Bob Franken

The China Sin Drone

By now, we know it’s hard to dispute the criticism that one of the reasons America is in the current mess we’re in because of a “. . . blind pursuit of profit.” The truth hurts.

It’s particularly painful when we know that those are the words of Wen Jiabo, the Premier of China, for crying out loud! How could we give the leader of a country so rife with human rights abuses the opening to so fundamentally challenge our system? That’s exactly what we’ve done with our hypocrisy and predatory financial practices.

The Chinese have had their own problems, as we know, churning out products for consumption at home and abroad that sometimes kill those who use them. On those rare occasions when they’re caught, some of the Chinese executives have gotten harsh punishment, up to, and including, execution.

Let’s agree right now that capital punishment for capitalist crimes in the good old U-S-of A, is probably, uh, overkill. But what do we do to the bad guys here who have scammed a free-market system in that “blind pursuit of profit” as well as their own personal enrichment? After all, their greed and shady practices have brought the rest of us to our knees.

Again, what do we do with the executive who tries to sneak huge undeserved bonuses to him/herself and all his/her cronies? What about the ones who have taken public billions, under the guise of economic rescue, and spent it on lavish retreats and corporate perks? When do such insensitivities as ordering still another $50 million corporate jet with bailout money cross that line between stupidity and conduct that deserves punishment?

How about those pampered upper managers who to and protect their positions by killing the jobs of thousand of others? Isn’t it about time to lay them off? How ridiculous is the argument that they’re needed to lead the rescue from disaster? Many of them are directly responsible for causing the disaster!

It is good to see that authorities are opening a criminal investigation into allegations that officials at that peanut processing plant knowingly distributed a product contaminated with salmonella. It’s about time they’re taking stern action (if they do). The mindset that accepting dangerous risk with the public to keep revenue up is a smart, or even moral, business practice must be condemned. It is nothing short of criminal and should be prosecuted, and those found guilty after a fair trial should be sent to prison.

We’ve been had. Think of Lucy and Charlie Brown. Every year in the “Peanuts” cartoon, Lucy would invite the woeful Charlie to kick the football she was holding. Every year she would pull it up just as he started to boot it, and every year he would land on his rear end. The point is that we are Charlie Brown to the high finance world is Lucy. We have landed on our assets time after time. Shouldn’t we just rip the football out of Lucy’s hands?

Let’s not ignore the fact that many we’re counting on to take corrective actions should really be held accountable for their own actions. So we have to watch them very, very closely.

In addition, we have to make sure that they create and enforce strict regulations that leave no room for clever maneuvering by plutocrats who have proven they don’t deserve to be trusted. Furthermore, when the perps perpetrate, they should be convicted, not in minimum security but max – the ones with other hardened, violent criminals.

These guys have committed their own brand of violence on millions of us, leaving our hopes of recovery very much in doubt.

A fundamental reason we punish evil and illegal conduct is to deter such behavior. We need to send a message that these smug fat cats who have stolen our futures from the rest of us will also pay a very big price. In other words, we need to scare the daylights out of anyone else who might be contemplating such larceny.

As for the rest of us, we need to be much more skeptical of our Lucies and make sure they never get to hold that football again. We need to stop being such Charlie Browns, and make sure our rights are not consumed by the profit motives of a few.

That will be the best way to shut up the Chinese Premier.

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