Monday, March 17, 2008

Stop, Thief: Bear Stearns Chairman Will Walk Away With $13.4 Million

Professional rich asshole: Nice work if you can get it.

Nothing like corporate welfare. After getting a $30 billion federal bailout (Billions for Billionaires! Nothing for Have Nothings, aka The Rest of Us!) and selling his company for pennies on the dollar (bankrupting employees and stockholders in the process) Bear Stearns Chairman James Cayne will walk away with millions. $13.4 million on top of the $232 million he earned from 1993 to 2006 (and whatever he earned in 2007 and this year).

NYTimes: Sale Price Reflects the Depth of Bear’s Problems

James E. Cayne, Bear Stearns’s former chief executive and one of its largest individual shareholders, will most likely walk away with a little more than $13.4 million, the value of his Bear stock holdings, according to James F. Redda & Associates. Those would have been worth $1.2 billion in January 2007, when Bear’s stock was trading at a $171.51. Mr. Cayne has taken home more than $232 million in salary, bonus and other pay between 1993 and 2006, the time period for which there is publicly available data, according to Equilar, an as an executive compensation research firm.

No wonder he didn't want to leave his bridge tournament as his company and his 14,000 employees went down the drain. He had nothing to worry about. The feds aren't going to go after his cushy life. It's just business! Rich guy's business. The ones against health care for the rest of us, or food for the poor, but when their bottom lines are at risk their hands are fully outstretched.

The best post I saw all day on Bear Stearns (by Athenae at First Draft) is applicable here. Why can't the government take that $13.4 million? Hasn't he already got enough? Didn't we just give him $30 billion for nothing? Can't we take some of his money, if not his stuff? Why not?

Does Bear Stearns have a big screen TV?

What about bling? Any bling they could sell?

Couldn't Bear Stearns just get a job, already? I mean, I know of six or seven places that are hiring. I don't know what they pay, but surely it would be enough to keep them in sneakers and Xbox games.

I mean, just last week I heard that when we bailed out the airlines, jewelry sales at Wal-Mart went up 1400 percent. I didn't see it myself, but my cousins told me they heard it from somebody who knows somebody who works there, and it was like Christmas morning when those government checks cleared. What can you expect, really, from people trained in government dependency, I guess, but it still pisses me off, because that's my money. Fucking leeches.

Let me ask those questions, those questions we ask of every beneficiary of the smallest drop of government assistance. Let me ask why this is the ONLY scenario in which our parsimonious bullshit about personal responsibility, about choices and consequences, about "survival of the fittest" and other forms of sicko math, need not fucking apply.

Let me ask just how the unholy fuck it is that we can quibble every single day for hours over lunches that would feed a small village for a week about the ten dollars a year we give to some social program and how it's going to waste because somebody fed us an anecdote about somebody somewhere faking their need. Let me ask just how the bloody fucking blue hell we can get all worked up over how the homeless people downtown don't deserve our pennies because one of them said something rude to us on the way out of a store, and how they're just gonna spend our 65 cents on booze and then pee on the stoop. Let me ask how on earth we can take all the time it takes to think up all the ways we think up to sit in judgement on every individual case we hear about, about how that person just didn't work harder, didn't suffer enough, didn't earn "our" money, didn't deserve "our" charity, didn't bleed in front of us enough, and all the while, all the fucking while, we give it away by the millions and never ask where it goes. All the while.

Let me just ask. I'm sure somebody out there has the answer. After all, they had reasons why Katrina victims deserved to drown and die, be forced from their homes and screwed by their insurance companies and disregarded by their country. They had reasons why uninsured children didn't deserve health care, why those who died from a lack of medical attention only got what they had coming. They had reasons why the people who came to emergency rooms were just looking for drugs, they had reasons why thieves got rich and saints got shot, they had all kinds of explanations for everything that looked to everybody else like a fucking problem we needed somebody to solve. I'm sure the answers here are just as simple, just as easy.

But I do think we should ask. And you know, I think we should ask in the same condescending, fuck-all-you-peasants know-it-all bullshit fuck-ass tone that we use when requesting that the rest of the nation's needy prove their legitimacy to us. I think we should ask with the same nasty assumptions at the back of our throats, the same willingness to believe that somebody else is running a scam on us to get a fat government check, the same nasty, mean, small little pinchingness we use toward individual human beings. I think we should ask those questions.

I mean, for all we know, maybe Bear Stearns has a big ol' diamond cross they could sell, to pay their own damn way.

1 comment:

lovable liberal said...

I keep thinking people will get outraged about shit like this, but they keep watching Fox and believing it. After all, this fine gentleman only took away 5% of the whole Bear Stearns buy-out.