Remember the Financial Crisis of 2008, when the shenanigans of Wall Street and the megabanks nearly crashed the global economic order? Remember the unfolding horror of families being put out on the streets, their possessions on their former front lawns? Remember the swift billions of tax payer dollars handed over to banks that were too big to fail, and the 10s and hundreds of millions of dollars quickly paid in bonuses to the very perpetrators, who were too big to jail – or as Matt Taibbi put it, “TOO SMUG TO JAIL”? Recent government figures put the cost to more than $20 trillion dollars, but how can one reckon the cost in human suffering? The soaring unemployment, the wiping out of retirement savings, the suicides, the massive transfer of wealth from the middle class and the most needy to the least needy? Remember President Obama telling the nation that, while what they did “was just immoral or inappropriate or reckless, a lot of that stuff wasn’t necessarily illegal”?
Our guest is Steven A. Ramirez, law professor and Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development, and Director of the Business and Corporate Governance Law Center, at Loyola University School of Law. He and his wife, Mary Kreiner Ramirez, who is a Law Professor at Washburn University School of Law, have co-written an eye-opening book, THE CASE FOR THE CORPORATE DEATH PENALTY: RESTORING LAW AND ORDER ON WALL STREET, just published by New York University Press. In it, they lay out precisely, and in great depth, how and why criminal charges can, and should, be brought for the fraud and malfeasance perpetrated on the American public, and indeed nearly destroying the world economic order, and yet not a single senior executive has been indicted on any criminal charges, although ample evidence was provided to the Department of Justice and other agencies with the power to penalize wrong doing. As they note, in many cases, the statute of limitations has not run out.
Professor Ramirez is well qualified to establish this, since he served as a Senior Attorney for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, as well as an Enforcement Attorney with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He has published extensively in the areas of law and economics, corporate governance and financial regulations. In addition to this latest book, THE CASE FOR THE CORPORATE DEATH PENALTY: RESTORING LAW AND ORDER ON WALL STREET, his books include, Lawless Capitalism: the Subprime Crisis and the case for an economic rule of law (NYU Press, 2013) and The Economics of Discrimination, in The Encyclopedia of Law and Society (2007)