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Bank heist fantasies find an outlet

A new reporton the Troubled Asset Relief Program revealed this week that American taxpayers are still on the hook for billions of dollars sunk into bailed out banks. Meanwhile, more than four years since the financial crisis, not one senior Wall Street executive has faced criminal prosecution for fraud despite widespread allegations that bankers ignored pervasive fraud when buying pools of mortgages. It's little wonder some of us have been dreaming of robbing banks.

Capturing this sentiment, a group of California artists launched a bank heist competition, inviting entrants to dream up and plan out bank robberies. The idea, according to the cultural collective behind the competition, Center for Tactical Magic, is to "re-visit the romantic representation of bank robbers in relation to the current economic and social crises, including: income disparity, unemployment, housing foreclosures, federal bailouts, the LIBOR scandal, and a wealth of other egregious economic indicators." It's a playful idea with a $1,000 cash prize for the best heist proposal, which of course does not ask for real bank heists to be carried out, but raises interesting questions about legality and justice in this time of Wall Street malfeasance and impunity.

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