The banksters could be forced to pay tens of billions of dollars more in settlements for crashing our economy. But, these fees are just a small fraction of the price that American taxpayers paid for the economic collapse. So far, the too-big-to-fail banks have forked out about $80 billion dollars in legal fees related to the crisis, and the ratings agencies predict that the banksters will be on the hook for another 50 to 100 billion.
Although that sounds like a lot, it's simply a drop in the bucket compared to the $6 trillion dollars that their gambling cost our economy. And, many of these settlements were so-called “no-admit-no-deny” agreements that did not even require the banksters to admit to their crimes. To make matters even worse, many of these settlements could be written off of banks' taxes, which means that the actual amount that banksters are responsible for is even less than that $80 billion.
The vast majority of the cost of the last economic collapse fell to the taxpayers, and the too-big-to-fail banks have been able to consider their fees as just another cost of doing business. And, most of our lawmakers aren't doing much to prevent the next crash, let alone hold the banksters accountable for the last one. As Senator Elizabeth Warren says, the system is rigged, and Americans are fed up with the banking oligopoly. If we want any chance at stopping the next economic meltdown, we must break up the banks, and start throwing the banksters in jail for their crimes.
The Thom Hartmann Program weekdays 3 PM to 6 PM on WWRL 1600.