In My Own Words - Ron Centeno

a collection of thoughts and sentiments...in my own words

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1/30/2009

The Word is Greed

Written by Ron Centeno

If there is one word that spells economic disaster, that would be – GREED.

As early as the beginning of the 20th century, an English author named H. G. Wells wrote, “America is still, by virtue of its great Puritan tradition and in the older sense of the word, an intensely moral land. Most lusts here are strongly curbed, by public opinion, by training and tradition. But the lust of acquisition has not been curbed but glorified.” It cannot be further from the truth that the casual explanation is that Americans worship wealth based on greed.

Let me take you back to the economic scene in the 1910s. A business reporter for the New York Times and later the editor of Business Week named Elliot V. Bell recounted, “J. P. Morgan was far from being the richest man of his time. His estate was valued at about one-tenth of Andrew Carnegie’s, one-twelfth of John D. Rockefeller’s. Yet Morgan’s control of the U. S. economy is unlikely to be matched. When Congress investigated the Morgan Bank in 1912, it discovered that the assets controlled by ‘the octopus,’ as the bank was called by critics, totaled $25 billion – more than five times the budget of the federal government.”

It is of no coincidence that the same kind of greed only possessed perhaps by different personalities, has wrought havoc in the autumn of 1929 and the succeeding years of the country’s economic meltdown. Recall that the great crash of that year is notable of economic events that ushered the most momentous economic occurrence in the history of the United States known as the Great Depression. Since then, America has no shortage of economic turmoil cast upon by the people whose propensity for profit is simply insatiable.

Fast forward, today’s economic pundits equate the same word to our country’s economic woes. No less than Mr. Obama chastised Wall Street executives for taking fat bonuses at a time when financial system has run out of breath. “That is the height of irresponsibility. It is shameful”, Obama said.

But how much in dollars does the Obama administration is in disgust? A whopping $18.4billion bonus payouts, according to the New York comptroller. Such huge amount may sound totally outrageous, if not outright insane, to the ordinary taxpayers, who in the hindsight, would pick up the tab.

Let me rub some salt to your wound, if I may, to confirm the deranged justification of these American CEOs for their fat payouts to sustain their wild spending. Call it vanity but I still insist to be greed. I am referring to the renovation done to the office of the former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain. Last year, the vane CEO spent $1.2 million to fix up his office, including $35,115 on a commode, and $1,405 for trash bin!

Recall as well how the auto executives learned that lavish spending was totally unacceptable under today’s economic set up when they flew in private jets to Washington while seeking bailout. This prompted Citigroup to cancel a plan to buy $50 million executive jet because Obama does not believe it was “the best use of money” by companies receiving taxpayer assistance. Indeed, during the time of austerity, an act of fancy borne out of greed such as this is totally reprehensible and insensible. It must stop, in toto.

6 Your Thoughts/Comments Here::

Arjay said...

Yes,the bigwigs are out partying in their yachts and private jets, while we middle-class citizens are suffering the consequences of their actions.

Rainbow said...

Well our very own incumbent president spent a whoppping estimate of $150M for his inauguration. We are going through difficult times and I know that our president elect is doing his best. But what an example he made. He spent money that we could have saved. Yes that was a one time event, but was all that hoopla really necessary?

Jesse said...

Good Luck to him whose hands are full!

Becca said...

Obama is a great president. His presence is impacting grants like no other president prior. Grant funding for minorities and middle class have increased nearly 10,000% in the past week.

Becca said...

Off today? Nothing about the superbowl? part IV? Hehehehe! Enjoy the game...just dropped by for updates.

Janice said...

Nice blog.

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