Let’s start with the car companies. Today Toyota agreed to $1.2 Billion in fines and accept full responsibility. The new CEO at GM was quoted as saying regarding safety and recalls “there is something very wrong here.” When people have died because companies put profit over safety that should be a criminal act and they should be tried for murder. What’s $1.2B to Toyota when they made $5.7B last quarter alone? Fines alone are not enough. Whomever it is in these companies that makes the decision to keep things quiet should be tried in court on first degree murder charges. If people knew they personally could go to jail they might be less likely to cover things up.
This brings me to pharmaceutical companies, Vioxx in particular. I don’t remember which of the Big Pharma companies that made the drug, but that company knew of serious potential problems with it before it went to market. When it did go to market there were a number of deaths. But, the number was probably 1% so they did nothing about it. I don’t remember how many people did die, I think it was thousands. The drug was taken off the market and the company paid fines. Again, just like with the car companies, whomever it is that makes that decision to take the risk, put peoples lives in danger, and put the drug on the market should not just have money taken away. They need to be on death row like any other common criminal.
The Big Banks who are now paying massive fines, in the 10s of Billions of dollars I see as also in this same boat. If they were doing things that were not legal and were putting their clients money in danger they should also be tried as criminals. It doesn’t do much good to fine JPMorganChase $12Billion when that is a drop in the bucket for them. The big shots there still have their fancy offices, huge salaries and bonuses. The clients? They’ve lost their homes. Their homes are underwater in their mortgages. The crash of 2008, the 20 million longterm unemployed people it’s all on the backs of the banks and their shady lending practices. The decision makers, whether they be the CEO or traders, should be tried in a court of law. Also lose any kind of ability to stay in banking, any licenses they earned.
I would go harder against corporate illegal behavior, so called white collar crime, than I would common criminals. Why am I coming down so hard on them? Because the hasher the penalty the less likely is it that people will repeat the behavior. Maybe they will do more testing on that drug that’s about to be released. Maybe car companies will take safety recalls more seriously. If the people themselves thought they would be in a maximum security prison.
Choosing profit over peoples lives is not only unacceptable, it’s criminal.