‘Take yes for an answer’

Sure, it’s better than nothing – but I don’t think it will solve that many problems:

Since details of the big foreclosure settlement began leaking out, liberals have been watching to see how New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman would react, as a sign of whether the deal is a giveaway to big banks — or whether it contains the promise of real accountability.

In an interview with me just now, Schneiderman — who has gained a national liberal profile for his insistence on true accountability for financial institutions — conceded the settment announced today was “small” in financial terms, given the struggles of underwater homeowners and people who lost their homes.

But he insisted that time will show that today’s settlement was a win — that it secured a framework that will ultimately result in a true accounting of the role big banks played in sparking the economic meltdown.

“This is a small step in an economy where we have $700 billion in negative equity, but it is a significant step,” Schneiderman said, in response to criticism that the $25 billion settlement was far too small given the injuries sustained.

“This is a down payment towards the overall goal of accountability, meaningful relief for those injured by the meltdown, and getting the facts out so we can ensure that this never happens again.”

Pressed on whether a settlement that could result in as little as $2000 per injured homeowner could really be called a victory, Schneiderman said the fact that banks had not obtained any immunity on pre-crash conduct would ultimately yield the fruits of a major victory for the left.

“The conduct that led to the crash is still fair game,” Schneiderman said. “I’m confident the releases are narrow enough so our investigation into misconduct should produce more significant relief going foward.”

Interestingly, Schneiderman vowed that if the task force to probe mortgage practices set up by the president — which he co-chairs — stalls or drags its feet, he would speak out publicly against it. Some critics, such as David Dayen, have expressed skepticism that it would have the resources and leeway it needs to secure real accountability.

2 thoughts on “‘Take yes for an answer’

  1. Call me old fashioned, an agreement between Washington and Wall street, done in a back room doesnt have the same impact that the 2008 scaredown, had to the citizens of the United States, when faced with the dire warning from Hank Paulson and Bernanke announcing within days we would have a total financial collapse, We watched the stock market gong down by 400 points, 600 points, banks collapsing, hysterical anchors, and fear and impotence at our kitchen tables. We slowly began to understand that Fed chairman Greenspan heralded on the TV, was very wrong, mistaken, and almost everyone in Congress was smart and informed to know how it would end up.
    Our families, and friends have faced unemployment. Our family and friends have faced foreclosure, local banks have closed their doors, shops have closed, and we still have fear. Living with this fear is an everyday occurance with frequent reminders of another hedge fund going broke, another bank closing, another business failing, and another property vacated in our neighborhood.

    So what did we expect to see? We expected to see something equally damaging to those regulatory agencies, financial institutions, Federal appointees, and congress people, who should have known, were inadequate, corrupt and greedy named in the papers, and TV, and endless discussions, on how this happened, why it happened, new laws or reconstituted laws to prevent it from happening again. We wanted punishment, redemption, and financial loss to those that created this problem. We wanted ethics, and morals, instead we got a fine, for some institutions, for the biggest of all crimes, and we still have no peace and security.

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