#62 Surprise, Surprise! (2002)

All Rights Reserved © 2002 Thomas W. Day

I'm sure that my regular readers will be amazed to see that I'm not surprised that the press has suddenly discovered that a whole lot of executives are bottom-feeding, scum-sucking, back-stabbing, money-grubbing crooks.  The Washington Post published an article titled, "In Blossoming Scandal, Culprits Are Countless."  NewsMax.com titled their recent discovery, "How Corporate Crooks Cook the Books." 

"Well, duh," I might reply to one of the API's finest, interrupting an academic description of this amazing revelation.  But nobody's asking me, so I'll just keep Rat Ranting into the void (except for those of you who stand on the edge of the void tossing in pennies and making wishes). 

Enron, WorldCom, Xerox, Tyco, Global Crossing, Sunbeam, Informix, Summit Medical, Martha Stewart, and on goes the list until everything listed on the New York Stock Exchange will be duplicated in the criminal court system.    The funniest bits in all of the make-believe outrage, come from Prince Georgie's court jesters and the education system.  Jeffrey Garten, dean of Yale University's School of Management, admitted, "Even those of us at business schools are implicated. It's not like the educational establishment sounded any warning. We were cheerleaders, too." Cheerleaders?  Right, they were teaching the crooks how to be better crooks.  If the MBA programs were sounding any warnings it would have been to the crooks they were teaching to be better crooks. 

One of George II's first acts as president was to reduce the SEC's staff by 56 securities investigators.  Who would have guessed that the stock market would be the next target for Republican leash-holders?  Bush is just following Republican tradition.  Reagan did a similar hack job on the FDIC, the folks who monitored the savings and loan mafia, and provided middleclass taxpayers with a tidy $18-billion dollar debt. 

It looks like Prince George is going for the record, though.  A senator recently stated that the money scammed from American corporations could have funded national health insurance; twice.  Good thing the House beat back Hillary's health insurance program, how would Rolls Royce have survived without the trickle-down from all that hard stolen cash?  The bad news is that RR died anyway?  You'd think trickle-down would be more effective than that. 

My theory on stock crashes and depression/recessions is simple.  When middle America loses faith in the integrity and intelligence of the ruling class, the economic house of cards collapses.  (Yes, Virginia.  We do have a ruling class in this country.) 

Contrary to the fantasies imagined and promoted by the press, the education system, and politics, it doesn't matter what the rich and powerful think of themselves.  The rich and powerful are not critical to the function or success of the country.  Just as executives have no useful function to the companies they mismanage, that same ilk is equally useless to the nation in general.  Their best practice is to stay invisible, do as little as possible, and try not to hinder progress or daily business and social function. 

I've been saying, for decades, that an instant and fatal disease that struck the upper offices of 99% of the country's government and corporations would take weeks to detect.  It might even be months before anyone discovered those offices were full of reeking bodies.  Their participation is so self-serving that they have rendered themselves unnecessary.  Executive contribution is rarely anything more than a detriment. Most execs' capabilities are limited to back-stabbing and self-enrichment, which does nothing useful for the actual function of a business. What would most likely spur the discover of a floor full of exec fatalities would be an investigation of a sudden burst of productivity.  The press would have to put a stop to that kind of activity as soon as possible. 

It appears that the ruling class has gone too far and the middle class, who control about 10% of the nation's total wealth, are finding that 10% is what props up the 90%.  It will be interesting to see what it takes, and how long it takes, how much spin-doctoring it takes, to convince the working class that the idiots at the top aren't complete fools.  Now that is a real marketing job. 

August 2002

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