeking a pre-trial restraining order or injunction to temporarily seize a defendant's assets and prevent the transfer of potentially forfeitable property, as well as require the defendant to put up a performance bond. This provision was placed in the law because the owners of Mafia-related shell corporations often absconded with the assets. An injunction and/or performance bond ensures that there is something to seize in the event of a guilty verdict.
In many cases, the threat of a RICO indictment can force defendants to plead guilty to lesser charges, in part because the seizure of assets would make it difficult to pay a defense attorney. Despite its harsh provisions, a RICO-related charge is considered easy to prove in court, as it focuses on patterns of behavior as opposed to criminal acts.[4
There is also a provision for private parties to sue. A "person damaged in his business or property" can sue one or more "racketeers." The plaintiff must prove the existence of a "criminal enterprise." The defendant(s) are not the enterprise; in other words, the defendant(s) and the enterprise are not one and the same. There must be one of four specified relationships between the defendant(s) and the enterprise. A civil RICO action, like many lawsuits based on federal law, can be filed in state or federal court
Both the federal and civil components allow for the recovery of treble damages (damages in triple the amount of actual/compensatory damages).
And here are the offenses that it covers (also from the Wikipedia link above):
Under the law, racketeering activity means:
- Any violation of state statutes against gambling, murder, kidnapping, extortion, arson, robbery, bribery, dealing in obscene matter, or dealing in a controlled substance or listed chemical (as defined in the Controlled Substances Act);
- Any act of bribery, counterfeiting, theft, embezzlement, fraud, dealing in obscene matter, obstruction of justice, slavery, racketeering, gambling, money laundering, commission of murder-for-hire, and several other offenses covered under the Federal criminal code (Title 18);
- Embezzlement of union funds;
- Bankruptcy fraud or securities fraud;
- Drug trafficking; long-term and elaborate drug networks can also be prosecuted using the Continuing Criminal Enterprise Statute;
- Money laundering and related offenses;
- Bringing in, aiding or assisting aliens in illegally entering the country (if the action was for financial gain);
- Acts of terrorism.
Is there any fit here and are there any actions we should be investigating under this law? Now, I am not saying there is this type of wrong doing here. I am not qualified nor am I authorized to make allegations or accusations of this kind. I am merely saying that real and proper investigations should be made as it seems to so many of us that there was wrong doing. There were millions of people harmed by the actions of our federally supported and rewarded banking institutions and the people have a right to know and have a right to justice. Shouldn't we at least take a real look? What do you think?