The New York Times ran a piece today on why none of the top participants in the recent near-collapse of the US economic system have been prosecuted.
What’s the big deal? They’re not trying to kill us. It could have been worse. Stocks smashed, bonds smashed, mortgage-backed securities smashed, credit default stocks smashed, hedge funds, options, reverse options, auction-rate securities, loans, homes, jobs smashed. Most of us are still alive, though. Money isn’t everything. Life is. Life, life, life.
It’s true that something important may have disappeared and we can’t find it. Our principles, our moral values may be defective somewhere. But we don’t know for sure.
Down on Wall Street, they have concrete barriers all over the place so no one – neither terrorists nor angry citizens – can blow the place to smithereens. The off-white, almost tan concrete blocks are guarded by overweight policemen who are also all over the place. Concave and curving gracefully, the concrete barriers are seven-feet high and several of them are three football fields long, making it difficult for angry citizens as well as terrorists to blow the hard working top-figure Wall Street criminals to bits.
When they discovered life on a dying planet, one of the few creatures left said, “What did us in was that we had huge technical resources, but no long range plan, no clear purposes, no ideals. Our essential emptiness was the great danger. And that emptiness did us in.”
I urged my friend Sunny Calabash to say a few words about this. But all she would say was, “Americans, fellow citizens, never has a people been deceived more ignominiously. Never, my fellow citizens, has a nation been betrayed more ignominiously and more unjustly than the American people.” Then she clammed up.
I, however, don’t think it’s so bad. I think we are being spared this time for a harder fall on the long hill down of time.