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Timothy Geithner Says Justice Is Nice but Banks Are Just the Best

The Secretary of the Treasury discusses the rule of law

The soon-to-depart Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner confirmed to Liaquat Ahamed of The National Review that his goal was to protect bankers:

… My own view was that it was going to be very hard, if not impossible to design a financial rescue that was going to be effective in protecting all the innocent victims hit by the crisis and still satisfy the completely understandable public desire for justice and accountability. Those things were in direct and tragic tension, never resolvable at that time.

I always felt that the only preoccupation for people in policy at the time should be to fix the problem as quickly as we could, as effectively as we could, and only after that would other things be possible, including how to figure out not just how to clean up the mess, but reform the financial system.

That’s just silly. There is no tension between protecting the innocent victims and locking up the criminals who caused the Great Crash. None. And his claim that he wanted to do anything for the “innocent victims” is laughable. The truth is what he told Elizabeth Warren and Neil Barofsky: he wanted to foam the runway with the financial corpses of the victims of mortgage and foreclosure fraud so that the banksters and the feral rich would have a soft landing. Geithner thinks us professional leftists who are outraged by the failure to prosecute banks and their criminal employees are short-sighted, if not stupid:

…I think that what really distinguishes countries in crisis are those that are lucky enough to have political leaders who are willing to take the brutal political cost of doing what’s necessary and those countries that waited and let the populist fires burn, or decided they were going to try to teach people a lesson and put populism ahead of other things.

So, it’s fine with him that there were no criminal prosecutions. The only relevant issue was the entire economy, and Geithner thinks he did great there:

I’m biased but I felt that in the basic strategy that the President embraced and that we put into effect, we did something that was incredibly effective for the broad interest of the economy and the financial system.

The results of that effectiveness are obvious, even if Geithner can’t grasp them. Unemployment is outrageously high. The middle class has been crushed by stagnant wages and huge losses in personal wealth, especially home equity. The poor are on the chopping block, with state after state trying to cut the meager assistance they provide and the President bent on cutting Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. Retirees see their savings dwindle under years of zero to negative real interest rates. The megabanks are bigger and more dangerous than ever.

That “broad interest of the economy” Geithner talks about is to insure that the feral rich pay no price, and are rewarded with ever-increasing personal wealth and income. Geithener and Lanny Breuer are joined at the hip in carrying out the Obama program of wealth protection at any cost, including the rule of law.

Photo by Medill DC under Creative Commons license

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