By now the evident fraud and other crimes that led to and followed the crash of 2008 are widely documented. The culprits include big banks, mortage lenders, ownership registries like MERS, rating agencies, securities firms, insurers, foreclosure agents and other interested parties in our financial system. Millions of Americans have seen it in documentaries like the Oscar-winning Inside Job and books like Matt Taibbi's Griftopia. These crimes destroyed the world economy in 2008 and led to the loss of millions of American jobs.
But these crimes remain largely unprosecuted, with neither defrauded homeowners nor defrauded security holders or pension funds made whole. Two presidents, relieved to have averted an even greater catastrophe, admit being "held hostage" by famously "too big to fail" banks.
Fortunately, for a tiny fraction of the $7 trillion that we learned last year was secretly provided to many of these banks by the Federal Reserve, we can help rescue 11 million Americans with "underwater" homes and turn our housing economy around. Instead of permitting continued (and often illegal, "robo-signed") foreclosures on homes and leaving them vacant -- a process known to destroy entire neighborhoods -- these homes can be rescued and reassessed* at their true market value before the fraud began. Senator Dick Durbin confessed on the Senate floor: "The banks own this place." That's one of the reasons I'm running for Senate -- so the People can be properly in charge.
The problems are big, but we have more than enough resources to resolve them once we have the will. Solutions may include all of the following:
- a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions by any bank that received bail outs or low interest Fed loans
- Occupy our Homes - help rescue residents and whole neighborhoods by keeping homes inhabited
- prosecute bank and rating agency executives and corporations for fraud as in Roosevelt’s Pecora commission or Reagan's 1000+ Savings and Loan prosecutions
- break up big banks
- reinstate rules like Glass-Steagall, so banks aren't making risky gambles with depositor's money
- claw back fraudulently obtained money
- jail time and the threat of it to obtain witness testimony
- return homeowners' fraudulently obtained property
- rescue and refinance underwater homes at true valuations and fixed interest rates*
- make sure residents or veterans live in fraudulently (and other) foreclosed homes to reclaim neighborhoods
*Stephen Lerner of the SEIU estimates this could cost as little as $300 billion. See this excellent video interview beginning 30 minutes in.