Cheaters, Liars, Cons, And Price Gougers …
— Are Penalties Enough For Crime?

By  John Derby
Times Publisher
October 6, 2016

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: This editorial was written two weeks ago, before $41 million was set as a possible penalty for the Wells Fargo CEO for his actions, or inactions regarding the unauthorized charges in millions of dollars from clients checking accounts.

Are the penalties enough for the high profile corporations that cheat, lie, steal money from bank accounts and increase prices 600 percent on life-saving drugs?
We have had a rash of abusers this year and in the past, starting with Volkswagen, and then Well Fargo Bank and even British Petroleum. They have paid and will pay, however, is it more than just a slap on the hand, compared to what they should be paying.
These white collar crimes cost millions of dollars, but there has been a much greater cost, and that is in the distrust of those who had a responsibility and did not live up to it.
Volkswagen, the world’s largest corporate auto producer, knowingly cheated on the emissions tests on some of its cars. The CEO resigned as he should have, but how much personal penalty did he have to pay, and how much personal penalties did his administrators have to pay out of their own pockets?
Sure, the corporation is paying a large penalty, but that payment is being paid by the stockholders who likely had nothing to do with the decision to cheat on the emission tests.
Is jail time even a penalty which needs to be considered?
Wells Fargo Bank cheated millions of customers with charges which they never approved. Isn’t this stealing? So thousands lost their jobs, but these were not the higher ups, the administrators who knew about these practices and encouraged them.
Cheating can be a criminal offense and the penalty can be prison time. The perpetrators may have been forced to pay back money which has been gained by cheating. Is there a follow up investigation as to the actual persons responsible? Or, are once again the stockholders having to pay the penalty when these people did not know what was being done behind their backs?
The CEO of Mylan defended her pharmaceuticals company on the grounds that it spent money on research, but what about the millions she gained in salary and benefits as the price of Mylan’s asthma drug went from $100 to $600 in five years — all at the expense of asthma suffers? Who makes the policies which set the rates? Are they being held responsible? These decisions come down from the top, and the top people should be made to pay.
How many lives were effected by the BP oil spill? Were the penalties enough to keep other oil companies from making the same kind of mistakes which could damage the environment and the lives of thousands who depended on the shrimp and the gulf for a living? Did the top decision making people pay anything out of their own pocket in penalties? Or was it again, the stockholders who ended up paying the bill with the culprits getting off scot-free?
There was a time when we were proud to be a member of corporate America. We still see and report on big businesses who are shining examples of what corporate America should be; however, more and more, we witness examples like those above where the corporations are self-serving and lie and cheat their way to the top of the economic ladder.
They are not alone. The top of the political ladder also join in the largess. Cheating and lying is also on their table and if you have to pay for political favors, so be it.
After the first political debate, it is hard to believe there is anyone we can trust.


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