Recently in Corporate Greed Category

Lack Of Control

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One of the things that really irritates me is the lack of control over certain aspects of my blog. This blog is just like my home. Freedom of speech is fine in the public square, but for someone to rudely enter into my home to supposedly speak freely is an invasion of my privacy.

If you are wondering what I am talking about, just remember that some time back advertising was ruled free speech. Fine, but I still should have the right to refuse entry of those whom I do not wish to speak freely in my home.
(Kevin Drum) Should we ban businesses from pulling your credit score as part of their hiring process?

If there is a company that wants to know my credit score as part of their hiring decision, then I do not want to work for them. It is obvious that the company is ethically challenged to start with.

Also, it suggests a rather arrogant view of themselves that they would not want to hire people who have been, you know, unemployed due to the decrepit economy for which we can thank 3 decades of conservative rule.

And, in the end, if they need to look at your credit score, then just how pathetic are they at judging people at face value? Also, asking for a credit score means they do not have the ability to appraise the situation as it occurs.

Of course, it could mean that they only want heartless bastards who lack compassion.

Keeping My Fingers Crossed

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If this really happens, I suspect we will see a restoration of sanity on Wall Street, with an improving economic situation for Main Street. Not immediately, obviously. This is a long-term move that would keep our economy from experiencing the consequences that results from the rash impulsiveness of the investor class.

Dec. 28 (Bloomberg) -- A one-page proposal gaining traction in Congress could turn back the clock on Wall Street 10 years, forcing the breakup of banks, including Citigroup Inc.

Lawmakers in both parties, seeking to prevent future financial crises while soothing public anger over bailouts and bonuses, are turning to an approach that's both simple and transformative: re-imposing sections of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act that separated commercial and investment banking.

Those walls came down with passage of the Gramm-Leach- Bliley Act of 1999. A proposal to reconstruct them, made by U.S. Senators John McCain and Maria Cantwell on Dec. 16, would prevent deposit-taking banks from underwriting securities, engaging in proprietary trading, selling insurance or owning retail brokerages. The bill could also force the unwinding of deals consummated during the financial crisis, including Bank of America Corp.'s acquisition of Merrill Lynch & Co.

Hat Tip: Susie Madrak via C&L

Highway Robbery

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After filing for bankruptcy, I made a conscious decision not to apply for any new credit cards. Damn, am I glad now.

I Thought So!

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I always believed the cell phone companies used the extended voice mail instructions to take even more money from me. Now, David Pague has an article up verifying my belief.

In 2007, I spoke at an international cellular conference in Italy. The big buzzword was ARPU--Average Revenue Per User. The seminars all had titles like, "Maximizing ARPU In a Digital Age." And yes, several attendees (cell executives) admitted to me, point-blank, that the voicemail instructions exist primarily to make you use up airtime, thereby maximizing ARPU.
What the hell happened to customer service in this country? It use to be, at least it seemed to me, that ripping off customers was a good way to lose business. I guess when you are able to spend the money to buy a few politicians, you can rig the system to be able to overtly rip off consumers and still make a profit. The above is one example of corporations knowingly ripping off costumers.

Then there is the health insurance industry, which has taken it even farther, buy not only ripping off their customers, but by dumping them, thereby increasing their profits. Not exactly a sustainable business model. Eventually, no one is going to buy their service. Then were do they get the money? Oh, duh, I forgot, mandatory laws forcing people to buy their crappy health insurance coverage.

Jeff Rosenberg has a post up about banning the marketing of prescription drugs of which I support. I remember the warnings, just like the warnings about creating HMO's would increase health care costs, that allowing advertising would drive up prescription drug costs, not reduce them. Indeed, when Wall Street and Madison Ave. were allowed their greedy fingers into the mix, prices started inflating dramatically. The obvious, initially stated goal of containing cost certainly has not come to pass.

The radical in me sees only one option; making health care - anything to do with health care - non-profit. Not just hospitals and clinics, but insurance and pharmicuticals as well. Health care as a business is directly in conflict with the goal of health care. Healing people so they don't come back is guaranteeing a loss of profit. What business wants to lose profit?

Yeah, like that needs to be answered out loud.

With the exception of  war profiteering, people making a profit off the suffering, misery, and death of fellow human beings is by far the most vile, despicable behavior I think exists.

Back in 2006, this story was all about excessive CEO pay. But in reality, this particular issue, which was overlooked, was about a man receiving $1 billion as head of a company that efficiently contained costs by refusing to cover medical procedures.

What's different about the fire this time is that it is singeing respected CEOs like Nardelli, Raymond, and in the biggest brushfire yet, UnitedHealth (Charts) CEO William McGuire.

McGuire has long been hailed as proof that nothing is wrong with paying outlandish sums for outrageous overperformance - in his case a 40-fold increase in total return over fifteen years. ("I don't think we could have anticipated the shares [would reach] this level five years ago," McGuire has said in rejecting the "perceived problem" of his excessive comp.)

In March, the Wall Street Journal raised questions about possible options backdating at UnitedHealth (a practice that, while permissible under certain circumstances, can amount to outright theft of shareholder assets.

No wrongdoing has so far been established, but the company, the SEC, and government prosecutors are all still investigating. Even so, the stock is down 22%, a drop that has lowered the value of McGuire's trove of in-the-money options from $1.6 billion in December to a still hefty $1 billion today

Now, fast forward to 2009, and we learn why such profits were possible:

An investigation by the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations showed that health insurers WellPoint Inc., UnitedHealth Group and Assurant Inc. canceled the coverage of more than 20,000 people, allowing the companies to avoid paying more than $300 million in medical claims over a five-year period.

It also found that policyholders with breast cancer, lymphoma and more than 1,000 other conditions were targeted for rescission and that employees were praised in performance reviews for terminating the policies of customers with expensive illnesses.

"No one can defend, and I certainly cannot defend, the practice of canceling coverage after the fact," said Rep. Michael C. Burgess (R-Tex.), a member of the committee. "There is no acceptable minimum to denying coverage after the fact."
In case anyone is wondering, I'm more worried about Godless Capitalists than I am about Godless Socialists. These corporations are vultures, preying on the sick and dying, all in the name of efficiency and profit. It's disgusting.


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Guy Andrew Hall

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Politics is the control of wealth and power. You are being conditioned to condemn politics as petty and boring, thus granting all the more control to the powers that be. You are either a part of the problem or a part of the solution. The choice is yours.


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This page is an archive of recent entries in the Corporate Greed category.

Bush Victim is the previous category.

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