Where was Batman after the 2008 mortgage crisis?

The 2008 subprime mortgage crisis cost nearly ten million Americans their homes, pulled over two trillion dollars in retirement assets and threw nine million people out of work. Banking deregulation and reckless business practices played a big role in building this financial time bomb, as did fraud at multiple levels of the housing market, from lenders to rating agencies.

Many whistleblowers have come forward to report corporate wrongdoing, and the Department of Justice, then headed by Attorney General Eric Holder, conducted several investigations. Almost all of them had the same result: The companies under surveillance agreed to pay significant fines and regulations, and the federal government agreed to drop any civil or criminal cases that exposed (and possibly jail) malicious actors. specific. Despite all the chaos and damage caused by this system, only one banker has ever served his sentence because of his role in the subprime mortgage crisis.

Why have the highest levels of law enforcement favored settlements over prosecution? There is no one answer. A pragmatist would argue that regulation is more effective than hoping to convince a jury to appreciate the intricacies of mortgage disclosure requirements. A cynic would insist that powerful politicians do not want to exclude potential donors from the campaign. Both may be right, but we’re here to answer a question that has nothing to do with prosecutorial discretion or the burden of proof: How come Batman didn’t go after one of those poison ivy?

I mean, it’s not like Batman is terribly concerned about things like the admissibility of evidence, or civil liberties, or conviction rates. When the mobs in Gotham are untouchable because they paid the cops, prosecutors, and judges, Batman steps in. Serving as a guardian of justice when traditional mechanisms fail is its all-purpose because of baster.

So I ask again: why didn’t Batman sneak into JPMorgan on a rainy night and hang Jamie Dimon from a conference room window until he promises, I don’t know, to stop being Jamie Dimon? It’s not like these guys are scarier than the villains Batman usually faces. “YOU KNEW YOU ARE PACKAGING LOANS BASED ON THE INCOME OF A FALSIFIED BORROWER” isn’t super growling, sure, but the stakes were certainly high enough that the Dark Knight was interested! Weren’t they?

Well, the mortgage industry is quite complex, and that is before entering secondary markets like secured debt securities. Listen, Batman is the greatest sleuth in the world. He says it himself!

Are you really going to tell me that Elizabeth Warren – operating without the benefit of a single stylized boomerang that can target enemies and knock them out – got it all, but that of batman too clueless in front of a spreadsheet to see what was going on?

Bullshit.

So if Batman wasn’t both encumbered with red tape and able to understand the crimes that had been committed, there are only two explanations left for his inaction.

One: Batman has chosen not to take on the other members of the super-rich, once again proving that the power protects itself first and foremost. A tempting theory, but not really consistent with the Batman story; he regularly pursues bad guys with great wealth. Of course, Batman will happily break a henchman’s legs even if the guy probably makes $ 37,000 a year (and it’s not like working for the Joker comes with employer-provided health insurance. ), but net worth alone will not save you from Bat- anger.

Of them: Bruce Wayne knows that his wealth rests, in part, on the very financial schemes he would punish. Wayne Industries is a diverse company, so it has almost certainly invested at least a few million dollars in the housing market. And because Wayne is a bigger client than, say, a single mom who was confident he could buy a house with no down payment and finance the purchase with a balloon mortgage, her business likely had that money before that. the market does not collapse.

If Batman were to force banks to open their books for public scrutiny, it would bring attention to Wayne Industries’ finances. And if the wrong people started digging into Wayne Industries’ finances, they could reveal the river of money that keeps Batman running. That, in turn, would risk exposing Batman’s true identity.

This is why Batman did nothing after the global economy collapsed in 2008. Because he personally profited from the fraud that plagued the housing market, Batman effectively blackmailed himself into never intervene to punish the perpetrators.