While the angry left seems to get angrier by the day, America should make no mistake that working folk, the people who put Trump in office, remain angry, too. Their disgust with the establishment is clearly durable. It stretches at least as far back as the financial crisis of 2008-09 and finds reason in the question: why have we seen no prosecutions?
For years, Obama’s Washington hurled recriminations at the financial community for all the harm that it had done. That group suggested that greed and incompetence together had created a colossal lapse of standards and financial irresponsibility surrounding sub-prime mortgage losses. Yet, these same authorities put no one in the dock. Instead, Washington used taxpayer money to secure firms and by implication the individuals who run them. Few companies have faced bankruptcy. Boards of directors, those who by custom and law are ultimately responsible, have seen little turnover, barely 10 percent in fact. It does seem strange.
Media discussion has floated several explanations of why no prosecutions have taken place. These depend largely on the political biases and the economic status of the speaker. Those close to the decision makers, condescendingly explain that matters are complex. They tell us that the substitution of rescue for legal action was all that kept the crisis from spinning out of control and that in any case it would have been impossible to identify which individuals were responsible. Folks without status and position — Trump supporters on the right and Sanders supporters on the left — tell us that politicians went easy on financial executives because they belong to the same moneyed class, that politicians wanted to protect the flow of campaign contributions. Though there is some truth in this, the real story speaks to even greater corruption.
Matters indeed were and are complex but not in the way that the authorities and senior financial executives say. The problem is that the political class was and is afraid that prosecutions, even bankruptcy proceedings, would reveal how thoroughly their policies and directives contributed to the crisis.