In 2007, the rash decisions of investment bankers and mortgage firms such as Citigroup and Countrywide sparked the most devastating recession since the Great Depression.
The following year, my father lost his job as a result of the downturned economy. The resulting year and a half of unemployment was one of stress, tension and fear. My mother worked full-time as a yoga instructor, and my father continued the search for work. At the time, we lived in Orlando, Fla. and there was no work to be found.
In 2010, my father was offered a position at a commercial real estate firm in Phoenix. We were forced to move to Phoenix the summer before my junior year in high school.
While my situation was hard, it paled in comparison to the struggles that residents of Arizona were facing.
Arizona and Nevada were the centers for the housing bubble, and when the bubble popped, there were many victims: Families had their homes foreclosed, and many others were on their last limb.
My father is a hard worker and very skilled with what he does, sure, but the role that luck played in finding a job in the 2010 market is undeniable.
As of August, 7.3 percent of American citizens are out of work — unemployment figures for the month of September were unavailable because of the government shutdown that ended Oct. 16. This unemployment rate is lower than in 2010, when it reached 10.3 percent. On the one hand, the economy has seen steady improvement, but workers have been giving up on the job market and the workforce has been settling for part-time employment, as well.
As a result, U.S. citizens have lost their homes, their jobs and the faith they once had in U.S. financial institutions.
For a long time, the financial crash instigators on Wall Street have gotten away with their treachery — and for the most part, they still are.
Many of the CEOs involved in the financial crisis are still at large.
The fact that these businessmen could commit fraud at such a catastrophic level and get away with it never sat well with me, or with others. U.S. citizens cherish three concepts above all: justice, liberty and equality.
Despite your different takes on economic liberty and equality, this crime against the virtue of justice is one that cannot be forgiven, nor forgotten.
Luckily, it seems that the Department of Justice is still chipping away at these financial institutions.
On Sunday, information leaked of a tentative deal between the U.S. Justice Department and the investment bank JPMorgan Chase. The bank is being investigated for faulty and risky mortgages it sold to customers before the financial crisis.
The deal would cost JPMorgan Chase a record-setting $13 billion. Additionally, the deal would not absolve all of the individual offenders of JPMorgan that spurred the financial crisis.
While I am encouraged that some progress is being made in the name of justice against the pecuniary architects that inflicted this economic turmoil on the people of the U.S., I cannot help but think: Is it enough?
JPMorgan Chase has already set aside $23 billion dollars for legal fees to fight the Justice Department, and it seems that every step we take in the U.S. government points toward enabling big business to act without caution. Let’s hope the progress by the Justice Department continues as it fights this uphill battle against irresponsible banking practices that threaten individual Americans’ livelihoods.
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