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Pages tagged "Financial Crime"


Challenges await Australia’s new Tax Commissioner

by Miranda Stewart

In January 2013, Mr Chris Jordan AO starts as Federal Commissioner of Taxation in charge of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). He follows Mr Michael D’Ascenzo AO, who was not reappointed after his seven-year term.

Mr Jordan will be only the 12th Commissioner and only the second external appointment in the ATO’s history. All appointments have been male. The first Commissioner, George McKay, appointed from the New South Wales public service in 1910, seems to have died from overwork in 1917 after administering on a shoestring the federal land tax and income tax introduced in 1915 to help fund World War I. The next Commissioner, Robert Ewing, appointed an assistant commissioner to help. In his 22 year innings until 1939, Mr Ewing oversaw a new federal estate tax, payroll tax, and the turbulent time before World War II, when the federal government took over the income taxes of the States.

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Loud thunder, little rain: China’s new leaders target corruption

by Kenneth Chern

China’s new leaders are aware of the danger that corruption poses to the nation’s social stability and economic development.

But entrenched corruption at the local and national levels, including among the families and friends of those very leaders, will make it difficult for them to break the link between money and power that frustrates the masses but sustains the power of a Communist Party that long ago abandoned political belief for economic gain.

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The Unrepentant And Unreformed Bankers

By Phil Angelides

Money laundering. Price fixing. Bid rigging. Securities fraud. Talking about the mob? No, unfortunately. Wall Street.

These days, the business sections of newspapers read like rap sheets. GE Capital, JPMorgan Chase, UBS, Wells Fargo and Bank of America [2] tied to a bid-rigging scheme to bilk cities and towns out of interest earnings. ING Direct , HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank  facing charges of money laundering. Barclays caught manipulating a key interest rate, costing savers and investors dearly, with a raft of other big banks also under investigation. Not to speak of the unprecedented wrongdoing that precipitated the financial crisis of 2008.

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Two Peas in a Pod

By Thomas L. Friedman

The world’s two biggest democracies, India and the United States, are going through remarkably similar bouts of introspection. Both countries are witnessing grass-roots movements against corruption and excess. The difference is that Indians are protesting what is illegal — a system requiring bribes at every level of governance to get anything done. And Americans are protesting what is legal— a system of Supreme Court-sanctioned bribery in the form of campaign donations that have enabled the financial-services industry to effectively buy the U.S. Congress, and both political parties, and thereby resist curbs on risk-taking.

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Gamble responsibly? A mantra for profit

by Noel Preston

In an earlier piece critical of the social impact of gambling in Australia, I wrote: “Gambling creates a thirst for itself in the individual and spreads like a bushfire throughout the nation...Where is it all to end? Every added gambling facility has an effect like a rotten apple in a case...Australia faces a major problem in trying to stop a spreading contagion.

In fact I wrote this in an essay during my final year at Secondary School in 1959 – when there were hardly any pokies (or Electronic Gaming Machines as they are properly known). Fifty two years later my schoolboy forecast sounds contemporary as the Australian community debates policy proposals, spear-headed by Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, to limit the harmful impacts of pokies.

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Why we need nationalised Banks

by George Irvin 

As things stand, the banks are the permanent government of the country, whichever party is in power.” (Lord Skidelsky, House of Lords, Hansard Citation, 31 March 2011, c1359)

Everybody agrees that the next financial crisis is about to hit us …. bringing another economic crisis in its wake. The general view is that if we were able to prevent meltdown in 2008 by throwing money at the banks, this time the money will be more difficult to find. Unlike the last time, the OECD economies are stagnating, unemployment is high and there’s already much public anger about cuts, joblessness and bankers’ bonuses. [1]

Perhaps we should remember that in 2009, neo-liberalism was pronounced dead and buried. It was thought that a new, more thoughtful era was being born. It most certainly didn’t happen. Instead, European countries became more narrowly nationalistic and xenophobic, while the US gave the world the Tea Party. So there is good reason to believe that, as in the 1930s, economic crisis may strengthen the right more than the left. That’s one reason that progressives need to sloganise less (eg, it’s all due to greedy bankers) and think more about underlying causes.

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Let’s end corruption – starting with Wall Street

by Mark Engler

As the #OccupyWallStreet protests continue to grow,  bankers must be held to account for their ill-gotten gains.
It’s a favourite conservative ploy in the development debate: blame poverty on corruption.

When explaining why countries in the Global South face stark levels of inequality and deprivation, you just say it’s due to a common penchant for bribery and fraud. You treat it as a cultural deficiency.

Following this approach, institutions such as the World Bank trumpet their work in ‘good governance’ and anti-corruption. No need to examine the disastrous results of neoliberal policies such as privatization, deregulation and austerity. Nor do élites in wealthy countries have to acknowledge how foreign corporations have propagated kickbacks and cronyism. Instead, they can simply regard these as endemic to the darker continents.

Since 2008, not a single senior executive in the US banking industry has faced jail time for fuelling one of the largest financial crises in history.

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Occupy Wall Street: The Most Important Thing in the World Now

by Naomi Klein 

I was honored to be invited to speak at Occupy Wall Street on Thursday night. Since amplification is (disgracefully) banned, and everything I say will have to be repeated by hundreds of people so others can hear (a k a “the human microphone”), what I actually say at Liberty Plaza will have to be very short. With that in mind, here is the longer, uncut version of the speech.

I love you.

And I didn’t just say that so that hundreds of you would shout “I love you” back, though that is obviously a bonus feature of the human microphone. Say unto others what you would have them say unto you, only way louder.

Yesterday, one of the speakers at the labor rally said: “We found each other.” That sentiment captures the beauty of what is being created here. A wide-open space (as well as an idea so big it can’t be contained by any space) for all the people who want a better world to find each other. We are so grateful.

If there is one thing I know, it is that the 1 percent loves a crisis. When people are panicked and desperate and no one seems to know what to do, that is the ideal time to push through their wish list of pro-corporate policies: privatizing education and social security, slashing public services, getting rid of the last constraints on corporate power. Amidst the economic crisis, this is happening the world over.

And there is only one thing that can block this tactic, and fortunately, it’s a very big thing: the 99 percent. And that 99 percent is taking to the streets from Madison to Madrid to say “No. We will not pay for your crisis.”

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The four habits of highly successful social movements

by Ezra Klein

(On Monday, I asked Rich Yeselson for his thoughts on Occupy Wall Street. Yeselson, a research coordinator at Change to Win, is a skilled organizer and a thoughtful historian of social movements in America and Europe. On Tuesday, he sent over some notes, and I think they’re worth publishing in full. All opinions expressed here are his own. -- Ezra)

The Wall Street protests seem to be gathering strength and expanding beyond the geographic limits of downtown Manhattan. The media, too, is finally amplifying the story. Whether they will grow larger and sustain themselves beyond these initial street actions will depend upon four things: the work of skilled organizers; the success of those organizers in getting people, once these events end, to meet over and over and over again; whether or not the movement can promote public policy solutions that are organically linked to the quotidian lives of its supporters; and the ability of liberalism’s infrastructure of intellectuals, writers, artists and professionals to expend an enormous amount of their cultural capital in support of the movement.

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Wall Street: From Protest to Politics

by Robert Kuttner 

"There go my people. I must find out where they are going so I can lead them." --Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin, French politician (1807-1874).

When elected leaders largely ignore a disgrace like the financial collapse of 2008, sooner or later popular protest fills the vacuum. The Wall Street protests are heartening -- but also a measure of the utter failure of the usual machinery of democracy to remedy the worst pillaging of regular Americans by financial elites since the 1920s.

For three years, we have been wondering, where is the outrage? For a time, it was co-opted by the Tea Parties -- a faux populism, attacking government, financed by billionaires, delivering nothing to the 99 percent of Americans not represented by Wall Street. Now authentic protest directed against the real villains is finally here.

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