Well, that would be my solution. Punishment, with the benefit of future deterrence.
Nothing makes me quite as crazy (not even stupid Republicans like Rush "I want Obama to fail" Limbaugh) as these morally and ethically bankrupt CEOs like Merrill Lynch's John Thain, who continued to enrich themselves and their banking buddies off of taxpayers' bailout money after their own incompetence and greed had sent their institutions into deadly tailspins.
Frank Rich's column in today's New York Times is, depending on how you look at it, either a salve for agitated hearts like mine, or a handful of salt, guaranteed to raise blood pressure. Sample:
Yet the values of the bubble remain entrenched even as Obama
takes office. In the upper echelons, we can find fresh examples of
greed and irresponsibility daily even without dipping into the growing
pool of those money “managers” who spirited victims to Bernie Madoff.
week’s object lesson was John Thain, the chief executive of Merrill
Lynch. He was lionized as a rare Wall Street savior as recently as
September, when he helped seal the deal that sped his teetering firm
into the safe embrace of Bank of America on the same weekend Lehman Brothers died. Since then we’ve learned that even as he was laying off Merrill employees by the thousands, he was lobbying (unsuccessfully) for a personal bonus as high as $30 million and spending $1.22 million of company cash on refurbishing his office, an instantly notorious $1,405 trashcan included.
Thain resigned on Thursday. Only then did we learn that he doled out billions
in secret, last-minute bonuses to his staff last month, just before
Bank of America took over and just before the government ponied up a
second bailout to cover Merrill’s unexpected $15 billion fourth-quarter
loss. So far American taxpayers have spent $45 billion on this mess, and that’s only our down payment.
Where do you suppose I go to volunteer for the firing squad?