Here we are in the year 2008 once again wondering where the money went. The last time this happened on anything approaching the scale of the Financial Meltdown of 2008 we wound up calling it The Great Depression. Things were a bit different back then. For one thing, cocaine was legal but booze was not. For another, the guys responsible for the Crash of ’29 took the blame they deserved for screwing up the American economy and it rained stockbroker suicides from the gleaming towers of Wall Street. Nothing says “I fucked up” like a 50 story swan dive to the pavement.
That didn’t happen this time. These greedy goons looked America in the eye and and swore they didn’t do anything wrong. They blamed the government, they blamed each other, they blamed the news media (!) and some of these billionaires even had the balls to try to blame poor people. A few of them even tried to blame the lack of aggressive enforcement by various and regulatory police agencies that would have prevented them from stealing everything but the rubber bands from these publicly held corporations! And those are not even the most bizarre excuses they have offered. Check some of these out:
THE REALITY TV EXCUSE: One guy had the nerve to testify before Congress that he thought he was part of a reality show called “The Bosses,” about a bunch of loose cannon executives in competition to see who could blow a trillion dollars the quickest and he was cast as The Bad Boy. He said there was no way his job was on he level or the life he was leading was an actual one, with its $21 million dollar annual salary, all sorts of free stock, his own jet and a provision called a golden parachute where he’d get another $30 million if he got voted off the show. He assumed the Board of Directors were the show’s producers since the more crazy things he did with other people’s money, the more they encouraged and rewarded him with $10 million bonuses. He figured the crazier and more greedy he acted, the better would be the show’s ratings, so he went into overdrive and bought the Mona Lisa, a spaceship and several small nations for himself with company funds.
THE ETHICS DEFICIT DISORDER EXCUSE: One CEO cited new scientific studies identifying a new disease called EDD, short for Ethics Deficit Disorder (a.k.a. Special EDD), striking con men, jewel thieves, mob bosses, dictators and middle aged executives with a God Complex. Symptoms include dishonesty, insatiable greed, colossal egotism, manipulation of earnings statements, unaccountability and an insatiable desire to accumulate wealth by any means necessary. He came to Congressional hearings with a doctors note, telling investigators that this explained his baker’s dozen mansions, his personal aircraft carrier and his collection of rare and exotic supermodels.
THE PATRIOTIC EXCUSE: This one’s a beaut, cited by the former head of a former bank. He testified that he was only doing what the government was doing, running up the highest possible deficit he could for his company, his stockholders and by God, his nation! To underscore his patriotic fervor, he arranged for aides to erect a giant American flag made of spun platinum as a backdrop while he testified and displayed photographs of Ronald Reagan, Bush The Younger and Herbert Hoover, citing them as “The Holy Trinity of Deficit Disciples.” This turned out to be a great ploy since the Congressmen holding the hearings were so creeped out that they declared the man innocent by reason of insanity.
THE RAPTURE EXCUSE: It seems that politics is not the only place where the oddball theology of Bible Belt Christian Fascists has taken root. A number of CEOs have stated under oath (with a straight face, no less) that they were behaving the way they did because they did not expect the system to last out the decade since Jesus was coming back any day now to slay the wicked, the nonbelievers, the liberals and the poor. Citing their constitutional right to freedom of religion, these guys told the Congress that they would be sorry for doubting God’s messengers real soon when fire and brimstone rained down on their Antichrist asses. When asked why they felt the need to steal everything they could and ruin their nation’s economy and that of the entire world too, they said they were humbly doing their part in fulfilling prophecy by creating the chaotic conditions that would usher in The Rapture. One of them further stated that he was investing his company’s money in ways to create worldwide earthquakes, tidal waves and catastrophic volcanic eruptions. This man was quietly escorted from the building to a secure rest facility and is currently heavily sedated.
THE FUCK YOU EXCUSE: In perhaps the only breath of fresh air and the only honest words to pass the lips of the top executives, one man told the nation, the Congress and the world to “Go fuck yourself, I got mine!” He said he did what he did because he could and for no other reason. “There was nobody to stop me,” he reasoned, citing the lack of regulations, oversight, investigations into all the laws he broke or even the hint of mild agitation over his openly illegal activities. “I was operating in a vacuum of supervision and accountability, making up my own rules as I went along, so long as they benefitted yours truly. If they did not, I changed them. Right now I have more money that the whole Congress put together, so go ahead and close my company and fire me. I unloaded that toilet paper that is its stock long ago at an incredibly inflated price and bought Krugerrands! Drop friggin’ dead!” In one of the more embarrassing moments of the Congressional hearings, this speech drew a thunderous standing ovation from the rest of the CEOs waiting to testify, lasting a full twenty minutes while they demanded a curtain call. Order has yet to be restored.