Monday, May 10, 2010

Week of 05/10/2010

Time For Justice For Big Corporate
– by David Matthews 2

A mine collapses.

An oil rig explodes.

Banks continue to collapse.

Wall Street mechanizations have lead to the foreclosure and bankruptcy of millions and still endanger millions more.

One by one, the various private institutions that we are told that we have to put our trust and faith in are collapsing. Lives have been lost. Millions more have been thrown into abject despair and misery. Whole industries are poised to collapse. Prices for food and energy are poised to soar because of these events, and at a time when America CANNOT AFFORD to endure these changes.

And yet there is a word that has not been uttered yet. A word that used to strike fear in the hearts of Corporate America.

Justice.

Sure there is much work to be done. There are shorelines to clean up and mine shafts to excavate. There are lives to mourn and others to carry on.

And yet very little is said about the need for JUSTICE.

There seems to be a familiar pattern with most of these sudden, shocking, and devastating tragedies. Rules are slackened, regulators lax, limits are ignored, tragedy seems to be the inevitable result of a string of abuses and neglect.

And yet almost nothing is said about JUSTICE!

When Enron and WorldCom and the other corporations collapsed in 2002 and 2003… it seemed like a string of corporate failures one after another. Gross mismanagement, bad bookkeeping, manipulations of the system so that the people up top would be able to cash out while the rest of the great unwashed suffered… it seemed like it wouldn’t end.

But then the financial world quaked as criminal charges were made on the people responsible for the corporate collapses. One by one, corporate executives were led in handcuffs in front of the media.

And a strange thing happened when that started… the string of collapses… stopped.

Now we have another seemingly endless cavalcade of disasters one after another after another, with no sign of a break. Worse yet, outside of the cheerleader optimism in the White House and the media, the common consensus is that this is still potentially the tip of the iceberg, with even worse situations to come unless someone in charge does what they are supposed to do and turn this thing around.

Well maybe there’s no end in sight because there is no real INCENTIVE to turn things around right now.

If you do wrong, and you get caught, and you are held to account for it, then you’re probably not going to be willing to do it again. But if you do wrong, and you get caught, and you are NOT held to account for it, then you’re going to not only keep doing it, but also probably not believe that you did anything wrong in the first place. Basic human nature.

So let’s see… when Corporate America started engaging in destructive behavior, and they got caught engaging in destructive behavior, they didn’t lose their jobs, they got bailed out by the federal government, AND they were allowed to continue to do the things that got them into trouble in the first place, they turned around and patted themselves on the backs and told themselves they did GREAT! And why should they not think it? They have every reason in the world to believe that they did nothing wrong, because even when caught, they just got a wag of the finger, a slap on the wrist, and then were able to reap BIG BUCKS.

After the schemes of Wall Street have been exposed, the Securities and Exchange Commission decided that, despite having draconian powers handed to them under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the wake of Enron, they could only bring a fraud charge against the worst of the worst, and only then in CIVIL court, which means it would be settled with what would essentially amount to POCKET CHANGE!

And that certainly sends a message to Corporate America that if THESE wrongs will go rewarded, then so too can any other. So go ahead, slacken those rules, play Russian Roulette with the lives and welfare of others, send the country into a downward spiral of misery and despair. Nothing will happen to you! You may have to pay some modest fine, but you’ll make back by continuing the very destructive things that made you wealthy in the first place!

THAT is the message that Corporate America is getting RIGHT NOW! They firmly believe that it is business-as-usual, that it has BEEN business-as-usual, and that they are free and clear to keep on doing the things that are destroying the United States of America.

Let’s get brutally honest here… we need accountability! We need JUSTICE! We need to see executives who steer their ships of business wrong be handcuffed and frog-marched in front of the media. This needs to happen TODAY! Corporate America needs to know that they DID to wrong and that they need to ATONE for it, not just pay a paltry fine from the loose change on their dressers.

And as soon as you see these executives being handcuffed and frog-marched in front of the world, that will send a CLEAR message to the other captains of industry that the frat party is over with. They will stop with the games. They will STOP playing fast-and-loose with regulations and safety procedures.

JUSTICE is about bringing balance to a system that has been upended by those who have done wrong. America has been upended by these abuses and “accidents” for far too long. The only way for things to be corrected is for those who are responsible be TRULY held to account for them.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sad things is what can we do about it?

Paul said...

Excellent piece. First time I have encountered yor writings, but will research the archives. I like your style this far.

R H Stacey