The New York attorney general has declared war on JPMorgan Chase, suing the nation's largest bank to recover funds that investors lost on mortgage-backed securities created by Bear Stearns during the real estate bubble. Here's hoping the lawsuit finally exacts some accountability.
That lack of a judgment day lies at the heart of public anger over the Great Recession. Americans see that greedy mortgage lenders and Wall Street financiers created a money machine that made them filthy rich. But when the bubble burst, the banking system froze and the economy came crashing down, no one was forced to take a perp walk to the courts. The banks got federal bailouts but the culpable bankers got off scot free. Meanwhile, millions of other Americans got foreclosure notices, pink slips and decimated retirement accounts.
Anger at the injustice of it all underlies the vast, misplaced public resentment over the bailouts. It's the foundation of both the tea party and Occupy Wall Street. That resentment has created collateral damage by poisoning and distorting the nation's politics with simple-minded finger-pointing.