Will The Attorneys General Sell Out Pension Funds?
A shocking aspect of the proposed foreclosure fraud settlement among Bailed-Out Banks, the state attorneys general, and the Feds has rightly gotten a lot of attention, namely the Bailed-Out Banks’ ability to use other people’s money to pay their “penalty.” I confess, when I first heard about it, I figured it was a testament to the federal government’s craven capitulation to the Bailed Out Banks. (Let’s call them the B.O.B.s, rhymes with S.O.Bs.) But now I know it’s much worse than that, thanks to excellent reporting by David Dayen. The federal government really wants the B.O.Bs to use pension fund money to pay their “penalty.”
Now, readers know I’m not exactly a Pollyanna, but I feel like one now. See, I thought our federal government understood that the right way to penalize someone with a fine was to actually make them pay the bill. I thought the feds realized the best way to punish the banks was to have them cough up cash into a BP spill-type fund, and have 50 special masters (one per state) use it to pay down mortgages, thereby punishing banks and helping homeowners. I just figured the Feds had rushed things so much, doing essentially no investigation, that they didn’t have the goods to leverage a better deal. But no. The Feds see the banks’ ability to spend firefighters’, teachers’ and cops’ money as a design feature, not a flaw.
(Yes, private investors besides pension funds are affected too; more on that later. I am fixating on the pension funds because ATTORNEYS GENERAL USUALLY PROTECT STATE PENSION FUNDS FROM THEFT.)