Monday, July 18, 2005

People 1, Ebbers 0

In a recent column in the New York Daily News, columnist Stanley Crouch celebrated the 25-year conviction of WorldCom chairman Bernie Ebbers for looting the company he founded. He mentioned that, among other things, this sends a message to all those lower-level criminals who use fat-cats getting off scot-free as rationalization for their activities.

I like this because it's a reminder to those fat cats that corporations are not their personal piggy banks for them to raid at their leisure. When WorldCom was a small company (I'm assuming it was once a sole proprietorship) Ebbers could take what he wanted to his heart's content, as long as he could explain his actions to the IRS, if called upon to do so, in a way that would keep him from landing in jail. What these guys don't seem to get (or not care about) is that once these companies go public, they're just that: PUBLIC. The old head honcho can't do whatever he wants without fear of repercussions.

Sad thing is, even though Ebbers is facing the music, though the 80-year-old founder of Adelphia has already faced the music, even though Ken Lay will face the music, overpaid idiots with dollar signs in their eyes will continue to do the same things, hoping against hope that the IRS, the SEC, and everybody else looks the other way, then acting shocked when they don't.

Reminds me of the title of one of Brand Nubian's old raps: "Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down." It may seem odd to refer to these "gentlemen" as punks, but when they keep doing these "stupid human tricks" knowing what the penalties are, what else is there to call them?


  1. The CEOs of Worldcom / Enron / Adelphia should've gotten 125 years each - and be fed nothing but vitamin supplements and tofu in various tasty permutations. The fillings from their teeth should've been removed and sold for scrap - replaced with a cheaper, durable material used on the customers of free dental clinics. Weekly plasma donations should be mandatory. The bequeathing of their organs upon their demise to those who could use 'em or at least medical schools should've been mandatory. Their hair should be harvested annually and sold. Every single item they owned should've been auctioned off or sold, right down to the used potholders.
    All of the proceeds should be divided among the stockholders who were robbed - and no, I'm not one or even acquainted with any, so far as I know.
    I'd pay up to a hundred bucks for a necktie (and I hate neckties) - okay, a used pair of dress socks - just so I could sit my kids down and tell them a story. Visual aids increase the retention of communicated information.
    Now the icky part - their families should be left with nothing, and pointed toward the nearest homeless shelter. (Well... okay, maybe with no more than one thousand bucks in their pocket, from the sale of the potholders. But I've gotta draw the line somewhere.)

    The future Leys and Ebbers will not be discouraged enough - any more than, oh, Al Qaeda - unless the consequences are thorough and truly horrifying.

    It does not please me much to type such things...
    Thoughtful criticism is invited.

  2. I agree with you in principle, but I'd have to draw the line at penalizing their families UNLESS they knew or were involved in the criminal goings-on, in which case, throw the book at them just as hard.