Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Someone’s Gonna Pay...

After reading Left Hawk’s comments about the buyout of the investment banks by the federal government, I was reminded of something Steven Pearlstein from The Washington Post said on Meet the Press last weekend. Here is a brief part of the exchange:
“BROKAW: Is anyone going to be help responsible for this, truly?

MR. PEARLSTEIN: Well, a lot of people have already been held responsible because they lost all that wealth. So that's one thing.

MR. BROKAW: But a number of them walked out with a lot of money as well.

MR. PEARLSTEIN: Yeah, some of them walked out with a lot of money. You know, a lot of people focus on that, Tom, that these--some executives walked away with a lot of money. The amount of money we're talking about is in the hundreds of billions and trillions of dollars. Those people walked away with millions. And we get outraged about that. But let's--we, we--at this period of time, we need to keep our eyes focused on the big thing, which is that the whole system is melting down. And you want to focus on that and not that some guy's got away with money beforehand.

MR. LIESMAN: But, Steve, couldn't, couldn't you see subpoenas and cases where bankers are called before Congress or even a jury and said, "You had this on your books, but it was really worth that," and you could see that kind of process playing out.

MR. PEARLSTEIN: You can, but, you know, to criminalize this stuff is--we got a problem to solve. Let's, let's solve the problem.”

So have has our court and legal system been shut down due to the crisis on Wall Street? Is it not possible to fix the financial problems and prosecute corporate CEOs for running their companies into the ground, leaving with a massive severance, and then passing the bill on to the taxpayers? I have to agree with Sarko the American on this one, who said those responsible for this must be “punished.”

If someone train driver or construction foreman were negligent to such an extent that they cost the entire country trillions of dollars, you better believe we would be clamoring for their heads. But since it’s a bunch of business types, I guess it’s completely acceptable to let them move out to their tropical island getaways while we pick up the pieces.

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