Free Market? Not at These Rates.

According to a recent article in The Economist, not only are the big banks paying out huge bonuses once again, the owners of the banks are just letting it slide without argument.

I thought one of the Hallmarks of Capitalism™ was that if one owns a share of a company, one directs said company. These banks lost billions of dollars for their owners, and yet these same owners are letting these record bonuses go out without argument. Are the owners of corporations sheep to the slaughter?

Some say they were legally obligated to pay them out. You know what? Corporations are legally obligated to not dump nuclear waste in drinking water, but they do it anyway. How about not paying out a nickel and letting their lawyers take on the corporate lawyers? Certainly, the corporation’s got a case with “they lost billions of dollars doing possibly illegal things.” Even if it’s not true, it sure sounds good and could save a few bucks in bonuses.

Sorry, but the Free Market isn’t. It’s a great idea, but it’s been heavily compromised by huge corporations that are now so powerful, they can shake down the government of the United States of America. The USA is hostage as a collective whole to the captains of industry we love to laud in our mythology and propaganda. We need laws to keep stuff like what just happened from happening, and we need laws to keep those laws in place. We used to have them and stuff like the Panic of 2008 didn’t happen… until they were repealed, which led up to the Panic of 2008.

The question is how to go about getting the megacorporations out of government. It’s still “We the people,” right?

Or was Abbie Hoffman right when he said, “It’s too late. We can’t win. They’ve gotten too powerful.”?

16 thoughts on “Free Market? Not at These Rates.

  1. David Truong

    Aren’t they paying such large bonuses out because they are earning record profits or something? Or else, where does the money for these bonuses come from?

  2. RacherrrrrrQ

    Disclaimer: This has nothing to do with ^this, but I don’t know where else to ask this, besides facebook, where I may not get some class credit. I’m just very curious:

    So I’ve been sick for… about six days total now (by the way, I probably won’t be back until Wednesday), and in my boredom I’ve stumbled across the RISD budget.

    http://risd.org/AboutRISD/budget_finance.htm

    There are some frighteningly large numbers there. (Especially after the word “tax”)

    Are school budgets moreso AFFECTED BY or CAUSING debt? I know it’s a “BUDGET” but that could just be code for “whatever is left after… ‘unnecessary’ bank bonuses”

  3. David Liou

    The problem is that they aren’t earning record profits, they actually have deficits. But apparently being in the deficits in normal for Wall Street?

  4. Sagar Patel

    How do the bonuses benefit the banks? If they don’t, why do they continue to give such large amounts?

  5. Ali Aenehzodaee

    @Webb Just to clarify, in the form of stimulus, you mean?

    It seems like there is a very rich minority that views the rest of the world as parasites. I mean, even after you hoard up a few billion through corporate and legislative loop holes, how can you even spend all of that money in one life time?

  6. deanwebb Post author

    Can’t take the money back. And the Cleveland Leader article is spot-on. The banks are not only inhaling tax dollars to keep their bonuses rolling, they’re doing all they can to derail financial reform. There are 5 financial industry lobbyists for every Congressman. They have the money, so they can pay for that kind of access.

  7. deanwebb Post author

    Note that Goldman Sachs comes out on top of the whole deal. They’re also the bank with the closest connections to the current and former Treasury Department people.

    Kleptocracy, nu?

  8. Ali Aenehzodaee

    What exactly would happen if AIG or citigroup, or any other insanely huge corporation for that matter, decided that it is not in their best interest to listen to USG and ignore obama’s warnings regarding compensation? It wouldn’t be in America’s best interest to allow these companies to fail because they didn’t listen. And USG cannot bring suit against the individual since a corporation is an entity in itself. With so many lobbyists infiltrating Congress, what hope is there for enforcing regulation?

    I found this interesting
    http://www.businessinsider.com/2009/1/merrill-gives-itself-huge-bonus-for-snookering-ken-lewis-and-bofa-bac

    A prime example of the dirty tricks these people like to pull.

  9. deanwebb Post author

    If that happened, they’d be sure to spend some of their bonuses on lobbying Congress to make sure whatever they did goes unpunished. Which, as you note, is what lobbyists do when they lobby.

    OK, so I’ll tick off people with that generalization. It’s a generalization built on the backs of the biggest, most powerful lobbyists like the criminal Jack Abramoff. Therefore, it stands.

  10. Alyssa Anderson

    We’ve been talking about Congress lately in my Government class and it’s really disgusting to hear how much control lobbyists have in there. And unfortunately that probably won’t ever change. Representatives want to get re-elected, and in order for that to happen they need funds to campaign with: funds which come significantly from lobbyists. Serving the lobbyists evidently comes before serving the people.

  11. Hugo Espiritu

    But it isn’t illegal to lobby and with the passage of Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 lobbying has become a lot easier so at what point is the persuasion considered criminal activity?

  12. deanwebb Post author

    If you put rat-traps in a kitchen, the first rat to find it will be caught. The others learn and avoid them.

    Humans are more clever than rats: they find ways around laws. We just have to be more strict in their interpretation. Sadly, money can either corrupt the corruptible or hire the murderers of the incorruptible.

    In some ways, success should be defined by how desperate an evil man is to murder you…

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