The results of greed

I follow a blog from a guy who is into technology, but also lets his political views be known. Vlad pulls no punches. He recently posted about the bailout mess on Wall Street and I commented. I have posted my comments here (slightly abridged), since a blog is where you should pronounce your own views and wait for comments from others.
If you and I sat down to discuss politics, I would venture to say that you swing (or veer) to the left and that I hang to the right, but on this point I totally agree with you. What is really sad with our political discourse these days is that in order to be a successful politician in a party apparatus, one must take a view opposing the other party on EVERY subject (or at least blame the other side for each and every ill that blows our way.)

Having spent the last four days at the Summit, I see all of the hard work and brain thrashing it takes to keep our tiny, tiny slices of the business world moving in a positive direction. One speaker made the point that our understanding of economic theory has changed dramatically in the past 25 years. How many politicians (especially ones that have been in office for over 30 years) have spent any time seeking out this kind of knowledge rather than having it thrust upon them by lobbyists, letter writers and influencers? What about the bureaucrats that actually run our governments? Do they anguish over business models and making things better?

However, I think that to blame this mess on regulators and politicians is a cop-out. The perps were thinking this stuff up and implementing it in minutes and hours, where it would take politicians and regulators months and years to counter them. No, I think the ultimate answer to keeping this from happening again and again (see the Holland Tulip Mania ca. 1637) is to require major stakeholders in companies, their Boards of Directors and their CXOs to pay back ALL but $250,000 of their gains/compensation per year for the past 5 years if their company implodes.

We would need bulletproof legislation. Lawyer-proof (like that is going to happen), air-tight, generic legislation that holds their feet to the fire. Sieze their property like drug traffikers that they are and put it in a trust fund (sorry, Milberg, Weiss) to pay for the bailout.

Then and only then will there be enough skin in the game for these clowns to think beyond their next paycheck to the long term consequences and sustainability of their business decisions.

But, being the realist that I am, I know that will not happen and we will have another one of these by 2025, so stand by.

You know, Dennis Kucinich isn't looking so bad (if only he didn't want to take all of my money away and give it to people that refuse to work for a living, that is...)


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