…or lack thereof.
This is nuts. The Supreme Court seems uninterested in providing detainees with a fair trial or any trial at all, nor do they seem interested in whether or not America tortured people (which, quite obviously, we did). The rot introduced by Bush and Cheney and maddeningly continued by Obama (due to complete and total opposition to change, if you believe Kevin Drum) has spread so deep that it is probably impossible to remove.
Why did we decide that no one should ever be held accountable? For lying about the reasons behind starting a war, war crimes (torture), ignoring the judicial system (indeed now the judicial system ignoring itself), we decided no one should be held accountable. More broadly, we refuse to hold anyone accountable for the financial crisis, we refuse to take real steps to prevent a repeat. The pattern in this country over the past several years seems to be this:
Step 1. Obtain position of power.
Step 2: Fuck up royally.
Step 3: Obtain incredibly well paid cushy job doing basically nothing.
Step 4: Pat self on back, pass off consequences of royal fuck up onto others.
Step 5: Lather, Rinse, Cut Your Own Taxes, Repeat.
When it comes to, for example, offering relief to homeowners with underwater mortgages we don’t do it because of moral hazard. But it seems to me that allowing powerful politicians, CEO’s, and government officials complete immunity for their screw-ups is a far, far worse moral hazard. Worse than immunity, we reward them with taxpayer provided bonuses or cushy think tank positions! For the record I supported the bailout as an unfortunately necessary evil, but it should have come with accountability for the folks who knowingly ignored their fiduciary responsibility to make stupid bets. They should have been fired, fined, I don’t know, but instead we let them pay themselves bonuses with government funds! It should have come with unwinding “too big to fail”, but instead it’s business as usual.
Accountability, it seems, is only for scapegoats, low level folks who are dismissed to stoke some pointless fake-outrage-of-the-day, and people who get laid off due to idiotic austerity measures. See Steps 4 and 5, above.