Goldman Sachs: Off the hook?

This video originally appeared on Aljazeera's website.

"It's another milestone in a sad story that we know all too well. We now have enterprises that are so big, so rich, that are so generous with their political contribution to both parties that when they get themselves into trouble, when they drag a whole economy into a fundamental crisis, we not only avoid punishing them for all that they have done, but we bail them out with billions or trillions of dollars to get them back on their feet ... it could not be a more graphic description of who in the end controls the political economy of the US and who pretends to on the other side."

- Richard Wolff, the author of Capitalism Hits the Fan: the Global Economic Meltdown and What to do About it

Goldman Sachs lost $1.2bn of its clients' money in the mortgage meltdown that started in 2007. But critics pointed to the firm's practices as key factor in the global economic crisis that continues today.

The decision not to prosecute Goldman Sachs or any of its employees comes after a year-long criminal investigation requested by a Senate committee.

According to the US justice department, there is no evidence Goldman or its employees acted criminally.

"Based on the law and evidence as they exist at this time, there is not a viable basis to bring a criminal prosecution,” the justice department said in a statement.

"If any additional or new evidence emerges, today's assessment does not prevent the department from reviewing such evidence and making a different determination, if warranted," it added.

Goldman Sachs welcomed the announcement, saying it was happy to put the issue behind them. But for Barack Obama, the US president, and other politicians, who promised to hold Wall Street accountable, the decision not to prosecute could be a liability moving forward on the campaign trail.

So why have none of the major players in the financial crisis been prosecuted? Who is to blame?

Joining Inside Story Americas to discuss this are guests: Richard Wolff, the author of the book Capitalism Hits the Fan: the Global Economic Meltdown and What to do About it; Bartlett Naylor, a financial policy advocate; and Maricruz Magowan, an economist based in Washington DC.

Visit Professor Wolff's social movement project,

Permission to reprint Professor Wolff's writing and videos is granted on an individual basis. Please contact to request permission. We reserve the right to refuse or rescind permission at any time.