We need more Elizabeth Warrens

On September 20, before the Senate Banking Committee, Sen. Elizabeth Warren ripped Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf to shreds (over the opening of as many as 2 million unauthorized accounts). And it was a thing of beauty.

Absolutely, CEOs should be held accountable and sent to prison — not just allowed to pay hefty fines and walk away. Banking CEOs should have gone to prison when they precipitated the subprime mortgage crisis a few years ago. Oil CEOs should have gone to prison over incidents like the disastrous and deadly BP oil spill in the Gulf. Auto executives should go to prison when they knowingly hide and deny fatal defects in their cars. And pharmaceutical execs should go to prison when they initiate obvious price-gouging schemes and, for example, abruptly raise a life-saving drug’s price by as much as 400% for no reason (or in the case of Daraprim, 5,000%).

Year after year such CEOs buy their way out of any culpability while their lowest level employees take the heat, lose their jobs, etc. And it won’t stop until a couple of those expensive starched white collars do some real time in a real prison (not some country club like the one Martha Stewart briefly “visited”). Fines, even multimillion-dollar fines, are considered just a part of the cost of doing business. They don’t even come out of the CEO’s own pocket.

It’s one of the benefits of being extremely wealthy. If you’re rich enough, the law doesn’t apply to you. (But lots of luck if you were one of the 5,300 lower level employees fired by Wells Fargo for their participation in this scheme.)

17 thoughts on “We need more Elizabeth Warrens

  1. What a pity that this honest woman cannot become President of The United States of America; people of Mr. John G. Stumpf’s ilk will not allow it, and for their own safety cannot afford to or let it happen; they have the money and the power to make sure that the status quo remains the same
    Truth will out! Pity is there is nobody willing or couragous enogh to act upon it.

    1. She could run for president and was urged to run this time, but she opted not to. I think she’d have made a great candidate, certainly better than Hillary. But as I recall, she thought this was not the time and she’d be more useful if she stayed in the Senate. It could be she thought Hillary had it locked up this time and she’ll run in 2020. Still, it would be a shame to lose her from the Senate and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She’s doing really important work. I just wish we had several more of her. There’s a lot that needs doing in Washington.

  2. I totally agree about Warren, she’s terrific. As for CEO’s, it has always amazed me how they can garner absurdly high compensation while pretending not to know what’s going on in their own companies. In the case of Wells Fargo, it was at least several years! I can’t help but compare it to the Navy. If anything happens to the ship, grounding, collision, even poor maintenance or morale, the Captain’s career is toast. Not in the civilian world! Sacrifice some underlings and you’re good to go.

    1. Yep. “The buck stops here” doesn’t seem to apply in the business world. The CEOs get rich and if there’s a price to pay, it’s the underlings who lose their jobs — or worse.

  3. We need some fearless “pitbulls” who will go after someof these companies. I don’t really like her (although she would have been a better choice than Hillary), but I do like her style and willingness to go after people and try to do what is right

    1. I’d have almost bought a ticket to see watch her take this guy apart. Also some of the other CEOs that deserve the same treatment. Maybe it’s more important in the long run to leave her right where she is, doing what she does so well.

  4. :Personally I was disappointed in the hearings goal.

    Why didn’t they have an attorney general there to incarcerate the guy?

    Senator Cummings laid it out perfectly… He said Stumtp (sp?) would give the senators all the time they needed to denigrate him in a version of “Rope-A-Dope” and then go from there to the bank to cash in on his golden parachute.

    Charges are brought against ordinary folks who engage in fraud and larceny… but not this rotten b*stard. Makes me sick,

    1. Obviously I don’t understand the system. He’s the boss, the instigator of the company-wide fake accounts. He’s got “The buck stops here” sign on his desk (as did the BP CEO Tony Hayward, Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli, Mylan CEO Heather Bresch, and many others). And none of them ended up in prison. Apparently if you’re rich enough and influential enough, you’re untouchable. Which makes such hearings nothing more than a public shaming … if that.

... and that's my two cents