Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Criminalizing Financial Mismanagement

A nuance that has generally been missed about the recent episode allowing the banks to negotiate the outcome of the stress tests is the practical consequence to those responsible for running those institutions. In their discussions with their regulators, they cannot possibly have appropriately qualified their representations and negotiating positions to take into consideration all of the internally available information tending to question or undermine the assertions confidently made to, and taken at face value by, the federal civil servants who, if events do not play out as projected, will ultimately testify in criminal proceedings that they were not apprised on the information available to the defendants that contradicted or undermined their criminal misrepresentations. Let a lay jury determine, in light of subsequent events, whether criminal liability should attach to those conscious decisions to present without qualification unfounded hopes as though they were grounded in fact, rather than result-oriented self delusion.

Give the dialectic time to work out. The stakes are getting higher, and, like gamblers three sheets to the wind, the players aren't cognizant of it.

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