What Have Billionaires Done for Us Lately?

Trump with His Plane

Trump with His Plane

There is a certain category of voter who thinks we need a businessman at the helm of this country. Do we? What have businessmen done for us lately?

Perhaps their biggest contribution has been to send American jobs overseas. My father used to be a machine tool builder in Cleveland. Now there is an ever-dwindling number of machine tool builders in the United States. Plenty of them in Southeast Asia, however!

If a hypothetical President Trump were in charge, what might he do? For starters, he could send less desirable (i.e. Democrat) voters to Syria, Libya, and Somalia—countries which are in the process of being rapidly depopulated.

He can raise his salary and create new perks for his office. (Isn’t that what billionaire businessmen do best?)

He could find sneaky ways of making his investments worth more (and those of his competitors worth less).

Really, in the end, all American CEOs care about is me, Me, ME, ME! After all, they didn’t get rich by helping losers. And we are all losers, aren’t we?

 

 

Beyond the Law?

Enron’s Ken Lay—Convicted But Died Before Sentencing

Enron’s Ken Lay—Convicted But Died Before Sentencing

There is one class of people who are almost untouchable when they commit economic crimes while at the helm of their companies: I am referring to Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), to which I might also add Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and Chief Operating Officers (COOs). To date, there has been no major prosecutions of the bank and securities firms CEOs who were responsible for the Great Recession of 2008—despite the fact that they, in many cases, knowingly put together subprime mortgage securities backed (essentially) by hope and pixie dust.

There have been cases of CEOs who have served time (or are serving time). These include:

  1. Jeff Skilling, Enron
  2. Martha Stewart, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
  3. Sanjay Kumar, Computer Associates
  4. Dennis Kozlowski, Tyco
  5. John Rigas, Adelphia
  6. Martin L. Grass, Rite-Aid
  7. Joseph Nacchio, Qwest
  8. Walter Forbes, Cendant
  9. Richard Scrushy, HealthSouth
  10. Bernie Ebbers, WorldCom

Ken Lay of Enron would have joined that list, but he died of a heart attack before sentencing. For more information about the above, click here.

There are class action suits, but these have a way of punishing the innocent and leaving the guilty scot-free. For one thing, it is the shareholders who suffer, not the executives. In many cases, it is the shareholders who have  initiated the cases and suffer from the resulting devaluation of their securities. And probably the biggest beneficiaries are law firms specializing in class action cases. These boys make out like bandits.

Whether CEOs wind up doing the perp walk is not the main point. I would be happy to see blame ascribed and large fines levied.

A Modest Proposal

Does the IRS Want to Make More Money? Try This!

Does the IRS Want to Make More Money? Try This!

We all know that corporations are taxed based on their annual profit. Yet this profit can be endlessly manipulated using depreciation and a whole plethora of loopholes. As one who has been in the accounting profession for a few years, I have a modest proposal that could at one and the same time:

  • Increase corporate taxes and
  • Limit the pay of ravenous CEOs and other management

It’s really quite simple: No company can pay a tax that is lower than the amount of compensation (in cash or stock options) paid to its management. The management positions which trigger this tax policy can (and will) be negotiated endlessly, but the upshot will be higher corporate taxes and less outrageous sums going to overpaid CEOs and their henchmen.

Why should corporate rights be so much more generous than the rights of American workers?