A site dedicated to the glories of the stock and bond markets — sort of the CNBC of the web — marketwatch.com is not the first place I'd expect to see an opinion piece comparing the treatment of Occupy protestorswith the bankers who never faced a single day in jail. But that's exactly what this post does:
The list doesn't end with SAC Capital and Credit Suisse. Since the financial crisis, companies including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS -0.03% , J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.JPM +0.04% , Bank of America Corp. BAC -0.41% and Citigroup Inc. C -0.06% all have been investigated for fraud perpetrated on customers and investors — including taxpayers. In most cases they've settled without admitting wrongdoing or copping to criminal charges.
That last part about criminal charges has changed recently after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder came under fire a year ago when he testified that "the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy."
Many observers took his statement as a concession that some banks were "too big to jail."
Individuals aren't exempt either, it appears, as long as they are low ranking and don't have the political and financial means to put up a fight.
Cecily McMillan, on the other hand, doesn't pose a threat to anyone except maybe a police officer who may or may have not been too aggressive or in the wrong place at the wrong time. Not many seem to be questioning if city officials had the authority to break up a peaceable assembly as guaranteed under the Bill of Rights.
This isn't to excuse McMillan's elbow or any injury it may have caused. But if a peaceful protestor who if forcibly evicted from a protest can get jail time and a permanent criminal record, why can't the leaders of firms accused of or admitted to chronic insider trading, tax-evasion schemes or mortgage-securities fraud get their 90 days in lockup?