The number of big businesses who rip us all off is staggering. In the last few months, we learned that the biggest bank made billions by charging customers to open new accounts without permission; the world's biggest carmaker faked test results to make their autos more attractive; drug companies have lied about medicine that actually can harm us; food companies have skimped on safety and made consumers sick; investment companies have illegally influenced the stock markets, hurting the little guy… the list goes on.
But our government agencies are protecting us — and punishing the bad guys. Right? Do not believe it.
When the Justice Department, the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) and other District Attorneys prove their cases they often fine companies mucho big bucks… sometimes hundreds of millions or even billions. The media trumpets these fines to convince us that the bad guys are suffering.
Trouble is that the biggest of the bad guys feel no pain at all. In fact, there are no individual penalties for them. The chairmen, presidents, and senior executives of these companies don’t have to pay a cent of the fines. It comes from the companies’ capital or future profits — and that can lower the share price.
So the scandal is that the top officials enjoy bigger bonuses when their rip-offs make bigger corporate profits; but shareholders later have to pay the price when the rip-offs are discovered. The losers: pension funds for teachers, police, firemen, etc., and individuals who trust their investments to these corporate fat cats.
Once in a while in the most egregious cases, a chairman might be fired. But don’t waste your tears on these people. When it happened to the chairman of one humongous American bank, he lost his job and walked away with a check for about $150 million dollars. Our government really punished this guy!
Now if the rip-off artists are smaller local businesses it is quite a different story. If an investment counsellor steals money from a client … if a nursing home cheats its seniors … if a doctor defrauds Medicare … chances are it's jail time. The penalties are just not for the corporate biggies who benefit by billions!
Recently in Florida a non-profit hospice stole lotsa money from taxpayers (you and me) by excessive billing and they were forced to repay an eight-figure sum. Since there are no public shares in a non-profit the money had to come from somewhere else, perhaps from donations or maybe even cutting expenses (to critically ill patients.) Who knows — except it didn’t come from the bosses. Seven bosses at the hospice got raises to $300,000 a year and the CEO got a 37 percent pay raise to nearly $1 million per year. We would all like a piece of that punishment.
So why don’t our politicians write bills that include jail time for guilty executives? Is it not common sense to believe that jail might deter them? Not likely to happen. Politicians by nature and their aspirations for reelection need money, money, money. Political parties get hundreds of millions/billions in contributions from the biggest industries who all expect favors/influence in return. Like NRA/gun makers to the GOP or huge internet companies to the Dems. The list is endless.
So what are the chances that politicians will pass laws that jail the big bosses who okay the major checks? None. Unless the people rise up and demand action.
So why doesn’t the media highlight these scandals of who really pays the billions for ripping us off. Who knows? Crusading journalists could stir up a storm if they made people understand. They just don’t try.
YOU ARE ABOUT TO GET ANGRY… REALLY, REALLY ANGRY
News Flash: Just after I wrote the blog above I saw on CBS news a story that is evidence of how BigBiz works to keep their bosses out of jail. It should shock most Americans.
The GOP has a group called the Republican Attorneys General Association. It is funded by some of American’s biggest corporations (raised $20 million in the last 18 months alone) and the money is used to wine, dine, entertain and pay bills for as many of the country’s Attorney Generals as they can.
Just remember these AGs are some of the most powerful law enforcement people in the nation with jobs that legally require them to protect us and send the bad guys to prison.
CBS just showed a big, very expensive affair at the super posh Kiawah Island resort where golf can cost $500 per round. It revealed that 9 Attorney Generals were being treated to a free luxury getaway and corporations were invited to buy special access to any or all for donations of $50,000 or $100,000 a pop. The place was awash with free food, booze, and other goodies (let your imagination run wild!) for the lawmen. To emphasize: this is all being paid by big corporations and you would think that all public servants would turn down these “freebies” in case they potentially stained their reputations.
But no. Nine freeloading AGs attended the FREE affair and were named along with photos.
Now, the Association was quoted as saying that none of this would tempt or influence any AGs from changing the way they make legal decisions required by law. Really!
So if a case comes before AG Mr. X and he has to make a judgment about a company chairman, who may have some quasi-legal problems, the free event would not affect his judgment in any way. The AG has to make a decision to prosecute or not. Jail or no jail. Remember he could be deciding the fate of the same chairman who just recently paid $50,000 for a chat with him! But it would make no difference, they claim. Is the average American really going to believe this…?
Now, according to the report, this is not just a Republican effort. The Democrats do almost exactly the same thing — just with different corporations and at functions/vacations that are supposedly a little less expensive than the GOP hosts.
Kudos to CBS for running this story. But this one piece will soon be forgotten and have absolutely no effect. The media and the journalists have to get angry, really angry at this scandal of money and public servants. It corrupts the nation.
Scottish-born Iain Calder was Editor in Chief and President of the National Enquirer for more than 20 years. He saw the weekly circulation surge from about 700,00 to nearly 5 million at its peak – with over 20 million readers. Magazines edited by Calder have sold a total of over 4 billion copies. He has no connection with the present day Enquirer, which was bought by new owners not long after he left the company in 2000. Calder has been interviewed by the likes of Mike Wallace, 60 Minutes; Ted Koppel, Nightline; Katie Couric, NBC; and Geraldo Rivera and featured in newspapers and magazines around the world including The New York Times, the Times of London, Time and Newsweek magazines. He has lectured at major universities and once at the Reagan Library, where he had lunch with Nancy Reagan. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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