A Potent Illustration of the Problem With Our Country

By: inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

Enron was one of the biggest scandals to ever hit the business world. The failure of Lehman Brothers directly caused the financial crisis from which the United States is still feeling the effects. One would think that the directors of these failed firms – the worst failures in this decade – would have been punished by the market for their poor oversight.

Apparently not. This article indicates that many of directors on these failed companies have prospered quite nicely:

A few of the directors conveniently omit Enron from their biographies, but they do not appear to remain tainted, staying in their chosen professions…

The experiences of the Enron directors over the last decade would appear to offer great hope to the directors of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers.

…the Bear and Lehman directors are returning to public company service even quicker than the Enron directors. In part this reflects the old boy network on Wall Street, which keeps people in the same positions because of friendships. It is not a coincidence that two former Bear Stearns directors serve on the Viacom board.

The trend also underscores the decline in the importance of reputation on Wall Street — even since the time of Enron. Prior bad conduct simply is often not viewed as a problem.

The fact that these people have done so well constitutes a potent illustration of the problem ailing the United States. Simply put, the corporate world is no longer in any sense accountable to succeeding or failing. CEOs like Mitt Romney can personally lead firms to ruin and yet still get paid incredibly handsome “golden parachutes.” Meanwhile inequality continues to increase at an inexorable rate and the economy continues to flounder.

Reading about the denizens of big business succeeding to this extent while America as a whole flounders really strikes a bone of contention with me. There are few words in the English language to describe the wrongness of what is happening – how people who singlehandedly fail at everything that they are supposed to do still get tens of millions of dollars.

Here is one: unjust.

 

 

Small Government: One Small Fly in the Ointment

Conservatives – especially their tea partying faction – are yelling, “Hell no! We won’t grow!” in their quest for government with a microscopic “G”. Their biggest quibble with St. Ronnie of Reagan’s government isn’t the solution, it’s the problem mantra was that he didn’t lay off the entire government (except for a staggeringly expensive, ass-kicking military…and it’s associated contractors and arms makers) and outsource everything to the states, or preferably, India by way of multinational conglomerates.

I suspect they’ll be getting a rude awakening soon. They’ll find it next to impossible to fight the strong running political tide, agree on what needs to be shed, or even agree on what small government means.

For example, arch-conservative Michele Bachmann wanted to prohibit earmarks only to find that, oops, her state wouldn’t get any money either. Suddenly her perception of pork changed in the face of angry voters who saw that Michele’s financial acumen was roughly equivalent to a high school home economics course in buying canned hams at rock bottom prices.

One man’s crumbling highway is another’s canned ham. Let those drivers give up the ham. They need to be put on the fiscally conservative South Beach Minnesota Diet. Same for those homeless people too by golly. It’ll be good for their no account goldbricking asses.

Conservatives never met a regulation they liked – unless it benefits them or is written by lobbyists. And one of the biggest government expenditures of all is creating and enforcing regulations. The baggers and Republi-Goobs are of a similar mind that only the private sector is smart enough to do anything – apparently ignoring that whole financial derivatives thing. But who’s counting.

So here’s an idea.

Regulations and regulators are a huge chunk of the budget, right? The Tax and Spend It All on Me Crowd frequently reminds us, usually in high-pitched squeaky voices, that the private sector is where smart, upstanding CEOs can do anything. They even have big paychecks to prove it.

Since the Supreme Activist Court (SACOTUS) took it upon themselves to give corporations Constitutional rights far and away more important than the rights of all individual citizens combined, it makes sense that corporations would be the very picture of responsible citizens in thanks. And smart as whips too.

So, corporations are just terrific, and honest, and thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. We know this because Cryin’ John Boehner and the boys tell us so. So, how about we just trust them to do the right thing? No need to regulate when the free market unfailingly leads companies to the path of righteousness and honor.

We’d cut thousands of regulators in a jiffy. Legislators would have absolutely nothing to do except rubber stamp appropriations bills for the War du Jour. And lobbyists? Well, they’d become pro bono advisers to a micro-government that runs as smooth as BP oil rushing out of a broken wellhead. Yeah, THAT’S the ticket!

Um, only one small fly in the ointment on that one. Forget I mentioned anything.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

Showdown in Chicago: Thousands Protest Bankers

More than 5,000 people are packing the streets of downtown Chicago this morning, chanting, marching and rallying against Big Bankers and financial institutions that have taken taxpayer money and are using it to give big bonuses to CEOs and to lobby against financial reforms that would ensure they don't go back on the public dole.

The crowd is marching to the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, site of the American Bankers Association meeting, to protest the banking industry's greed and irresponsibility that crippled our economy, leaving millions of workers behind.

After the house of cards they built collapsed, bankers and the financial industry took $700 billion in taxpayer funds for a bailout. But rather than reform their failed practices, they want to go back to business as usual--with the chance of again precipitating another financial collapse and need for taxpayer bailout in coming years.

There's more...

Merrill Lynch Execs: Is there a day of judgment coming....

It's hard to know where to begin with your daily rage these days, but this one really makes me want to go V for Vendetta all over these Masters of the Universe.

Of course, there is no surprise here.  Clearly, these guys refused to accept that the existent corporate environment, one that had always deeply rewarded those higher-ups involved in a merger/acquisition, had changed.  In the midst of a colossal storm, these big swinging dicks acted as if it was still the middle of summer on the sunniest of sunny days.

http://www.bizjournals.com/buffalo/stori es/2009/03/09/daily44.html?ana=from_rss

There's more...

Hey Corporate Execs, You Got a Bailout, Now Give It Back

Even when times are good, it's hard to believe that corporate CEOs can look you in the eye and tell you that they've truly earned their outrageous $10 million, $50 million, $100 million or more pay packages.

And right now, times aren't good.

But this week I saw another round of stories on corporate CEOs getting multi-million dollar "bonuses" even as their companies lose millions of dollars.

There's more...

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