"Justice" continues to be a relative term in this country. If you ask me, the foundation the Department of Justice built to sue Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) is anything but "just". Regardless of what you think of BAC, the DOJ maneuvered around existing law which prevented them from suing the same company they bailed out. These laws were created for a reason. They went ahead anyway and obtained a judge's approval to sue. My response to the DOJ is just because a judge approved it does not make it right or "just". Anyone in charge with a clear sense of what justice is should clearly understand this. It's clear in my taxpayer opinion it is a conflict of interest to sue a company you bailed out, no matter how bad they are, and no matter who said it was O.K. to do. It has also become apparent in my opinion the DOJ is going after BAC with bias. No government has the right to go after any private company with bias, period, under any circumstance. With friends like this in our government, we don't need enemies. It is clear to me DOJ currently lacks the discipline and direction needed to achieve "just" outcomes. No matter what you may think of BAC, I think it's extremely important that people take a good look; this is what could happen if you fall out of favor. Next the DOJ will be (unjustly) bending the rules to get you! This is dangerous territory for these people to be exploring and a bad example to set. My mom always taught me you catch more flies with honey than you do with shit.
I believe the current path of justice in this case is not very helpful or productive for the broader economy. Our government lacks the understanding that some things are bigger than their ego's. In other words getting the economy going is far more important than any of the lawsuits they have brought against the bank to date. Not to mention the majority of people who committed the actual crimes are long gone. Justice would be better served by returning a healthy bank to the economy, which is exactly what the bailout law was intended to do. It is exactly what taxpayers paid for. Simple right? See it makes sense when you return the law to it's original intent. It's also exactly what the DOJ won't do. The result is more economic stagnation and discontent.
Bank of America before the crisis was the #1 Bank in America. It's really hard to even grasp what that means. What it simply means to me is it's bigger than any one person. It means do whatever it takes to make it fully functional again, not because we want to, not because we like it, but because it's much better to do so, than not. In other words the economy is better off with the bank running then it is without it, no matter what people think, our government thinks, or what I think. It's bigger than any one opinion. Once the government deems a company big enough to bail out, the only goal should be to regain full functionality as quickly as possible. The people who wrote the original bailout laws knew this and accepted this as the "right" way before this whole mess. They wrote it this way because it's the best way forward for the broader economy when it's a bailout situation. They also wrote it this way because if you didn't you wouldn't be bailing the company out. You would be letting them fail. A fully restored BAC after the past five years would only improve our current economy. In my opinion the current DOJ side stepped the most critical parts of the bailout laws? They have lawsuits against the same company they bailed out. In my opinion this is a direct conflict of interest? Am I wrong? If this is their idea of justice, I guess we have a ways to go.
People forget the majority of this crisis was caused by law (NAFTA) that shipped millions of good paying, middle class jobs out of the country over a very short period of time. Ross Perot at the time said NAFTA was going to make a "giant sucking sound" from jobs being sucked out of the country. It is exactly what happened. This is a place where we could have benefited from limiting or a slower, moderated implementation. I'm not saying NAFTA is all bad, there was just no implementation and it really cost this country. The crisis was not caused by one "big" company. It was our government who opened the flood gates to let all the jobs exit the country, all at the same time. People didn't default on loans because of big companies, they defaulted because they lost their jobs to "new" overseas competition or (NAFTA), which in turn brought the big companies down. Rocket Science? I think not. Think about how many of the jobs that were shipped overseas were used as income on loan applications for banks and I think you'll understand, millions. Then ask yourself why banks didn't want to loan to anyone because they didn't know who would be the next loan applicant to lose their job. We need to remember our government tends to see everyone except themselves as responsible for the crisis, much like the dysfunctional children they are. What are they doing to improve themselves? Nothing, except pointing their fingers in every direction and making unproductive law for others to follow.
People are saying companies are getting too big; we can't let them do that, split them up. To that I say, it is just plain un-American and lacks serious thought. It's the easy way out and it would take more law to split them up and the last thing we need is more law. Don't forget we put a man on the moon when we had a country that worked together. Just like everything that is better, it takes a little more work. Let's take a look at big company like Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), the company has an algorithm for growth like nothing we could have ever imagined. They grow today much like the spiders of their search engine, spawning new "things" out of every orifice. They are the people, true Americans, who are today's equivalent of yesterday's race to the moon, truly amazing. Google has already given me far more than my government ever will and they don't require payment. With size limits we may still think where Google is today could not be possible. Wait 10 years from now, let them be. Cooperation and understanding is much better. Just because we don't know how to manage something yet, doesn't mean we can't or we shouldn't try to learn how. Our mistakes are our most valuable learning experiences. We need to let big companies like Google and BAC continue to impress us, they need to figure out how to be big safely, and they will, if they ever get the government off their back. We need to understand they make mistakes too, some unintentional, imagine it. We cannot and it is not our right to unjustly stop them or stand in the way or split them up or hold them up, to me it's simply un-American. Try working with them for a change. Try befriending them? Did I swear? The minute we start to limit ourselves is the point at which we stop growing. The Government should think very carefully about limiting anything when they are applying regulation. Keep the pendulum very close to the middle and once you find the right balance don't move it.
As a tax payer I at least expect my justice system to be at an absolute minimum "just!" Again, at least! Is this too much to ask these days? Suing a company you bail out could never be "just" in my mind and really is extremely shady at best. Is it me? The law did agree with me at one point. All I can imagine is a cartoon where one hand of the government hands BAC bailout money, while the other hand beats them over the head and takes it back. It says "What's the point?" If you think anyone who really "needs" money is benefiting from these lawsuits, think again. They are suing for companies who had plenty to risk, weren't paying attention and do not want to take responsibility. Is this justice? I can think of better things to do with my tax dollars. They can justify it all they want in their minds. Admitting there is a problem is the first step and something I know they aren't mature enough to possibly do. To members of the DOJ remember when you feel like unjust is the only way; find the nearest Google nap station as fast as you can and start your day over, you'd be shocked how well it works! Might just make the difference next time, maybe it can prevent a tantrum or two, or who knows maybe even the next crisis. In the end U.S. Citizens are the only losers, of course as always, the people who bailed the bank out have yet to see the fully recovered bank they paid their government for.
VISIONS OF A BRIGHTER FUTURE
My final thought is this; I would like to invite the entire DOJ to travel with me to Colorado to vaporize a "Bone". We can change our perspective just a bit, I can look through your eyes, you can look through mine, together we can become stronger and we can see right in front of us exactly what "just" looks like! Come with me Big Brother and together we can experience why they call it "The Peace Pipe". It simply brings peace and compromise. Scared? Don't be! I have a feeling this could solve numerous problems. Current members of our government could really benefit from a few sessions of Advanced Compromise Therapy (aka. passing the peace pipe) it's "in" again, it's cool, hip, groovy and trendy. The great thing is it really works! Certainly nothing would be lost by understanding how one of the oldest tools for true peace and justice works. While you've been so focused on the banks a lot has changed, I understand if you have some catching up to do. In the meantime give America back the bank they paid for and deserve! You've had it five years, it's time for it to be America's Bank again! Rock on America, Rock On!
Disclosure: I am long BAC.