Who makes you feel more threatened: a former baseball pitcher who allegedly used steroids to win a few more games, or Wall Street bankers who gamed the system to decimate your bank account and steal your home?
If you chose the ballplayer, congratulations–you’d fit in very well with the U.S. Department of Justice.
As the fraudsters on Wall Street brought about the biggest financial crisis in half a century, with millions of Americans losing their life savings, jobs and homes, the Feds geared up to bring down the man they obviously considered the most notorious cheat and threat to our well-being in the U.S.: ex-New York Yankee pitcher Roger Clemens.
I’m not saying Clemens is innocent, but what does this say about the government’s priorities? Sure, the cheating banks faced heavy fines, which of course they laughed off as the cost of doing business.
What if these bankers faced jail time? The prospect of personally spending years in the slammer might cause them to think twice before engaging in other fraudulent activity.
But not to worry. Those who concocted grand schemes to defraud America, were bailed out of bankruptcy by the taxpayers, and then instead of using this TARP money to reinvest in America gave themselves huge bonuses with it will never pay for their malfeasance. The Justice Department is too busy going after Clemens and other bulked up ballplayers.
To fully appreciate the absurdity of this situation, imagine if the Feds decided to spend millions of our tax dollars on a cheating probe regarding the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. But baseball is our national pasttime, and it’s much easier to pursue Clemens and baseball slugger Barry Bonds than bankers whose clout comes from funding election campaigns.
I’m a huge sports fan, but know it’s a diversion from the real world. Whether the Yankees or Mets win or lose has little impact on my living conditions or financial security. Not so with the big banks, whose shady dealings took a big chunk out of my 401K retirement savings.
Yes, if Clemens cheated, he should face the consequences. But where is a level playing field more important–in baseball, or our investment banks? Unfortunately, we know where our Justice Department comes down on this question.
After the recent bungling of the Clemens case, the judge declared a mistrial. Now the Feds are deciding whether to try the pitcher again, spending millions more and countless man hours on this case.
But God forbid they use this time and money to go after the bankers who brought us to the brink of disaster.