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Make Them Give It Back

Week of July 10, 2002
Kids caught stealing in school have to give back what they've stolen.

Reuters reports today that the US Senate has thrown the book at corporate criminals, responding with multiple measures to try to put the culprits in jail on any number of charges. 'These people deserve to go to jail. They've ruined the lives of thousands of people, good people, hard-working people, honest people. They have destroyed much of the confidence in Wall Street,' said Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat.

Wow. Is anyone impressed? Did Leahy mention Gary Winnick? Will he lead a charge against Global Crossing? As Winnick continues renovations on his $100 million home in California, his victims in Rochester are scrambling today to make ends meet. Winnick's cohorts meet with them and try to mollify them - any amount of hot air talk being better than getting down to brass tacks and assessing whose house it really is.

Senators also competed to out-tough each other with their proposals, says Reuters. Proposals aimed at restoring investor confidence in the wake of the scandals - as well as limiting the political fallout on their respective parties.

Yeah, that last part is important. Both of the major parties in the US are up past their eyeballs in all of this - especially when it comes to Winnick and Global Crossing. Ken Lay wasn't half as smart as Winnick: Lay just dumped money on the Republicans; Winnick, on the other hand, not only greased both political parties, he made sure key leaders of both parties were fully compromised. W's daddy gave a speech for Winnick and Winnick made a tricky deal for the ex Pres to turn what should have only been an exorbitant speaking fee into a landslide $14 million pie. And the head of the DNC got bit by a huge million dollar cake too. Neither party in Washington dares go after the scoundrels full force. Their own leaders will come down in the crunch.

So they'll just blow hot air around. Yeah, Ebbers and Lay and Winnick and Nacchio and Grubman and Kramer and Berardino and Watson and Blodget and Cheney and all the rest are dirt, scum, and deserve to go to jail. Empty rhetoric. In a while it will all blow over and the boys can get back to business as usual.

But lives have been ruined, and it's not a joke. Ebbers and Sullivan and the rest cooked the books. Whether it was indefeasible rights of use or energy swapping, they fudged it - and then they used their Wall Street friends to keep investor interest in their failing companies alive long enough so they could dump their own stock and cut their own losses.

Are they idiots? Yes. Are they clumsy spoiled brats who can't ever get enough? Definitely. Will the US congress hurt them? Grow up. And even if they get squished a bit by Washington, they are certainly not going to lose their money. Whatever the US Senate has up its sleeve for Bernie and Gary and the rest of these rats, it's a foregone conclusion they'll all be living high when the dust settles.

So the US government is going to take this rat pack to court? Great. Fine. Let them do it. But instead of jail sentences no one cares about, grab their money. Kids caught stealing in school have to give back what they've stolen. It's not more difficult to do here. Winnick is guilty and doesn't deserve his palace and his $500 million from his last minute $734 million swindle? Fine - give the money to his employees and the retirement funds that got screwed. Bernie owes $408 million to WorldCom? Great. Don't let WorldCom 'forgive' him the loan - make him pay, and use the money to help the poor people he screwed. And while you're at it, confiscate his house, his property everywhere, sell it and give the proceeds to those who lost out.

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