Pencils don’t write papers, spoons don’t make you fat and guns don’t kill people. People do all of these things. Similarly, a tax ID number and a logo cannot commit a crime, only people can. So why is our justice system still so confused about this, especially when it comes to Wall Street companies and their wrongdoings?
You may not have heard yet, mainly because the media is doing a bang up job of failing to report it, but five Wall Street banks pleaded guilty this month to the criminal charges of rate rigging. The guilty parties include some of the largest names in banking, such as Citigroup, JPMorgan, Barclays, and RBS. In total, the shared settlement for these banks accounts to more than $5 billion. A punishment that, in my opinion, is completely inadequate, and here’s why:
$5 billion is a slap on the wrist
While $5 billion sounds like a ton of cash, it’s just the cost of doing business for these banks. FedEx and UPS drivers sometimes receive parking tickets while making deliveries, and big banks sometimes get fined. In the grand scheme of things the amount of money each bank will pay is not something they’re worried about. While annoying and a nuisance, it really won’t make much of a dent in their wallets.
A tax ID number and logo cannot commit a crime
The fact that these banks could plead guilty to the charges and pay a relatively modest fee sets a dangerous precedent. Typically companies neither accept nor deny blame and will wait for the firestorm to pass. This time, however, they were somehow allowed to make a plea and pay a fine without a single person at the organizations being charged.
A company is nothing without its employees. People are responsible for the everyday operations of an organization, including wrongdoings. Wall Street has been in need of a sense of ethics for too long, and it’s starting to show. Employees engaging in shady business practices are able to hide behind the company’s façade and avoid the repercussions of their actions, which just furthers this problem. If a company is in trouble for it’s employees actions, why are those employees not being prosecuted or fired?
A University of Notre Dame study conducted among Wall Street account executives found that more than 20 percent felt they must do something wrong or underhanded to stay in business. It’s unbelievable that these are the people we’re trusting with our money. These “financial experts” will jump at the chance to screw over their clients at the first opportunity. Employees of these institutions know that their company is doing bad business, yet they continue working there and sometimes play a part in the corruption.
These banks should have been shut down long ago
I’m tired of telling the same story again and again when it comes to Wall Street. It was never supposed to be this way, but here we are! Politicians and the justice system don’t have the fortitude to shut down these crooks, so it’s up to us as consumers. I’d be willing to bet that many of you reading this hold accounts or do business with one of these banks, and you are the ones that can make a change. You wouldn’t continue going to a restaurant with horrible food, awful service and cockroaches all over, but continuing to work with these banks is the same thing.
These “too big to fail” organizations feel as if they can get away with anything while still raking in big bucks. Many consumers who are uneducated on the extent of Wall Street corruption are continuing to do business with these banks. They are simply empowering them to continue this racket. Until people take their business elsewhere, these banks have no incentive to change. Those who keep supporting these vile organizations and their wrongdoings are guilty just like the bad apple employees committing fraud behind closed doors.
Then again if you’d like to continue to work with these banks and keep them in business be my guest. After all they’re making their money by stealing your hard-earned dollars, and they aren’t being adequately punished for it.
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