by James Corbett, The International Forecaster:
I received an E-mail the other day from a reader, after I mentioned the incredible fines that were going to be placed upon Volkswagen for fiddling with their emissions software: Dear Bob, I have a question: Why is the US currently massively fining European institutions and companies? Is there a history to this or is it ‘new’? Maybe you could explain this in detail in one of your newsletters. Kind regards and thanks, Patrick.
I can indeed Patrick. Let’s follow a couple plots here. First I want to start with General Motors. GM went ahead and put cars on the road that they KNEW had faulty ignition switches. A lousy 1 dollar part, but a part so incredibly important, that if it failed, your car shuts off. No power, no airbags, no power brakes, basically a car coasting along.
The big problem I have with it is that GM KNEW they had a problem. But they selling cars, and didn’t institute a recall. Depending on who’s numbers you want to use, the confirmed deaths range from a low of 129, to over 300 because of failed air bag deployment in crashes. The bottom line is that people died in cars produced with a KNOWN defect.
Let’s see what the Director of Auto safety had to say…. “GM killed over 100 people by knowingly putting a defective ignition switch into over 1 million vehicles. Yet no one from GM went to jail or was even charged with criminal homicide,”
“This shows a weakness in the law, not a weakness in the facts,” he said. “GM killed innocent consumers. GM has paid millions of dollars to its lobbyists to keep criminal penalties out of the Vehicle Safety Act since 1966. Today, thanks to its lobbyists, GM officials walk off scot-free while its customers are 6 feet under.”
– Clarence Ditlow, executive director at the Center for Auto Safety.
So, General Motors gets to kill people, and guess what their Fine was? 900 million dollars, no criminal penalty and a promise to do better next time.
Let’s move along… Fortune magazine reports: On Monday afternoon, Thomas Lund [one of the highest ranking former officials of Fannie Mae] settled charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission back in 2011 that he helped deceive shareholders of Fannie Mae in the run-up to the financial crisis.
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