You gotta wonder just what kind of wacky weed they’re smoking in corporate offices these days.
Now with Worldcom’s admission of outright lying about earnings (claiming expenses as earnings), the loss of confidence by investors in publicly-traded companies is just about complete.
Most people don’t trust big business, but they were willing to look the other way as long as times were good, stock prices soared and everyone, it seemed, had a job.
Times ain’t so hot now, a lot of stock ain’t worth the paper it took to print the certificates and we can’t ignore the collection of crooks, thieves and con men who run some of America’s largest corporations.
Actually, the wake up call has been there for some time but too many people ignored it. Nobody wanted to look too closely at the ethics of a company that delivered record stock prices.
Enron and Worldcom weren’t the only high-fliers who played fast and loose with stockholder’s money and most financial analysts tell me there will be more high-profile failures before the year is out.
Each revelation will drive the stock market lower and more market novices who sank too much of their savings into one or two stocks will find their savings and retirement futures wiped out.
But the corporate CEOs who directed these con games will walk away with huge bonus packages, golden parachute severance deals and fat pensions.
Here in Washington, politicians will wring their hands and shout for investigations while they pocket large campaign contributions from the crooks who perpetuate this fraud.
Members of Congress have no idea what the average American faces when their 401k tanks because of corporate mismanagement. All Representatives and Senators have an incredible retirement plan that guarantees the bulk of their lavish Congressional salaries when they retire (and they don’t have to work 20 years to qualify).
Our elected officials can’t solve the problem because they are the problem. They exist to serve not the rubes who elected them but the well-heeled lobbyists who buy access with campaign contributions, trips to exotic locales and other donations that skirt existing campaign finance laws.
Some are making a big show of returning contributions from Worldcom and its executives, but each Congressman and Senator who cranks out a press release announcing the return of these “tainted” contributions knows they can count of checks from other corporate con men to replace those funds tenfold.
Money is also the addiction that drives politics and, in Washington, it’s the addicts who make the laws.