Are corporations picking more pockets as government snoozes?

by Wade Rathke

October 15, 2020

New Orleans,  Maybe I’m wrong? Maybe I just woke up with a manic pandemic depression about the current pandemic depression? Maybe it’s always like this, and I haven’t noticed it as much until lately, but it seems like every time I pick up the papers in the morning, I’m reading about some major league corporate corruption scandal.

Is that because we’re catching more of them? That’s hard to believe? Everything we read and know indicates that the government under the Trump administration has turned the other cheek, looked the other way, or enabled a bunch of funny dealing. Right from the White House the message seems to be all about fancy tax evasion, wholesale cronyism, stock tips, and pocket lining, so I worry that what I’m reading is the tip of the iceberg because a lot of fast dealing companies think they have the green light for mischief.

Current cases pop up everywhere even from big ticket companies:

  • JP Morgan Chase has settled with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for a $920 million fine for “spoofing.” Spoofing is a way of manipulating prices in a market by buying and then canceling orders to deceive other buyers about supply and demand. I’m not even talking about the continuing mess at Wells Fargo or the $400 million Citigroup is paying for bad risk management.
  • Pilgrim’s Pride, the chicken pluckers agreed to pay $110 million for price-pricing.
  • FirstEnergy is being investigated for bribes in Ohio to a company owned by a state legislator that greased a $1.5 billion bailout loan.
  • Berkshire Hathaway is suing giant law firm Jones-Day for tricking them into paying five times the value of a company.

Right, darned if they aren’t stealing from each other, not just us. Certainly, one report after another indicates that big corporations were the biggest winners in the giant stimulus package even when they had been fined by the government in the past for countless misdeed.

Of course, we never read about the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, that was gutted like a fish and was originally designed to protect the little minnows like ourselves, but that’s another story. They have a sock in their mouths and their hands tied behind their backs. You wonder why more than a billion in stimulus was ripped off and another billion went to dead people? Well, that’s one place to look.

The corporate culture has gone wild on compensation for years. Now, I wonder how long it will take to wean them off of corporate corruption, even if a new sheriff is coming to town?

Wade Rathke is founder and chief organizer of ACORN and ACORN International. You can find Wade’s recent past posts here Chief Organizer Reports. And you can link to his website here Chief Organizer ACORN/ACORN International.

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