It’s official. The nation’s top cop, Attorney General Eric Holder, has clearly articulated the administration’s policy on crime at the biggest banks: it will not be prosecuted. Indeed, as we’ve long expected, the criminals in top management will not be investigated, they will not be indicted, they will not be prosecuted, and they will not be punished.
Period.Economonitor— Great Leap Forward
Eric Holder Makes it Official: Crime Is The Economic Model
L. Randall Wray | Professor of Economics, UMKC
This is an indictment rather than a take-down.
Oh, and what was that about the purpose of business is profit-maximization?
Remember General Electric—Thomas Edison’s industrial giant? Jack Welch took it over and ran it like a financial firm—reporting profits of 20% quarter after quarter through, shall we say, “creative accounting”. He drove up the stock price by 4000% over his tenure, then cashed out, making a reputed half a billion dollars for himself. He was a key figure in promoting the notion that generous compensation for top management—much in the form of stock options—properly aligns incentives.
As Bill Black notes, what this does is to provide spectacular rewards to control frauds and to ensure massive losses for average shareholders and employees of the firms when stock prices collapse. Shortly after Welch took the money and ran, GE’s stock price fell by two-thirds and the firm had to take big write-offs for the phony profits it had been reporting. While GE stocks slowly recovered in the mid-2000s boom, they collapsed to 5 in the GFC and in the current, historic, stock bubble GE is only in the low twenties. Welch is still treated as a corporate hero. And teaches his business philosophy to MIT students.