The media and the country is agog over the four game suspension meted out to Tom Brady for the crime of deflating footballs. Brady and the Patriots cheated to win the Superbowl, but the most that they will “pay” is that Brady will be absent for the first four games of the upcoming season.
I can’t blame the Patriots or their owners, or their fans for being outraged. People in politics and finance have done far worse, wrecking the economy and destroying countless lives, and gotten away clean. Why punish a successful athlete who “did what it takes” to win?
Which brings me to a modest proposal. Treat bankers like athletes. No one really thinks that those fund managers and Bank executives who cynically manipulated (deflated?) mortgages and other products and defrauded investors will ever pay any price or go to prison. Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein and others are going to live out their lives as very rich men. So why not “suspend” them? Close Bank of America for four months, or four weeks, or four days, even. Annoy customers (I’m one of them) and inconvenience thousands. Maybe then, people will get angry enough to ask why petty criminals go to prison, and wealthy criminals in nice suits go to the Hamptons.