For a long, but pretty clear in-language-you-can-understand article on what the present financial crisis is really about, there’s this in the Village Voice. It gives an in-depth look at where the problems really came from. The proper conclusion should be to take all these fraudsters and criminals to court, seize their myriad ill-begotten assets, lock ’em up and leave them to fend for themselves in an ordinary run-of-the-mill American prison. [Note: the USA holds the world’s title for most imprisoned citizens, in plain old numbers, and per capita. But the real crooks are “in business.”]
This is one of them, John Thain, former CEO of Merrill Lynch, who passed out 8 billion in bonuses just after getting a flush of US taxpayer money, and just before selling out to Bank of America, for which he briefly took CEO role.
Thain, 53, is a former head of the New York Stock Exchange and a former chief operating officer of investment bank Goldman Sachs. He had been named head of a wealth management division of the merged businesses of Merrill and Bank of America.
In 2007, Thain topped the list of highest-paid CEOs in American business, with a compensation package valued at $83 million, according to an Associated Press analysis. That included a signing bonus and other enticements that helped lure him from the NYSE to lead Merrill.
CNBC said Thursday that Thain spent $1.22 million redesigning his office — including $35,115 for a “commode on legs” and $1,405 on a parchment waste can — when he became CEO of Merrill Lynch a year ago.
If ours was not a very ill society, this guy would be imprisoned for such crap. But our current celebrity-glamor-wealth-obsession culture instead tends to stand in awe of this kind of stuff, instead of perceiving it as a moral affront on a par with raping babies.