Taibbi tells Moyers: You can’t let Wall Street off the hook and jail someone for ‘a joint in his pocket’
President Barack Obama’s administration, journalist Matt Taibbi said in an interview with Bill Moyers, has likely accepted the explanation made by advisors who used to work at the same Wall Street firms that instigated the U.S. economy’s instability in recent years.
“People like Bob Rubin and Larry Summers, who are close confidantes of the Obama administration, are probably telling them, ‘Look, if we start prosecuting all kinds of people for X, Y and Z, there’s gonna be major instability in the markets, people are gonna flee America, they’re gonna withdraw capital from the American financial system, it’ll be a disaster, jobs will be lost” Taibbi told Moyers in a clip only released online on Friday. “But it’s just not an acceptable explanation.”
In 2009, Taibbi predicted involving people with connections to Rubin in matters of policy would be a bad idea, writing:
Rubin probably more than any other person — single person — was responsible for the financial crisis by deregulating the economy in the White House. He also had a major role in helping to destroy one of the world’s biggest companies. You know, Citigroup. He has like one of the worst track records you can possible find in the country and yet he was the guy who was basically the architect of the entire Obama policy. Obama put him in charge of everything. The crew that’s running the policy in the White House is basically all tied to Bob Rubin.
The problem with letting the economic foxes run the henhouse, Taibbi told Moyers, is that it led to an overall degradation of the rule of law.
“If you’re going to put somebody in jail for having a joint in his pocket, you can’t let higher ranking HSBC officials off for laundering $800 million for the worst drug dealers in the entire world — people who are suspected, not only of dealing drugs, but of thousands of murders,” Taibbi said. “This is an incredible dichotomy, and eventually it eats away at the very fabric of society when some people go to jail and some people go to jail.”
Watch this clip of Moyers’ chat with Taibbi, posted online on Friday, below.