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Why weren't banks punished the way Bernie Madoff was?

Banks went bankrupt. Most of the money Bernie Madoff owed investors has been returned. The same can't be said about Washington Mutual and other banks. Why weren't banks that were more fiscally irresponsible than Madoff punished?

  • Best Answer

    We always believed capitalism depends on 'free market competition'.  But the problem with competition is that there are winners, and once there are clear winners, there's no longer competition.

    We allowed banks, insurance companies, etc. to grow and merge, which had the effect of eliminating competition.  Eventually we got companies that were 'too big to fail', because if they did it would damage the whole economy.  So when they DID fail, the taxpayers had to bail them out.

    Too Big To Fail is anathema to capitalism.  It's the sign of 'state socialism' when the managers of a company are protected from their own mismanagement.  They then have an incentive to take big chances.  If they win, they're heroes.  If they lose, then the taxpayers bail them out and they still get their 7-figure 'bonuses'.

    Perhaps GW Bush and Obama were right to bail them out, less trouble for the economy in the long run.  But then they should have broken them up into smaller units that COULD fail without destroying the country.  They didn't do that, pretty much ensuring that this kind of thing will happen again!

    Mr. Smartypants
    Lv 7 3 weeks ago 3 0
  • Other Answer
  • We always believed capitalism depends on 'free market competition'.  But the problem with competition is that there are winners, and once there are clear winners, there's no longer competition.

    We allowed banks, insurance companies, etc. to grow and merge, which had the effect of eliminating competition.  Eventually we got companies that were 'too big to fail', because if they did it would damage the whole economy.  So when they DID fail, the taxpayers had to bail them out.

    Too Big To Fail is anathema to capitalism.  It's the sign of 'state socialism' when the managers of a company are protected from their own mismanagement.  They then have an incentive to take big chances.  If they win, they're heroes.  If they lose, then the taxpayers bail them out and they still get their 7-figure 'bonuses'.

    Perhaps GW Bush and Obama were right to bail them out, less trouble for the economy in the long run.  But then they should have broken them up into smaller units that COULD fail without destroying the country.  They didn't do that, pretty much ensuring that this kind of thing will happen again!

    Mr. Smartypants 3 weeks ago 3 0
  • The banks have a lot of political power. They were able to successfully forestall any sort of widespread Reckoning with their arguably criminal practices which led to the 2008 recession. With the exception of a few isolated individuals, most of whom worked at very small and therefore not very powerful Banks, there were no prosecutions related to the potential Financial misconduct leading up to the Great Recession leading up to the Great Recession

    Anonymous 3 weeks ago 1 0
  • The bankruptcy mafia is a thing, you get people investing in your corporation, lend money to people who don't pay it back, who are actually your own people, then claim all the money disappeared, maybe do an insurance claim, but the investors lose everything, and because you're a corporation, not an individual, you can get away with it, over and over again. That's what the Bush family did in their savings and loans scam. 

    Anonymous 3 weeks ago 1 0
  • the government thinks we need the banks too  bad 

    Gilgamesh King of Heros 3 weeks ago 0 0
  • Political social policies were used to defraud FDIC.  Laws were circumvented to allow insurance to cover the losses otherwise not possible to cover.

    FBI let it happen and allowed lower courts to falsify case precedent. 

    Did Al Qaeda cute this in 93? If so, they hijacked facts too.

    towwwdothello 3 weeks ago 1 0