America, Britain And The LIBOR Scandal

A reader writes:

Being on the continent between the time this scandal first broke and today, I find one peripheral fact very revealing: if we compare the UK "quality press" and official reaction to the scandal with that of the US media, there is a striking difference. We might call it an outrage deficit.

In the UK, it's all shock and outrage, resignations of course, followed by press for parliamentary examination and criminal investigation. Frankly, I'd say the UK reaction is just the sort of sensible thing you'd expect in a mature parliamentary democracy. The shock and outrage may indeed be a bit played to the camera, but it includes a fair appreciation of the importance of the deception that was played and the costs.

On the other hand, the US reaction verges on a colossal shrugging of the shoulders coupled with mild dismay.

Honestly, had this happened in New York rather than London, can anyone imagine that the CEO and CFO of the organization in question would have left, almost immediately? Never. Look at the JP Morgan Chase scandal for a comparable. The US financial institution would order some mid- and lower level employees to walk the plank, the executive would talk about some austerity and tightening up, would promise an internal probe (by some prominent law firm, which he would, of course, completely control), maybe he'd even forego some bonus component of his salary (though I doubt it) and he'd wait a few weeks for all to subside. The media wouldn't do much with it.

And could you imagine the US Attorney in Manhattan or the NY attorney general doing something? Not since the departure of Eliot Spitzer. It really shows the laxity, indeed the impunity of the elites in our system. And this is a BFD.