Prosecuting Wall Street not possible, but prosecuting food stamp fraud is

Priorities, priorities. It’s much easier to chase problems with the food stamp problem because that surely winds up the right wing crowd, who we know already loves Democrats and Obama. Everyone knows that there will always be fraud in any program but should this really take priority over the much more costly and significant problems on Wall Street? Even on Wall Street, the Attorney General prefers chasing after small crimes that had nothing to do with the market failures that led to the crash. Outside of Wall Street, the Attorney General somehow also has managed to ask Americans to be vigilant and report IP crimes.

The list of excuses and diversions really gets old. At a minimum, Washington needs to shut down the revolving door between the federal government/Congress/White House and industry lobbying. If they can’t find time to start with something as simple and necessary as that, then just throw in the towel and admit failure. At least be honest about it instead of playing the same old spin games. Salon:

At the local level, the same governments that plead poverty when they’re asked to enforce their laws on financial fraud have somehow found plenty of resources to deploy their militarized police forces against Occupy protesters. At the federal level, it’s even more blatant. As we learned in a little-noticed Washington Post piece on Tuesday, the same Obama administration that has refused to spend political capital and federal monies to go after Wall Street is expending new resources to crack down on the supposedly rampant problem of food stamp “fraud.”

Tracking an individual example of this phenomenon, Matt Taibbi makes clear that it’s really difficult to overstate just how revealing this kind of thing is. Wall Street crooks who stole trillions of dollars are rewarded by the administration with additional trillions in bailouts. Meanwhile, those crooks’ now-impoverished victims — so poor they are on food stamps, mind you — are being targeted by the same administration for criminal investigation for allegedly making a few extra bucks on recycling empty bottles.

Taken together, these microcosmic examples (and there are plenty of others) all illustrate an inconvenient truth: namely, that law enforcement decisions today are not being guided by resource questions or dispassionate analyses of priorities, they are being guided by political will.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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