In Jewish culture one of the highest ranking “mitzvahs” (good deeds) is to give someone a job. The old adage about “give a man a fish he eats for a day, teach him how to fish, he eats for a lifetime” is in the same vein.
Yet, the most highly paid fishing instructors in this country could care less about anybody eating- except themselves, and the impact of their decisions is leading to the possible fall of our country. Yep, while Rome is burning- these idiots aren’t just fiddling, they’re throwing themselves birthday parties where the entertainment costs a million bucks– and laughing it off.
Our global financial system has teetered on the brink of collapse for the last three years, with countries defaulting on debt, getting downgraded, the U.S. taxpayers bailing out the “too big to fail banks” and in the meantime, the CEOs who “run” these monstrosities continue to get paid millions for failing.
Take Bank of America CEO Brian T. Moynihan, who in 2010, his first year, made $2 million, (who was also granted $5 million in stock options in ’09) – and is at the center of the housing industry collapse, is laying off people left and right. From the New York Times:
The beleaguered financial firm, which continues to struggle under the weight of bad mortgage assets, is planning to cut 3,500 jobs, on top of the 2,500 reductions year to date, according to an internal memo written by the company’s chief executive, Brian T. Moynihan. And more could follow, with the total number of layoffs potentially reaching 10,000.
While libertarians and Republicans will say he’s getting highly compensated (and yes, anything over $500K a year is highly compensated – when the average family of 4 is living on around $50k a year) to “reel in costs” and “rightsize” the banking behemoth, the reality is that these layoffs are costing the rest of us serious money- in unemployment costs, and the resulting financial failings that go along with being jobless: home foreclosures, decreased consumption, loss of health benefits etc.
In the modern economy, no major business decision is done in a vacuum, and decisions like huge layoffs become risks to our national security. Look to the costs of the riots in the U.K.- a man-made national disaster with epic real costs. Sooner or later, the costs of allowing Wall Street to play with our economy as if they were playing Monopoly, while the rest of us are struggling with real money will be huge- with riots in the U.S., where guns are readily available.
Somewhere along the line- our financial system stopped looking at financial dealings as contracts between real people- and turned it into a casino game, and no one has looked twice at which house we have to live in. The United States is our house, the house of the people- Wall Street and Congress have become the owners of a giant casino, where the owners guarantee they make money and everyone else will pay dearly.
Who cares about having a military with global reach, when we can no longer make magnets in this country? Or anything else for that matter. China is holding $1.3 trillion or so in U.S. dollars- what’s stopping them from buying up Google, Apple and Exxon- and then taking those companies’ profits and buying up everything else of value? National defense isn’t just having better and more bullets- it’s about keeping the flag and what it stands for.
Much has been said about presidents not getting re-elected when unemployment is above 8% or whatever number economists want to use (unemployment figures have become as farcical as the “compensation” of Wall Street- with many people no longer counted because they’ve “stopped looking for work”) but the real question is, what kind of country we will have left after years of high unemployment coupled with years of exorbitant compensation of the game masters.
If the true costs of “laying off” employees is charged back to the corporations that don’t care, and compensation of the corporate leadership is linked to the average pay of their employees, we would see dramatically different actions being taken in this country – ones that would help guarantee that America doesn’t lose any more of its AA+ rating, or global leadership.
The American Dream requires jobs. The American economy requires jobs. Unfortunately, the American government is standing idly by while a small percentage of greedy idiots are being allowed to do as they please, while we all pay.
That Congress and the President stand idly by while this happens, is more than just the ending of jobs for Bank of America workers, it’s the beginning of the end of America.
It’s time to reward the mitzvah of making real jobs pay real money, and to end the benefits of playing with play money- that’s how we’ll end the ending of jobs in this country.