What about the bankers whose widespread mortgage fraud led to the great recession and the foreclosure on many thousands of family homes? What about the brokers who touted financial instruments they knew were lousy, which – in fact – they were betting against in their own accounts, to customers such as trusts, endowments and pension funds? What about all the scalping, usury, extortion and broken contracts perpetrated on the public by corporations whose executives and agents wine, dine and lose at poker and golf to our elected representatives in Congress? Oh, sure – occasionally, someone (something, until the Citizens United decision gave corporations the status of people) gets fined an amount with what in a headline seems like a significant number of digits, but which in reality only adds a bit to operating expenses which will be gouged back from customers or taxpayers. No one is going to jail, however, except insider traders.
So what’s going on?
The rules that insider traders are breaking are the rules of the exclusive game the big boys play. That is why the plutocracy allows, encourages, law enforcement to go after them. It doesn’t make a bit of difference to the average American, even if he owns some stocks and bonds, if Ravi Raskalnikov cheats the system and sells five million shares of Tymapfit (Take Your Medicine And Pay For It) before Moishe Cabot-Lodge reads about the drug’s latest test failure in the investors newsletter he pays ten grand a month for. But it sure burns up Cabot-Lodge and his fellow billionaires.
The vigorous and well-publicized prosecution of insider trading is simply another indication that we live under a government of, by and for the one per-cent. Insider trading, which harms only a small number of well-heeled folk, should have the lowest priority in attorneys general’s triage of white collar crimes.