After the economy crashed in 2008, the United States clamored for a solution and eventually gave the big banks a $700 billion bailout, but the banks are still misbehaving. The crisis hit Iceland, and other countries. Instead of a bailout, Iceland let the big banks topple and threw banking criminals in jail, reported Vox.
Iceland let the banks go bust and financial thugs were prosecuted. America was afraid to do that because the country believed that letting the big banks fall would damage the economy even more. However, Iceland let the banks fall and things worked out fine.
The country let the value of the krona, Iceland’s currency, plummet and caused higher prices. This worked for Iceland because the “country’s export industries rapidly gained ground in international markets, and much like in America, unemployment increased but only peaked at 7.6 percent. American unemployment reached 10 percent.
Vox noted that the priority in America was to control inflation in order to protect the wealthy class. Iceland wanted to protect jobs and successfully did so. This year, Iceland’s inflation rate hit its lowest point since before the recession, about 2 percent.
Earlier this year, the Icelandic Supreme Court upheld the convictions of the country’s biggest banking criminals. Several CEOs from the country’s largest financial institutions were sentenced to between four and five years in prison. These criminals didn’t get off with just fines. They’re spending time in prison, the way it should be.
“This case . . . sends a strong message that will wake up discussion,” said special prosecutor Olafur Hauksson. “It shows that these financial cases may be hard, but they can produce results.”
Hauksson also stated that wealthy elites shouldn’t be exempt from the laws that the rest of society is subject to.
“Why should we have a part of our society that is not being policed or without responsibility?” he continued. “It is dangerous that someone is too big to investigate – it gives a sense there is a safe haven.”
Iceland has set a good example. America’s priority after the recession was to protect the rich, for better or worse. Iceland let the big back fall, and the country put its biggest financial criminals behind bars. The American government needs to stop coddling wealthy criminals and put them in prison.