by Mary Pitt
As a small voice from the back of the room, I have one question regarding the discovery of the illiquidity of all the huge corporate conglomerates who have taken over the finances of this ostensibly democratic nation. When is somebody going to jail?
Now, I don’t profess to truly understand the ins and outs of our financial system and I have absolutely no concept of anything over a million of anything. I think I am in good company as you would be safe in assuming that the majority of the Americam people are in the same boat as I. However, those of us with intact brain cells do remember the Enron fiasco when Congressional hearings were held which exposed the various forms of chicanery which had been perpetrated by the corporate moguls and their compliant accountants. It seems that they had engaged in what they termed “creative accounting” in order to induce pigeons, (pardon me, investors), to continue to trust them with trust funds and other forms of financial donations. We watched with a sense of irony as first one and then another of the perpetrators were marched off to the Federal Countty Clubs. (But our money was still gone.)
Now we learn that the same sort of underhanded and blatantly dishonest business practices had brought down many of those companies who had been entrusted with the very lifeblood of our capitalist financial and political system. They had created false balance sheets which listed the packages of home, auto, small business, and miscellaneous loans which had been issued to patently and obviously poor credit risks at their face value rather than discounting them due to the likelihood that a large percentage of them would default. This created the false image of a company in robust health and highly eligible for the consideration by potential investors.
The only reason we have heard advanced as to the reasons for this perfidy have to do with the eligibility of the corporate officers to draw bonuses, raises, and parachutes with a higher carat of gold content. which only further drained the corporate coffers and caused the business foundation to shake still more. It was only when the whole house of cards was preparing to come down around the ears of the entire system was this condition uncovered by the oblivious souls who were in the position of guardians of the public good, who had been blithely watching the stock market go up and up.
We have been told that it is our fault for borrowing or buying things we could not afford. Shame on us that, if we were searching for a new home with a limited budget, that the fast-talking sales person told us that they had access to Acreative financing@ which would allow us to pay the interest only for the first two years to allow us time to Aget pour feet under us@ before having to start paying on the principle. Or shame on us when we went shopping for a used car to replace the old one that had just gasped its last and the slick salesman said that, by the same method, we could afford to drive away in Athis little baby right here@. And shame on us when our bank told us that Adjustable Rate Loan was the newest thing and had many advantages. Double-shame that we fell for the easy credit card approvals that appeared in our mail regularly. Well, now we have to pay for those mistakes, in spades!
Rather than to risk the collapse from spreading to the international market with the dollar sinking into oblivion, we were told that it would be necessary to obligate the American taxpayers for generations to come for buying out those worthless loans and putting right the condition of these companies. Now, I could be wrong and I readily admit to naivete in these matters, but I felt it would have been as productive and more fair to the American people if the government were to take them into Federal receivership, terminate without severance pay all the people involved in the conspiracy to defraud, and set the firms on the right path before releasing them back to the control of the shareholders.
However, we must assume that Congress knows best and chose to take another path and the American people will have the opportunity to judge their actions in the upcoming election. While the Congresspersons are at home campaigning, perhaps we will be able to ask them to further account for their reasoning and explain their actions. There are many questions that the wage slaves and others who feel disconnected from the nuts and bolts of managing our futures would like answered if answers there be. Among them are:
Why, when we lose our jobs or have a medical catastrophe dowe not receive any assistance from the government until our resources are so depleted that we qualify for welfare?
Why was it necessary to make the bankruptcy court so restrictive that relief was all but unavailable through that action?
And, oh, so many more questions why we, the people, are treated so much less generously than the multi-billion dollar corporations. If we make a simple mistake on our income taxes, the vaunted accountants from the Internal Revenue Service fall upon us like so many fire ants and we pay up or go to jail and they will follow us to the ends of the earth to collect every penny, costing us out job or profession and ruining our families forever after. Yet, those who are engaged in such corporate criminality are allowed to float away in their golden parachutes and dwell forever after on the Riviera.
Again, I can only ask, when is somebody going to jail for this?