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Descripción de editorial
How ordinary Americans suffer when the rich and powerful break the law to get richer and more powerful--and how we can stop it.
There is an elite crime spree happening in America, and the privileged perps are getting away with it. Selling loose cigarettes on a city sidewalk can lead to a choke-hold arrest, and death, if you are not among the top 1%. But if you're rich and commit mail, wire, or bank fraud, embezzle pension funds, lie in court, obstruct justice, bribe a public official, launder money, or cheat on your taxes, you're likely to get off scot-free (or even win an election). When caught and convicted, such as for bribing their kids' way into college, high-class criminals make brief stops in minimum security "Club Fed" camps. Operate the scam from the executive suite of a giant corporation, and you can prosper with impunity. Consider Wells Fargo & Co. Pressured by management, employees at the bank opened more than three million bank and credit card accounts without customer consent, and charged late fees and penalties to account holders. When CEO John Stumpf resigned in "shame," the board of directors granted him a $134 million golden parachute.
This is not victimless crime. Big Dirty Money details the scandalously common and concrete ways that ordinary Americans suffer when the well-heeled use white collar crime to gain and sustain wealth, social status, and political influence. Profiteers caused the mortgage meltdown and the prescription opioid crisis, they've evaded taxes and deprived communities of public funds for education, public health, and infrastructure. Taub goes beyond the headlines (of which there is no shortage) to track how we got here (essentially a post-Enron failure of prosecutorial muscle, the growth of "too big to jail" syndrome, and a developing implicit immunity of the upper class) and pose solutions that can help catch and convict offenders.
Taub, a law professor at Western New England University, examines the adverse impacts of white collar crime on American society in her eye-opening and well-informed debut. Citing FBI statistics, Taub notes that fraud, embezzlement, and other white collar crimes cost victims $300 billion to $800 billion per year, while street-level property crimes total $16 billion annually. She discusses corporate crime waves in U.S. history, examines the laws put in place to combat them, and argues that "white collar crime is on the rise and criminal enforcement has cratered" since the 2008 financial crisis. Taub blames the current state of affairs on lack of prosecutorial muscle, "mutually assured immunity for the upper classes" (Democrat and Republican alike), and greater judicial discretion in sentencing white collar crimes compared to other offenses. Her examples of corporate crimes include a "pay-to-play" bribery scheme involving a portfolio manager for the New York State Common Retirement Fund, Purdue Pharmaceutical's false claims about the addictiveness of OxyContin, and a 60 Minutes story on the willingness of American lawyers to facilitate foreign money laundering. Taub's detailed solutions includes a new division within the Justice Department to focus on prosecuting white collar criminals and restoring funding to the IRS. Backed with hard evidence and firm conviction, this is a powerful and persuasive call for reform.