Socialism for CEOs?

I don’t think that I’m alone with my anger and disgust as I watch yet another Wall Street collapse that was based on funny money and accounting games. As Americablog commenter cowboyneok says, this is “socialism for CEOs” and hyper-capitalism for the poor. Even now as we start hearing about the Freddie/Fannie implosion, the Times reports that “while not necessarily in violation of accounting rules, had the effect of overstating the companies’ capital resources and financial stability.” Then think back to previous Wall Street heroes such as Stanley O’Neal, Charles Prince and Angelo Mozilo who made hundreds of millions based on garbage that eventually had to be written down and taken off the books. I’d still like to know how fair that is and if McCain has an answer, please, do tell.

In the case of Freddie and Fannie, they pushed bad business out to show better numbers, thus boosting bonuses for the executives. Congress thinks they’re impressing us by calling these bums down to Washington and embarrassing them on TV. Right. Chuckled the first time, but looking for some action. The US government has had to intervene to prop these companies up, providing them with incredibly cheap loans above the usual money and we’ve even had to bailout Bear Stearns so the wealth JPMoganChase can buy them. Extraordinary action by the government tells me that all bets are off. We saved the CEO crowd and for what? To let them walk away with millions without question? Are you kidding? From the sound of the Freddie/Fannie talks it will be more of the same.

We can’t continue letting these executives get away with gaming the system and keeping their hundreds of millions. Let them play the game just like the rest of us and if they win, let them prosper. If they fail, let them fail. Congress needs to move past their grandstanding on TV and appreciate how damned angry people are out there. If Wall Street wants the upside of so-called capitalism, let them have it. Attached to the upside comes the downside that they so rightly deserve, but Washington has helped them avoid all downside. Downsides of this fake capitalism are somehow only dished out to those beneath the corporate boards.

Washington always throws up its hands and wonders how it can change this socialism-for-CEO situation but that’s easy. We got to this point via tax code changes that eliminate risk and we can change this the same way. Quit coddling these executives and let them play by the same rules as everyone else. Is this asking for too much?


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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