How ‘Too Big to Jail’ Will Haunt the 2016 Election

WASHINGTON — In the roughly seven years since the failure of Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns and the near-failure of many of the largest U.S. financial institutions, it is abundantly clear that criminal or civil charges against individuals related to the 2008 meltdown are never going to come.  Former Attorney General Eric Holder said in February that, as one of his final acts as the nation’s top prosecutor, he was asking his deputies to identify any individuals who should be charged individually for actions related to the crisis within 90 days. His comments, notably, weren’t made in an announcement at all, but instead were in response to a question from the audience — almost as an afterthought. That 90-day window expired in May without any new charges being brought… Karen Shaw Petrou, managing partner of Federal Financial Analytics, said that public distrust of humiliated areas of the economy — the auto industry in the 1980s, trial lawyers in the 1990s, and so on — tends to remain intense until it is dethroned by the next scandal. When or how that may occur, and whether the distrust of the banking sector will be strong enough to affect the 2016 election cycle, is hard to predict, she said.  “These things tend to have a life of their own,” Petrou said. “It could simply be that a new scandal comes along and takes the attention off of the banking industry. These things tend to move from sector to sector, where bad boys — and they are mostly boys — tend to congregate in a rotating fashion.”