Friday, November 21, 2008

When CEOs come a begging

Bank CEOs got sloppy in their lending and it swamped their boat. So the government provided money for a bailout. They were expected to start lending again. Instead, they hoarded the money. But that’s not all they did. Bank CEOs bought other banks. They paid dividends. And they continued to draw their own excessive salaries.

Have they no shame? Had they taken salary cuts it would have demonstrated sincerity and contrition. But they continued to behave like it was business as usual. Did Nero fiddle while Rome burned? Damn right, he did. Does history repeat itself? No, why should it? Thankfully, they didn’t get all the money at once. Before they get the rest, they should be held accountable for how it gets spent.

When CEOs from the automotive sector came begging yesterday, Congress sent them home. “Come back when you have a plan,” it told them. Rightly so. After eight years of no bid contracts to privatize a war that wasn’t necessary, it’s about time that accountability came into fashion again. Tough financial decisions will soon need to be made. Let’s hope the government decides wisely.

—extrapolated from this mornings stories on NPR.

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