Robert Benmosche, the CEO of American International Group (AIG) recently offered some blunt advice to college graduates searching for work.
“You have to accept the hand that’s been dealt you in life,” Benmosche said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “Don’t cry about it. Deal with it.”
As is typical of one-percenters, Benmosche blames willing-to-work college graduates for the refusal of rich employers to offer jobs instead of excuses.
AIG’s way of “accepting the hand that’s been dealt you in life” was to go crying to the Federal Government for a bailout loan–which eventually ballooned to $182 billion.
If college graduates should “deal with” the hardships of finding a responsible, hiring-inclined employer with a stiff upper lip, as Benmosche advises, the same advice should work wonders on greed-fueled CEOs.
Greed-test CEOs for future government loans.
After all, drug-testing welfare recipients has become the new mantra for Republicans.
He admitted that he was “shocked” at the breakdown in U.S. credit markets and said he was “partially” wrong to resist regulation of some securities.
“Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholder’s equity–myself especially–are in a state of shocked disbelief,” said Greenspan, who had ruled the Fed from 1987 to 2006.
As a disciple of the right-wing philosopher, Ayan Rand, Greenspan had fiercely held to her belief that “The Market” was a divine institution. As such, “it” alone knew what was best for the nation’s economic prosperity.
“Enlightened self-interest,” he believed, would guarantee that those who dedicated their lives to making money would not allow mere greed to steer them–and the country–into disaster.
As he saw it, any attempt to regulate greed-based appetites could only harm that divine institution.
Greenspan proved wrong. And the nation will be literally paying for such misguided confidence in profit-addicted men for decades to come.
So if Republicans want to protect the “poor, oppressed taxpayer,” they should demand background investigations for those whose addiction truly threatens the economic future of this country.
That is–the men (and occasionally women) who run the nation’s most important financial institutions, such as banks, insurance and mortgage companies.
Thus, in the future, all CEOs–and their topmost executives–of financial institutions seeking Federal bailouts should be required to:
- Undergo “full field investigations” by the FBI and IRS.
- Submit full financial disclosure forms concerning not only themselves but all members of their immediate families.
- Be subject to Federal prosecution for perjury if they provide false information or conceal evidence of criminal violations.
- Periodically submit themselves for additional background investigation.
- Be subject to arrest, indictment and prosecution if the background investigation turns up evidence of criminal activity.
- If a bailout-seeking financial institution refuses to comply with these criteria, it should be refused the loan.
- If a CEO and/or other top officials are judged ineligible for a loan, the company should be asked to replace those executives with others who might qualify.
- Those alternative executives should be subject to the same background investigation requirements as just outlined.
- If the institution refuses to replace those executives found ineligible, the Government should refuse the loan.
- If the Government is forced to take over a troubled financial institution, its CEO and top executives should be replaced with applicants who have passed the required security screening.
The United States has a long and embarrassing history in worshipping wealth for its own sake. Part of this can be traced to the old Calvinistic doctrine that wealth is a proof of salvation, since it shows evidence of God’s favor.
Another reason for this worship of mammon is the belief that someone who is wealthy is automatically endowed with wisdom and integrity.
Following these beliefs to their ultimate conclusion will transform the United States into a plutocracy–a government of the wealthy, by the wealthy, for the wealthy.
Every day we see fresh evidence of the destruction wrought by the unchecked greed of wealthy, powerful men.
When they–and their paid shills in Congress–demand, “De-regulate business,” it’s essential to remember what this really means.
It means: “Let criminals be criminals.”