"It used to be that if you committed a major financial fraud in the United States, you went to jail. In the late 1980s, there was, what was then considered a major financial crisis, caused by the collapse of the savings and loan industry, a collapse which had been brought about by a large quantity of fraud. Several thousand financial executives went to prison in the late 1980s. Several very senior Wall Street executives also went to prison for having assisted in this -- Michael Milkin, Ivan Boesky -- a large group of people went to prison.
Then in the aftermath of the dot-com bubble fewer people went to jail, but some people did go to jail. When Enron collapsed, the people who ran Enron went to prison, and the CEO of WorldCom went to prison. He's still in prison. Those things were far less extreme than what occurred here, with far fewer consequences.
... I think what's happened over the last 20 years roughly the financial industry has acquired so much political power that it now has impunity. Since we started having deregulation and financial crises, with each successive crisis the consequences were more severe and yet, fewer people went to prison."--Charles Ferguson, Director of Inside Job