- The appointment of Bill Black to a position in which he can investigate white-collar crime, accompanied by the resources necessary for him to be effective.
This is a short wishlist. But it is one that is achievable and will potentially make a huge difference for this country's future.
Why it is important: We bailed out a massive sector of our economy. When we did that, we perpetuated systemic problems that would have been subject to a natural elimination process. The bailouts prevented honest entrepreneurs from taking control of mismanaged resources.
Once we prevented the bank failure from running its course, it became ever more necessary for our justice system to investigate the actions of individual bad actors. Those investigations never took place.
Why it has to be on our wishlists now: The further away we get from the actions leading up to the crisis, the more difficult investigations become. Memories fade. Evidence disappears. Immunity is sought. Time is the friend of the criminal defense attorney.
Why 2012 is an opportunity: This is a presidential-election year. Candidates are interested in what we voters have to say... right up until that vote is cast. After that, they will again be beholden to the money interests that secure their re-elections.
How to make it happen: We have to communicate this idea to candidates. And we must do so with a message that is simple, concrete, measurable, and as uncontroversial as possible. If you are already familiar with the name Bill Black, you are a member of a very small minority of people in this country. We have to change that.
The message: I am open to ideas in terms of what the message should be, but here is a prototype:
- "I want to vote for a candidate who is committed to bringing Bill Black into a position in which he has the authority and resources to conduct investigations into the activity that led to the financial crisis."