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6 Outrageous Statements From America's Big-Mouthed Overlords

Business  (tags: abuse, americans, banks, business, consumers, corporate, corruption, dishonesty, economy, Entrepreneurs, environment, ethics, finance, government, investments, labor, law, lies, marketing, money, politics, society )

- 1905 days ago -
Regulating their mouths is not the strong suit of America's corporate chieftains.

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Kit B (276)
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 8:07 am
Photo: Jamie Dimon CEO Chase Bank credit: Allternet

The sh*t CEOs say! When the chiefs of giant corporations are not blaming others for their mismanagement and unscrupulous behavior, they’re explaining why their distorted worldviews are best for the 99 percent. They do this, of course, at a time of declining national median income and huge paydays for executives.

Recently, there has been an uptick of particularly stupid remarks coming from the mouths of America’s CEOs. Here are a few of the most out-of-touch and out-of-line oracles, a mix of recent gaffes and classic blunders.

1. “That's why I'm richer than you.”

JPMorgan honcho Jamie Dimon has taken time out of his regularly scheduled program of mismanaging a systemically dangerous bank to divulge why he's richer than the rest of us. Last week, Mike Mayo, who is both an analyst at CLSA and a critic of too-big-to-fail banks, was on an investor conference call -- a forum in which executives typically offer BS about their company’s performance. Mayo wasn’t having it. He asked pointedly if customers might take their money to better-capitalized banks than JPMorgan. (Check out the video.)

Mayo: I think what I hear UBS saying in the presentation is that if I'm an affluent customer I'll feel a lot better going to UBS if they have 13.5 (percent) capital ratio than another big bank with a 10 percent ratio. Do you agree with that?

Dimon: You would go to UBS and not JPMorgan?

Mayo: I didn't say that. That's their argument.

Dimon: That's why I'm richer than you.

The mystery of Dimon’s riches solved! Dimon became 1 percenter extraordinairre because he operates in a lax regulatory climate that lets him get away with low capital ratios. That, of course, is one of the reasons the big banks blew up the economy during the recent financial crisis – they were over-leveraged. Which is awful for just about everybody -- investors, taxpayers and ordinary people dealing with economic ruin. But it sure is great for Dimon.

James Saft over at Reuters was less than impressed by Dimon’s musings:

“The real issue isn't who is rich, but rather whose interests are being fairly served and whose aren't. Dimon's approach gives short shrift to both shareholders and taxpayers. Taxpayers still carry substantial risks for which they are not being compensated, a state that will only change when regulations are tightened, and hopefully vastly simplified…Shareholders do badly because the kind of bank Dimon runs is prone to loss and volatility, leading markets to set a low value on the bank's earnings.”

Dimon may be wealthy, but his crappy performance as a CEO, demonstrated in the “London Whale” fiasco in which $6 billion went missing, has cost him. His pay was recently cut by more than half, to $11.5 million from $23 million. Alas, he still feels more than rich enough to continue his obnoxious bragging.

The Mayo exchange certainly isn’t the first time Dimon has shared his perspective on being filthy rich: In 2011, as bankers were under fire from the Occupy movement, he whined, "Acting like everyone who's been successful is bad and that everyone who is rich is bad -- I just don't get it.”

No, Jamie, and you probably never will.

2. “I don’t think that I would consider myself a feminist.”

Marissa Mayer, who recently became the CEO of Yahoo, catapulted to meme-of-the-moment when she decided, in a burst of anachronistic bone-headedness, that employees may no longer telecommute, but must stay chained to their desks five days a week.

That was bad enough, but Mayer’s offenses don’t stop there. She has also taken it upon herself to expound upon how “easy” it is to have a baby: “way easier than everybody made it out to be.” Which, of course, it must be when you have a nursery built right by your office!

Mayer has also treated us to her dim view of feminists, whom she characterizes as negative Nellies whose bitching and moaning is unwelcome: “I don’t, I think, have sort of the militant drive and sort of the chip on the shoulder that sometimes comes with that. And I think it’s too bad, but I do think feminism has become, in many ways, a more negative word.”

Essentially, Mayer has waltzed through doors kicked open by the courageous women who have fought and organized to win her the opportunity to become a CEO, and then kicks dirt in their faces. Classy.

3. “We have a right to make a profit.”

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan is no stranger to controversy, having amplified his bank’s bad vibes in 2011 with an infamous $5 debit card fee that fizzled in the face of widespread criticism. The BofA chief whined that this was all grossly unfair, insisting that his company had a "right to make a profit" and that nobody understood "how much good" his employees do.

Moynihan neglected to mention that the debit card move was a classic example of what economists call “price leadership” –the signal given by the lead dog in an oligopoly that tells everyone in the group that it’s fine to raise prices. That the price increase has no connection whatever to the quality of the product or service is ample evidence that big banks like BofA do not operate in anything remotely resembling a free or fair market. They are dangerous parasites that suck the lifeblood out of the real economy and get away with it because of their political influence and their status as too-big-to-fail.

Somehow, even without the nasty debit card fee, Moynihan managed to suck up gargantuan amounts of money. Despite his dismal performance as CEO, in 2012 he received a 73-percent pay increase, largely because the bank was able to resolve various lawsuits launched in the wake of the financial crisis. BofA was able to do this of course, because financial crimes go largely unpunished in America. The $12.1 million pay package meant that Moynihan was one of the best-paid CEOs on Wall Street last year.

4.“We've got to get companies to regulate themselves…”

Of all the idiotic ideas we’ve heard since the financial crisis, this notion ranks high for sheer brazenness. And who uttered these words? None other than AIG CEO Robert Benmosche, whose company became the poster child for the culture of corporate dysfunction that helped tank the economy. AIG got a $180 billion bailout during the 2008 financial crisis, which it needed in part because financial institutions had been allowed to regulate themselves.

After the bailout, which came in the wake of several fraud investigations, huge bonuses were distributed to AIG executives. Unabashed, Benmosche explained to CNN that "the most important thing is that we've got to get companies to regulate themselves and to do the right thing.”

Mm-kay. Elizabeth Warren, among others, has been vocal about the pressing reasons why just the opposite approach is needed, explaining that such financial institutions “run the risk of taking down everyone’s job…everyone’s pensions…[and] the entire economy.”

Perhaps Benmosche should try regulating his mouth.

5. “I have no regrets about…how Countrywide was run. It was a world-class company.”

Spoken like a world-class asshole! Angelo Mozilo, the former head of Countrywide, brought “subprime mortgage” into common parlance by chasing high-risk borrowers to boost market share. Countrywide's shady practices led to a frenzy of subprime lending in the industry that eventually torpedoed the economy. To keep the frauds and hustles going, the company aggressively silenced whistleblowers.

But according to the perma-tanned Mozilo, foreclosure problems in America had nothing to do with his company. It was all the fault of irresponsible homeowners who decided to abandon their homes because the value dropped below the mortgage amount. “These people didn't lose their jobs,” he fumed. “They didn't lose their health. They didn't lose their marriage…They left their home because the values went below the mortgage. That's what caused the problem.”

Oh, really? As CNBC’s John Carney has pointed out, there’s no evidence that anything but a tiny fraction of homeowners walked away from underwater mortgages, even at the very height of the crisis.

Nobody bought Mozilo’s ludicrous defense, including the SEC, which sued him for fraud. He paid $67.5 million to settle a civil fraud case and is banned from ever serving as an officer or a director at any public company. Portfolio magazine ranked Mozilo as #2 on its list of "Worst American CEOs of All Time."

6. “I’m doing God’s work.”

Obviously, this list would not be complete without acknowledging the spectacular verbal gifts of Lloyd Blankfein, chief of Goldman Sachs. Blankfein sees himself as the champion of the free market, a hero who mocks the public and revels in his power.

In the gaffe-of-all-gaffes, Blankfein proclaimed the heavenly mission of investment bankers, insisting that they are doing “God’s work.” He added, perhaps with some foreboding, "I know I could slit my wrists and people would cheer."

Goldman Sachs has made a specialty of defrauding investors by hiding conflicts of interest between itself and its customers. In 2010, the company was forced to pay a $550 million fine to settle securities fraud charges.

Recently, Blankfein expressed his commitment to seeing that Social Security and Medicare will not be there for the elderly.

God certainly works in mysterious ways.

By: Lynn Parramore | alternet senior staff writer | Alternet |

Sue H (7)
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 8:22 am
Off with their heads!

Maggie Schafer (1)
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 8:23 am
Can't remember which idiot in Congress it was, but, one of them suggested Jamie Dimon be appointed Treasury Secretary! How to choke on your coffee while watching the news!

Most of these guy are Republicans and for very good reasons!

Arielle S (313)
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 8:45 am
I'm with Sue - Off with their heads! Their egos are so much bigger than their heads or their hearts...

Fiona O (565)
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 9:39 am
"Overlords", is the correct word. Miss Kitty, this is one subject on which I strongly dislike you being right. Also, I would like to add that I so strongly dislike, Sue, Alice and Arielle being correct that I will send them green stars. I already sent you a star, Miss Kitty.

Angelika R (143)
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 10:01 am
Six more potential candidates for that dusty guillotine, for sure!

Gene Jacobson (290)
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 10:05 am
"Dimon may be wealthy, but his crappy performance as a CEO, demonstrated in the “London Whale” fiasco in which $6 billion went missing, has cost him. His pay was recently cut by more than half, to $11.5 million from $23 million. Alas, he still feels more than rich enough to continue his obnoxious bragging."

It is NEVER a good sign when I recognize a blowhard like Dimon instantly. Trolls like him really should be laboring in the dark under their bridge lest people see them coming. The reason I recognize him so readily is that MSNBC made mincemeat of him last summer and fall. Why? Because he was trying to persuade Congress that NO more regulation was necessary because after 2008 NO BANK would ever do that again. Then, he went and did it again. I think we should be able to revoke the citizenship, or green cards, of the likes of Dimon for actions taken that place the entire American economy at risk and send them to Europe where I'm sure their business acumen would be welcome, failing that, a large liner constantly circling the planet would be a LOT cheaper than leaving them at the helm of our nation's banks and brokerage firms.

Kit B (276)
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 10:16 am

Oh Yes, Angie it is time to dust off that old mechanic wizard and rid ourselves of these blood sucking fleas.

We must treat banks and all businesses just as the founders intended, not as ruling or elite class of humanoid, but just as they are, occasionally useful, but when not retire the corporate charter. All of this gang of Too Big Too Jail, are completely unnecessary to any part of our fiscal, economic health. We can dump them and watch the new and more careful business grow and flourish.

Angelika R (143)
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 11:14 am
In case you do not know just how to do that, have a look across the waters how other democracies are doing it!
And thereby strenghten teir economy AND their democracy at the same time!
Once again the heads up here to Switzerland:

Kit B (276)
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 11:22 am

We have done it in the past. I would say that we have those in the Congress (both Houses) in the Judicial, and Executive branches of government that need to learn to grow a pair --- of ovaries. These people lack vision, memory, and mostly the intestinal fortitude to be leaders. All of Europe has been around a much longer period of time than the United States, we can learn much from them.

Joanne Dixon (38)
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 3:50 pm
Kit, yes, we need leaders with huevos.

Joanne Dixon (38)
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 3:57 pm
P.S. If the guillotine is brought back I volunteer to sit there kntting. ;-)

lee e (114)
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 5:35 pm
I don't think there are many rich people today who haven't been exploitive to gainn their wealth - which is really sad - it is obvious in our society today that the decancy of business - where once the motto of "the customer is always right" - is being totally eradicated - and the morality of making money is - just that - and it is more important than making a living to cater to the public -- it's become an amoral business - where the filthy rich - become richer and filthier!

pam w (139)
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 7:56 pm
It's all summed up in the first few words...." The sh*t CEOs say! When the chiefs of giant corporations are not blaming others for their mismanagement and unscrupulous behavior, they’re explaining why their distorted worldviews are best for the 99 percent. They do this, of course, at a time of declining national median income and huge paydays for executives."

++++++++++++++ I found this ESPECIALLY infuriating....the arrogance of these bastards is hard to accept.

Helen Porter (39)
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 10:15 pm
Recently, Blankfein expressed his commitment to seeing that Social Security and Medicare will not be there for the elderly.


So what are they going to do, collect three "entitlement" checks from seniors to get a ticket to the local
assisted suicide clinic. Or provide the gun and shells to "do it yourself" "and that is your entitlement."?

Past Member (0)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 4:05 pm

Craig Pittman (52)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 5:34 am
I agree with many of the sentiments here. The French had the right idea in 1789.
They are greedy, arrogant, control most of the wealth that WE generated and give nothing back to the Country. Watch out boys the people are waking up.
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