To the editor: Holding businesses and government accountable for the wrongdoing of individual workers is not working. When a banker commits fraud and the shareholders pay the penalty, there is no deterrent. When police assault a citizen and taxpayers cover the penalty, there is no deterrent. ("5 global banks to pay $5.7 billion in fines over currency manipulation," May 20)
When will individual accountability be restored?
We've decided to hold teachers and educators who cheat accountable, even stretching it into a more serious crime of racketeering that carries a long prison term, but we cannot do the same for the truly dangerous criminals who hold our economy and justice system hostage? We can't hold them accountable?
I guess the Department of Justice reasons these banks are too big to fail so they're too big to prosecute, and that police are generally capable of investigating themselves. I'm not buying it.
Shane Algarin, San Diego
To the editor: It's only coincidental, but curious, that while the banks are paying a hefty fine for causing, in large part, the financial crisis, we are experiencing another oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara County. It is likely that the company responsible will also be assessed a large financial penalty.
It's likely that in either case, no one will spend a night in jail.
Were I to enter a neighbor's house and trick him into giving me money, or were I to row out to sea and dump oil into the ocean, I probably would be assessed a fine and face jail time.
Michael Davidson, Altadena