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I think most people understand this, but they just don’t think about it. I think most people know a story or two about big companies deciding that x numbers of lawsuits resulting in death or great injury is decided to be cheaper than recalling a faulty or dangerous product and know at least a couple of names of companies that raped their employees’ retirement funds while making more and more money for themselves while their employees lost everything they had worked so hard to get. Then they usually face little or no consequences for their actions.
HBO’s movie, Too Big To Fail, shows their arrogance and greed during the collapse of the housing market and the financial crisis it caused, but especially with Dick Fuld of Lehman Brothers. He was called the greatest American CEO in 2006 by one magazine, made $22M ($5M in cash, the rest in stocks) in 2007, and in 2008 was listed as one of the worst CEO’s of all time and 25 People to Blame for the Finacial Crisis by Time magazine. Lehman brothers, of course, filed bankruptcy, but Fuld refused options that could have saved the company. Other than having to testify before Congress, I don’t know of any consequences he received personally. In a recent article, he blamed (among other things) the government for it’s deregulation of the banking industry and Wall Street. IMO, that’s like saying, I knew it was the wrong thing to do morally and for the business, but the government loosened the rules and I could make a lot of money doing it, so I did it anyway. (Don’t think I don’t hold the government responsible, too. Every president since Reagan helped cause the crash of 2008 with more and more deregulations and they still haven’t fixed it. So the next time it happens, it will be worse). I hope I didn’t get any important details wrong because it’s been awhile since I saw the movie, so forgive me if I did while trying to make a larger point
What surprises me the most, is that so many people believe that some form of trickle down economics will ever work. It didn’t work for Reagan and it hasn’t worked since. Companies don’t take their tax cuts or incentives or bailout money to help their employees or customers or to create new jobs. They use them to make those at the top richer. And that’s not a conspiracy theory, it’s just the truth, and it will continue to be so until those that fail to act responsibly and only seek to line their own pockets, no matter what happens to their company or their employees face real consequences. Like forfeiture of their own fortunes by seizure or by paying huge fines and in the cases of fraud, like stealing from their companies pension plan, all of the above plus jail time. After all, if I stole someone’s 401(k), I would go to jail and mostly likely be forced to pay restitution. But unfortunately that’s not how it works in the world today.
I don’t see it changing until everyone “wakes up” and we refuse to let it happen anymore, but I’m cynical about that ever happening. Maybe it will happen and I hope it does soon, but I doubt it will be in my lifetime. I am encouraged by the people I know between the ages of 20-30. The ones I know are smart and already awake, but they have a hard road ahead of them
Slainwuss, your English is much better than my second language since I don’t have one, so I don’t think you should feel like you need to worry about your grammar. I think we all understood you and that’s better than I could do. 🙂