www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Official welcome -11/20/2014, 9:52 AM

Control freaks in the U.S. -11/20/2014, 1:24 PM

How did we get here? -11/20/2014, 9:52 AM

An open letter to the GOP -11/19/2014, 10:03 AM

Successful farming -11/19/2014, 10:03 AM

Getting personal -11/18/2014, 9:15 AM

Teachers, not facilities -11/18/2014, 9:15 AM

Schoolteachers and the Legislature -11/18/2014, 9:06 AM

Water vision -11/18/2014, 9:06 AM

I see wonderful things -11/17/2014, 9:26 AM

Politics prevail over truth in Kansas elections -11/17/2014, 9:26 AM

Progress at mall -11/16/2014, 5:22 PM

Opinions on the general election -11/16/2014, 5:22 PM

Why are schools afraid of freedom? -11/16/2014, 5:22 PM

Educational fraud -11/14/2014, 9:42 AM

The American public gets smart -11/14/2014, 9:41 AM

State revenue -11/13/2014, 4:48 PM

Staying positive -11/13/2014, 2:14 PM

Democracy delusions -11/13/2014, 2:14 PM

An awesome tribute -11/13/2014, 2:14 PM

Military underpaid -11/12/2014, 2:15 PM

Success for Moran -11/12/2014, 11:54 AM

Shop wisely when you go -11/12/2014, 11:53 AM

2014: The year of no ideas -11/12/2014, 11:52 AM

Veterans Day -11/11/2014, 10:13 AM

A new start for veterans' health care -11/11/2014, 10:13 AM

Awaiting Brownback's mark -11/11/2014, 10:13 AM

Roberts and catcalls heard 'round the world -11/10/2014, 9:18 AM

Honoring all who served -11/10/2014, 9:18 AM

Brownback coalition prevails -11/9/2014, 6:03 PM

Seeing the news is necessary -11/9/2014, 6:02 PM

Immigration reform -11/9/2014, 6:02 PM

Scholar-athlete charade -11/7/2014, 8:32 AM

How about a beer and a short break? -11/7/2014, 8:32 AM

Fighting poverty -11/7/2014, 8:32 AM

Voting his mind, apparently -11/6/2014, 9:51 AM

Electing liberty -11/6/2014, 9:50 AM

UNC's troubles -11/6/2014, 9:50 AM

Fast-food pay -11/5/2014, 2:32 PM

Oil, natural gas driving security -11/5/2014, 10:20 AM

Ellis' future -11/5/2014, 10:19 AM

Family ties -11/5/2014, 10:19 AM

Quarantine questions -11/4/2014, 10:03 AM

Counting non-voter votes -11/4/2014, 10:03 AM

Low blows -11/4/2014, 10:03 AM

Take country back -11/3/2014, 4:36 PM

Big First Tea Party endorses Roberts -11/3/2014, 4:36 PM

Changing times -11/3/2014, 4:27 PM

Elect an Independent -11/3/2014, 4:27 PM

Leiker excels -11/3/2014, 4:27 PM

Watching decline -11/3/2014, 4:27 PM

Lack of respect -11/3/2014, 9:58 AM

Holding memories for Aunt Millie -11/3/2014, 9:53 AM

Playing the game -11/3/2014, 9:53 AM

Vote responsibly -11/3/2014, 9:53 AM

Sherow is change -11/3/2014, 9:53 AM

Silly season and cynical strategies -11/3/2014, 9:52 AM

No endorsement -11/3/2014, 9:52 AM

Thank you, Hays -11/3/2014, 9:52 AM

Another Koch division? -11/2/2014, 5:09 PM

A Matter of truth -11/2/2014, 5:09 PM

-11/2/2014, 5:09 PM

Leiker for House -11/2/2014, 5:08 PM

Bottom of barrel -11/2/2014, 5:08 PM

Candidate asks for support -11/1/2014, 5:09 PM

Roberts serves Kansas -11/1/2014, 5:09 PM

Face of the experiment -10/31/2014, 4:36 PM

Leiker fits the bill -10/31/2014, 4:18 PM

Ellis has a choice -10/31/2014, 3:06 PM

Health-care truth -10/31/2014, 2:55 PM

Dropping the ball -10/31/2014, 2:55 PM

Governor's tricks -10/31/2014, 2:44 PM

Ballot measures -10/31/2014, 11:10 AM

Marijuana debate -10/30/2014, 2:44 PM

Republican crossover -10/30/2014, 2:35 PM

Roberts not the answer -10/30/2014, 10:25 AM

See the signs -10/30/2014, 10:23 AM

Incumbents always win -10/30/2014, 10:23 AM

Convention center -10/30/2014, 10:23 AM

Schodorf for SOS -10/30/2014, 10:14 AM

Supermarket shenanigans -10/29/2014, 10:19 AM

Americans can fix the Senate -10/29/2014, 10:19 AM

A plea to city commissioners -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Having no price tag -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Leiker understands -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Justice doing his job -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Kansas and Greg Orman -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

'Surplus' KDOT money needed in western KS -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Ready for a budget spin -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Dishonest mailing -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Changing Republicans -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Follow the votes -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Shameful attempts -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Slanderous ads repulsive -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Medicare experiment -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Profile, or die -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Important issues -10/27/2014, 10:01 AM

Politics at their finest -10/27/2014, 10:01 AM

Most important election -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Enough is enough -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Big banks settling

Published on -8/22/2014, 10:16 AM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

On Thursday, the U.S. Justice Department announced the largest-ever civil settlement with a single entity when Bank of America agreed to pay $16.65 billion.

The settlement was in response to multiple lawsuits filed in the wake of the country's mortgage crisis that led to the Great Recession. Bank of America, plus its subsidiaries Country Financial Corp. and Merrill Lynch, are paying the price for their roles in selling risky and mostly worthless mortgage-backed securities, and for their loan practices.

"Bank of America profited by misleading investors about the risky nature of the mortgage-backed securities it sold," California Attorney General Kamala Harris said in a statement.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said "when confronted with concerns about their reckless practices -- bankers at these institutions continued to mislead investors" and approve "loans with fundamental credit, compliance and legal defects."

While the settlement is the largest, it isn't the only punishment being meted out to financial institutions that helped cause the nation's worst economic times since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

BoA already had been fined $1.3 billion because of Countrywide's fraudulent mortgage program internally known as "the hustle." Bank of America also has agreed to pay $5.8 billion for the toxic mortgage securities it, Countrywide and Merrill Lynch sold to the government-sponsored Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac programs.

Last month, Citigroup settled for $7 billion because its agents sold defective mortgage investments during the subprime housing boom as well. Last year, JPMorgan Chase & Co. agreed to a $13 billion settlement to resolve a similar dispute.

On its face, all of the settlements sound great. There has been a diligent effort made by state and federal officials to hold accountable all the companies whose lustful pursuit of profits and bonuses resulted in severe damage to not only the U.S. economy but most global markets as well. Household wealth in this country alone fell by approximately $16.4 trillion when the artificially inflated housing market crashed and stock prices plummeted.

That number bears repeating. Americans lost $16.4 trillion in net worth between the spring of 2007 and early 2009. The less than $50 billion in settlements does not even pretend to make up for the losses incurred by ordinary citizens who fell victim to somebody else's greed. Not even close. The settlements don't even address the number of home foreclosures, bankruptcies, devastated retirement plans and lost jobs as the national economy ground to a halt.

Economists and financial planners will tell you net worth has been regained -- and then some. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier in March that by the end of 2013, that net worth was hitting record highs in excess of $80 trillion. Home values are rising modestly, but the primary driver has been record-high stock prices.

We must emphasize who owns stocks. No less than 80 percent of the entire market is claimed by the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans. Which implies the only people who have recovered from the recession are the rich. Your average U.S. citizen has recouped less than 50 percent of their losses from the recession. That, in turn, further increases the wealth disparity that already had been causing unrest in America.

So when state and federal governments continue to pander to the interests of "job-creators" and wealthy concerns, we hope regular people pay attention. Most of the policies and programs intended to improve the economy center on the class that already has recovered its money and more. The vast majority of us still struggle to regain our meager footholds, yet elect politicians resolved to further widen the wealth and income gaps.

Justice is not being served by the settlements agreed to by the offending financial institutions. Their collective behavior was criminal, yet nobody is going to jail. The corporate "persons" simultaneously are being given even more freedom to exploit the working class.

Unfortunately, we have nobody to blame but ourselves.

Editorial by Patrick Lowry

plowry@dailynews.net

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos

AP Breaking News
AP Nation-World News

View this site in another language.

Kansas News