Everything Is Just Fine…..

Walgreens fined $80 million by the DEA for letting millions of controlled substances like oxycontin find their way into the black market for drugs in Florida.

Walmart fined $111 million for improperly handling hazardous waste and dumping of pesticides.

Johnson and Johnson fined $2 billion for illegally marketing a drug Risperdal

Abbott Labs fined $1.5 billion for illegally marketing Depakote

Merck fined $950 million for Vioxx

Glaxo Smith Kline $3 billion in criminal charges around the antidepressants Paxil and Welbutrin.

McKesson fined $190 million for inflating drug prices to Medicare.

Barclays Bank fined $453 million for fixing the Libor rate.

JP Morgan, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup fined $740 million for collusion and bid rigging to set rates paid to municipalities which were below market.

JP Morgan, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup agreed to pay $25 BILLION to states for shoddy and illegal practices in handling foreclosures. That’s not a typo it is the same cast of characters.

JP Morgan Chase fined $1 billion in rigging electrical contracts in California. They will probably negotiate down to $500 million.

HSBC fined $1.9 billion for money laundering drug money in the United States and Mexico. They said they had no idea but a used car salesman deposited $25 million in sequential travelers checks at an out of the way branch in Mexico City.

Bank of Tokyo fined $250 million for 28,000 illegal payments totaling $100 billion to Iran and other members of the Axis of Evil.

Goldman Sachs fined $22 million for “huddling.” This refers to analysts, traders and salesmen talking about the analyst reports amongst themselves prior to release. Strictly verboten.

Rajat Gupta, a member of the board of directors of Goldman Sachs fined $13.9 million after being found guilty of passing confidential information to a hedge fund.

US banks topped $10 billion in fines in 2012.

Met Life fined $400 million for failing to pay death benefits to people who were deceased.

Prudential $138 million for the same practice.

I won’t keep going but you get the idea. We scream and yell about regulations and we want to get the government out of our business. I could not agree more. Everyone says let us regulate ourselves. Really?

Sure the banks are bad. Oh I am sorry they just paid all that money without admitting any wrongdoing. What was I thinking? But these aren’t the only culprits. Everyone tries to game the system or so it would seem. Push the edge further and further until you get caught.

I am not a boy scout but this sucks in my book. I love it on CNBC when after earnings Dimon or Blankfein or some CEO of a drug company expounds on the world and their place in it. With all of this going on on their watch. Please don’t snicker and tell me how many minutes it will take Goldman to pay off their latest slap on the wrists. Sorry kids. Someone should be going to jail and it should start at the top.

Many years ago my brother Kevin said you should make every CEO responsible for the outcomes of pollution. Bottom line you wouldn’t have a problem for long if at all. Ditto Drugs, Banks, Wall Street and insurance. Good thinking.

We came out with 3000 new regulations in the US last year. They covered everything from banking to chicken farms. Everyone says they should just enforce the existing laws and maybe they are right. But then we cut funds for enforcement and investigation.

I was in Italy last summer and it just so happened the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services was on the trip. Poor man. I jumped on him like a cheap suit. This guy was responsible for investigating fraud in Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the Veterans Administration et alia. No wonder he did not have any hair!

I asked simply why there were not more investigators? “Great point TTG”, he replied. He said they could prove that the money spent on enforcement was returned 10-12 fold per annum. But the Congress didn’t want to authorize new hires because it would look like they were trying to increase government. Aaargh!

He did make an interesting observation. He felt that the civilization as we know it faced one catastrophe it might not recover from. Corruption. He said in business and in government it was so rampant and insidious that he wasn’t sure we could make great strides toward rooting it out.

It is not just us but throughout the world. Afghanistan, China, Europe, Russia, Africa and South America. Bribery, fraud, theft, bid rigging are just a few that are not only illegal but unfair.

The end game is it really hits us all. If these guys screw municipalities in bid rigging we have to pay higher taxes. The thefts and payoffs add to the price we pay for everything. Corporate welfare by paid off Congresspeople not only tax us more and add to our deficits but are next to impossible to get rid of.

Yet we look the other way. Let’s just make sure our share prices go up. It’s the earnings stupid! Not just the banks but IBM, GE, airplane manufacturers, defense contractors, doctorshealthcare providers, major contractors, all have their place at the trough.

The good part is that not everyone does. There are decent people in all these organizations. And let’s just hope some of them are stand up. I am not trying to be anybody’s moral compass but my own and my family’s. I just would like others finally get off their asses and say ENOUGH! if they share the same distaste for the sleazy dealings of corporate America. If everything is just fine for you so be it. It’s not for me.

As always
Ted The Great

Factoids: None. I bored you with too many already. Pax

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