The people who run J.P. Morgan-Chase Bank must think Christmas came early this year. The Federal Government seized Washington Mutual Bank, with assets worth $300 billion, and sold it to Morgan-Chase for less than $2 billion. That's less than a penny on the dollar. The news stories say that included in those assets is $31 billion in losses. Well, okay, but that leaves approximately $269 billion that are not losses. So, if you pay two bucks for a three hundred dollar item, then pay 31 bucks to have it fixed, you're ahead 267 dollars, no? Math doesn't change when you add a bunch of zeroes to it, does it? Why the fire sale in the middle of the night? You think maybe someone else would have bid another few billion for those 267 billion dollars worth of solid assets?

But most of us are not finance industry professionals so presumably that's a naive view to compare a 300 dollar item to a 300 billion dollar item. The workings of the world of high finance are a mystery to most of us, and apparently also beyond the grasp of the current crop of corporate leadership in that industry judging by the rash of bank failures, takeovers, government bailouts and fire sales. Didn't there used to be a bunch of careful, pudgy guys with rimless glasses running the show in those businesses? People who crossed every t, dotted every i and would never dream of gambling like a drunken sailor with their investors' money? What happened to those guys?

When did the solid bankers get replaced with the greedy punks who are killing an industry? And if they screwed up so badly and broke all kinds of laws as they looted their companies' treasuries, why aren't they in handcuffs and why aren't their personal assets being seized? What about the RICO laws the Feds use to seize the ill-gotten assets of gangsters? Gangsters and drug dealers are small potatoes compared to these corporate princes. It looks to the untrained eye that a systematic and coordinated violation of the laws of the land in order to gain illegal profits has been going on for years, the definition of organized crime. And like a lot of mob organizations, there seems to be a lot of public officials on their payroll. How else could Morgan-Chase have made a $267 billion profit with the stroke of a pen in the middle of the night?

Why treat the CEOs and corrupt officials differently than mob bosses? If you believe the government's pitiful blathering on the subject, these corporate princes will hurt more Americans than any gangster organization ever has. With the gangsters, you have to seek out their services; drugs, gambling, prostitution and the like. The CEOs are running mainstream public institutions that everyone must deal with in the course of their ordinary lives. So, who's worse? Gangsters know exactly what business they are in and don't pretend otherwise. Corporate princes, on the other hand, have proven equally corrupt and amoral and yet insist upon being cloaked in a blanket of respectability, even of superiority as they approach the government for a handout not with hat in hand, but with threats and bully tactics.

To respond to these strong-arm tactics, lock them up, seize their assets and show them no one is above the law. Use the RICO statutes and give the real gangsters some company in Federal prisons. Instead of acting like Santa Clause coming early, the government should just throw them all in jail. Nobody's coming to the rescue of middle class people struggling mightily to make ends meet in an economy ruined by these clowns, so why worry about super-wealthy pigs who just might be criminals? You try pulling half the crap these guys have pulled and see how long it is before you're looking for a good defense attorney. And no one in the halls of government will move heaven and earth to help you. A bail out? You'll be lucky to make bail.

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