After the Great Recession struck, many "Main Street" types of Americans were mad that the entire global economy managed to melt down without resulting in any "Wall Street" types of Americans being thrown in jail. Finally, the law on this point is changing.
Not here, of course. Oh no. Throwing wealthy financiers in jail simply for making business decisions that end up costing the taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars would be unAmerican and anti-competitive. Here in America we encourage an atmosphere of entrepreneurialism, thank you very much. But over in the UK, George Osborne, the "chancellor of the exchequer"— a fancy name for "government money bank regulator guy"— said today that he plans to adopt the recommendations of a government commission that said that bankers should be jailed for "reckless misconduct," a term broad enough to cover even normal business functions such as leveraging your bank until it collapses taking the entire national economy down with it. Huzzah! From The Independent:
[New laws] are to include a new offence of "reckless misconduct" for senior bankers, with those found guilty facing a possible jail sentence.
Mr Osborne also backed moves to allow bonuses to be deferred for up to 10 years and enable 100% "claw back" of bonuses where banks are propped up by the state.
This may be a complete smokescreen designed to placate the furious populists with little more than the far-fetched possibility of enforcement, without actually breaking up the banks, which is what really needs to be done. But it sure is nice to think about. Mmm, yeah.
How do you like the banking... IN JAIL? Mmm, yeah.