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Matt Taibbi: Bush far tougher than Obama on corporate America


Journalist Matt Taibbi was on Democracy Now today promoting his new book The Divide, and Amy Goodman asked him which of the last two presidents has been harder on corporate crime:

Goodman: Who was tougher on corporate America, President Obama or President Bush?

Taibbi: Oh, Bush, hands down. And this is an important point to make, because if you go back to the early 2000s, think about all these high-profile cases: Adelphia, Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, Arthur Andersen. All of these companies were swept up by the Bush Justice Department. And what's interesting about this is that you can see a progression. If you go back to the savings and loan crisis in the late '80s... we put about 800 people in jail during — in the aftermath of that crisis. You fast forward 10 or 15 years to the accounting scandals, like Enron and Adelphia and Tyco, we went after the heads of some of those companies. It wasn't as vigorous as the S&L prosecutions, but we at least did it. At least George Bush recognized the symbolic importance of showing ordinary Americans that justice is blind, right?

Fast forward again to the next big crisis, and how many people have we got — have we actually put in jail? Zero... nobody went to jail, so that we're now in a place where we don't even recognize the importance of keeping up appearances when it comes to making things look equal.

Watch below, starting about 49 minutes in. (H/T Talking Points Memo) --Ryan Cooper