Thieves in High Places
When it comes to the financial crisis that deepens, entangling us all, I will leave it to readers to acquaint themselves with the dire statistics. Yet, I would urge you NOT to avert your gaze or bury your ADD-addled head into the proverbial sand by avoiding to note the swamp of criminality that pools around us, brought to the incandescent fore this week by the shenanigans of former NASDAQ head Bernard Madoff (that’s pronounced “made off”). The pathetically incompetent Securities and Exchange Commission was again highlighted for their stunning failure to recognize the preposterously simple ponzi scam engineered by Mr. Madoff in what is being touted as the “world’s largest criminal pyramid scheme,” with losses expected to be $50 billion, dwarfing those from the Enron scandal. Way to go, Bernie!
Yet before you dismiss this executive as the exception rather than the rule (or role if your prefer), and admittedly, it is becoming increasingly harder, we learn another dirty little secret to soften the corporate cushion that Bush built. Remember the $700-billion financial bailout package, TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program), that was supposed to mandate the elimination of exorbitant executive compensation and “golden parachutes?” Well, lo and behold, the The Washington Post reports that the specific language in the TARP law that forbade such payouts was changed at the last minute, with a small but significant one-sentence edit made by the Bush administration. Who could have guessed? MORE.