Friday, May 10, 2013

It Is Always the Little Guy

Trey Smith

The Mexican drug cartels have caught the headlines again and again due to their murderous activities. The war between the different drug cartels and the war between the cartels and government security forces has spilled the blood of tens of thousands of innocent people. The drug cartels would find it much harder to profit from their murderous activity if they didn’t have too big to fail banks willing to wash their dirty money.

In March 2010 Wachovia cut a deal with the US government which involved the bank being given fines of $160 million under a ”deferred prosecution” agreement. This was due to Wachovia’s heavy involvement in money laundering moving up to $378.4 billion over several years. Not one banker was prosecuted for illegal involvement in the drugs trade. Meanwhile small time drug dealers and users go to prison.

If any member of the public is caught in possession of a few grammes of coke or heroin you can bet your bottom dollar they will be going down to serve some hard time. However, if you are a bankster caught laundering billions of dollars for some of the most murderous people on the planet you get off with a slap on the wrist in the form of some puny fine and a deferred prosecution deal.
~ from Money Laundering and The Drug Trade: The Role of the Banks by Dylan Murphy ~
The so-called Drug War suffers from the same problem as the fight against illegal immigration: Our government goes after the little guy and let's the big boys walk.

For government leaders from both corporate parties, illegal immigration is a HUGE problem. They talk incessantly about various plans to secure our borders to insure that folks from down south -- those simply looking for jobs and a better life -- are barred from illegally walking over the border. We build walls and fences. We have armed guards -- the Border Patrol -- in the thousands monitoring our southern border. Helicopters, planes and probably drones fill the skies.

And yet, illegal immigration remains a problem. Why? Because almost all of our various strategies are aimed at the individual immigrants themselves, NOT the people who hire them. If we genuinely were serious about stopping illegal immigration, the government would go after the factory farms and big corporations who regularly employ "illegals." If we threw a few of the offending corporate honchos in jail and levied significant fines against their companies, it would send a chill up the spine of their compatriots.

But we don't do that because our economy NEEDS illegal immigrants. It is because of them that our food prices are kept far lower than they would be otherwise. It is also true that illegal immigrant workers enrich the corporate honchos who hire them by keeping labor costs low.

In this same vein, our government drops the hammer on citizens and residents who purchase small amounts of illegal drugs, while turning a blind eye to the banks who launder drug money. In the deal mentioned by Murphy above, Wachovia agreed to pay a fine equal to around 0.0004% of their ill-gotten gains. To put that percentage in perspective, that would be like someone being fined 4 pennies for stealing $100! That is not a strong deterrent by ANY stretch of the imagination.

When a rational person looks at who our government prosecutes in terms of illegal immigration and drugs, it becomes more than obvious that they aren't serious about stopping either. When huge sums of money are involved, politicians -- despite what they say -- don't really want to turn off the golden spigot.

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