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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/21/11

Let's Hear It for the Bad Boys

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Message Elayne Clift
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I've had it.   I'm sick of corporate bullies and con artists, banker bums, oil execs, and creeps in political office. Enough already.   It's time to stop legitimizing members of The Rich and Powerful Pervert Club when what they deserve is a good whack upside the head.


            Anyone who watched the Congressional hearings in which executives of the big five multinational oil companies threatened members of Congress when questioned about corporate profits and the need for oil subsidies saw how arrogant these guys are. Remove our subsidies?   We'll take our business off-shore! Armed with egos the size of Mt. McKinley, this fraternal order of spoiled elitists, whose companies collectively made nearly a trillion dollars in profit over ten years, simply gave Congress the finger.   Yet they glibly expect to receive $36.5 billion in various tax subsidies over the next decade. Just two of these tax breaks would save $18 billion over that same ten years.

            Wall Street, which made a quick recovery from its banking maneuvers, stands to see impressive profitability this year.   Bonuses are down a bit but JPMorgan employees will receive over $369,000. At Goldman Sachs the average bonus this year is $430,700, despite a 14 percent drop from 2010.   It's better if you're in top management. Citigroup's Chief Financial Officer got $2.33 million in salary while the company's Vice Chairman received $4.29 million.

            Pharmaceutical company executives are right up there with health insurance industry execs when it comes to screwing us little folk.   One of their games is "pay-for-delay" deals.   This machination involves paying generic companies to drop patent challenges so the big boys can keep their monopolies longer while Medicare and Medicaid recipients lose out on cost reductions.   Here's one example reported by the LA Times:   "According to a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission, the company Cephalon paid a total of $200 million to several generics companies to get them to drop patent challenges to its drug Provigil. The deals staved off competition from no-name rivals until 2012."   Apparently the company's CEO thought this was great.   "We were able to get six more years of patent protection," he said. "That's $4 billion in sales."

            Health insurers also seem to have been absent when Ethics class was offered.   While most Americans suffered through a deep economic recession, health insurance companies increased their profits by 56 percent in 2009, the same year that nearly three million people lost their private coverage.   The country's five largest for-profit insurers closed 2009 with a combined profit of over $12 billion according to Health Care for America Now.   How did they do it?   Largely by dropping subscribers and raising premiums.   Cigna, one of the largest health insurance companies in the U.S., increased its profits 346 percent while enrollment dropped by 5.5 percent. Similarly, California's largest insurer, Blue Cross, raised its premiums by over 30 percent.

            Speaking of California, let's hear it for political bad boy, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He's now a member in good standing of Alpha Delta Pi, Greek for Awfully Difficult to Keep It in My Pants.   What's with these guys?   I mean, just think about the string of politically powerful men who can't seem to get it that testosterone is not a complimentary ticket to free feels and fatherhood.   (Talk about overgrown muscles and under-developed minds!)  

            Of course the biggest bad boy of them all right now is Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former IMF chief and once-favored son of France's political apparatus.   This guy is a piece of work and according to lots of folks he always has been.    The French newspaper Le Monde described him as "a scandal waiting to happen" while reporting that "those closest to him see the risks of"a frenzied desire to seduce women." DSK as he is known, is said to enjoy a Paris hotel bar where he has been observed being "too pushy with young women."   In 2007 while under consideration to head the IMF, one journalist blogged, "His only real problem is his behavior with women.   " This fault of his is well-known by the media but no one speaks about it."  

            Finally someone has. Kudos to her.   Sadly, it is not DSK's third wife, who told reporters some time ago that she was not upset with her husband's proclivities.   "I'm rather proud," Anne Sinclair said. "It's important for a political man to be able to seduce."   The woman who did put him in his current pickle is someone without power and prestige.   What she does have is a strong sense of right and wrong, and presumably enough personal integrity not to allow a bizarre, crude, and possibly criminal madman to violate her.    The suggestion that this woman would participate in a political drama or ploy to extract money from this goon says more about those who propose such a scenario in his defense than the hotel maid who has charged him with sexual assault.

            So Enough!   Let's hear it for the bad boys, once-and-for-all. Boo! Hiss! We've had it with profiteering opportunists and slimy sexists!   I don't care how brilliant you supposedly are; without integrity, good judgment, and a moral compass, I don't want you anywhere near government, businesses, or my person.   Hands off! Go back to your caves and stay there until you are ready to come out, real men, not bad boys. Maybe then the rest of us regular folks could breathe easy again.    

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Elayne Clift is a writer,lecturer, workshop leader and activist. She is senior correspondent for Women's Feature Service, columnist for the Keene (NH) Sentinel and Brattleboro (VT) Commons and a contributor to various publications internationally. (more...)
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