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This great post from Bill Black has been linked to a lot, but re-reading it just now, I was struck by this figure:

In the Savings and Loans crisis, which was 1/70th the size of this crisis, our agency made over 10,000 criminal referrals that resulted in the conviction on felony grounds of over 1,000 elites in what were designated as major cases.

OK, let's do the arithmetic.

For today's accounting control fraud, 1,000 * 70 = 70,000 convictions, and 700,000 referrals. If there are 1.2 million 1%-ers [readers, a better source?], that would suggest that well over half the elite would be called in for a talk with the Feds if Bill Black were Attorney General.

An interesting calculation, don't you think?

NOTE * All other things being equal. In fact, the accounting control fraud in the 90s and 00s was far more complex and pervasive than the S&L crisis, so this arithmetic is probably conservative.

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Submitted by hipparchia on

everything is a computer algorithm these days, so it's plausible that we still only have about 1000 human perpetrators, or possibly even fewer.

which would mean that the job of investigating and prosecuting them is still doable.

Cujo359's picture
Submitted by Cujo359 on

One of many reasons you can't necessarily scale things this way. Another is the number of principal organizations responsible. There are six really large banks now that account for the majority of holdings. Back then, I think there were one or two others, plus some financials that have been swallowed up. That means there will be relatively few leaders as a function of holdings.

If this were the early 20th Century, perhaps they would have had more workers in lieu of computers, but the top of the pyramid would still have been fairly small. Only the top of the pyramid would be part of the "1%".

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

All you need is to get the low-level people to give up the higher ones. They'll do that to avoid prison.

coyotecreek's picture
Submitted by coyotecreek on

Occupy Alec is going on in Scottsdale right now.

ALEC is "Hundreds of State Legislators will meet in Phoenix to discuss solutions for creating jobs, growing the economy and restoring fiscal order
November 28, 2011" = that means hundreds of our bribed legislators meeting in swanky Scottsdale with the heads of large corporations to figure out how to screw us next.

coyotecreek's picture
Submitted by coyotecreek on

And it is inhabited by a huge number of assholes who build 10,000 square foot homes to visit 4 week-ends a year.

coyotecreek's picture
Submitted by coyotecreek on

...they are building higher and higher up in the foothills so they get the "best" views". But it destroys the natural beauty of the ridges and vistas for everyone else.

Submitted by regulararmyfool on

Scottsdale is interesting.

It is the only place that I have ever seen a chauffeured Rolls Royce pull into a Taco Bell restaurant and two elegantly dressed women get out and go in. Then they had lunch.

I was in three separate art galleries that had Elvis on black velvet for sale.

I had to stop going to the cultural center because people not only talked on cell phones but would get up and walk out of shows being presented by internationally famous people while complaining to whomever they were talking to about the show.

It is sort of a retirement town for trailer trash that have gotten rich.

Submitted by jawbone on

them of actual history, facts, etc.

I am so sick and tired of the righwing's Big Lie about the Big $h*t Meltdown having been caused by poor people lying to get loans for homes they couldn't afford and the gubmint made the poor mortgage lenders lend to them!

How dare they insult our intelligence in this way? Oh, yeah, right. Because it fuckin' worksU/u>.

During a street conversation while cleaning up leaves, this nice guy neighbor told me that that was the cause of the Great Recession. Gubmint made the lenders lend to people who couldn't afford their mortgages. I raised the usual facts, but I could tell I didn't cut it with him. He'd heard The Big Lie too often.

The Big Lie technique lives, and thrives, in our rightwingers and the MCMers. And some Dems, yes.

*MCMers -- members of the Mainstream Corporate Media