too big to jail

Not one banker has gone to jail, except Bernie Madoff — whose crime, as Matt Taibbi points out, was defrauding the wealthy. Bankers, even with a demonstrated record of laundering billions in drug money, are too big to jail. In contrast, Swartz was threatened with a long federal prison sentence.

From Sanjoy Mahajan of the Freakonomics blog. Swartz had been charged by authorities in what one could only call a draconian interpretation of the law for minor offenses and later committed suicide under the severest of duress at the likelihood of crippling financial penalty and lengthy prison sentence.

Sanjoy Mahajan implies that the financial overseers of Wall Street should be charged, and perhaps he’s right (though the implication is vague and I have mixed feelings on the matter). But his point is spot on.

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