Tuesday, January 17, 2012

From Enron to Goldman Sachs

What can you say about one of the biggest (and first) big business scandals of the new Century.  Deregulation from Clinton to George Bush, and now to Obama has led America to the brink of financial ruin.  It was a license to steal, and the big banks did so by paying off politicians and ratings agencies and even professors of economics at Harvard.  These CEOs stole from taxpayers and then awarded themselves huge bonuses because they could.  Listen to financial chronicles or watch the documentary "Inside Job" and you'll learn that institutions "too big to fail" were being rated AAA right up to within days of those institutions declaring bankruptcy and demanding to be bailed out at public expense.  Meanwhile they were selling securities to their customers which they themselves had bet against, and would profit from even as their investors tanked.  Then they had the audacity to snub their own employees as they climbed into their luxury yachts and jets.  ENRON by Lucy Prebble was a stage play, and is now an audiobook from L.A. Theatre Works, with Rosalyn Ayres directing a full cast.  (I interviewed Rosalyn for Costco Connection magazine; she has recorded many audiobooks, and appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation.) Call it an immorality tale showing how greed can blind people to everything but the bottom line--like a poker game gone wrong--and from which no one emerges unscathed.  Stars are Steven Weber, Gregory Itzin and Amy Pietz with Chris Butler, Jackie Emerson, Greg Germann, Pamela J. Gray, Kasey Mahaffy, Jon Matthews, Julia McIlvaine, Russell Soder, Kenneth Alan Williams and Matthew Wolf.  Another good book on the subject is POWER FAILURE.


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