Notwithstanding my relative optimism about the financial reform legislation in congress, the fact remains that there’s a lot of rot in our political system and our elite culture has entered a bizarre accountability-free zone. Compare our situation to what’s happening in Iceland:
Last Monday, a special investigative committee released a much-anticipated report that analyzed events in the nation’s public and private sectors that led to the bank failures. The report, which ran more than 2,300 pages, accused seven government officials, including the former prime minister and the former head of the central bank, of acting with “negligence” in their oversight of the financial sector.
The findings prompted three members of Parliament to take leaves of absence pending the outcome of a parliamentary review of the report. More are expected.
“We thought we were living in this well-ordered society, a respected member of the Nordic countries, stable, well-organized, well-behaved, deeply democratic and certainly not corrupt,” Jon Baldvin Hannibalsson, a former foreign affairs minister and ambassador to Washington said in an interview Sunday. “This investigation showed a totally different picture.”
The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission is doing some good stuff, but there’s just no comparison.