Here we are at the end of something, or the beginning of something, or whatever. Time continues to be worth less and less each year, and I wonder why we haven’t caught on—we, the non-elite, the under-rich, the eternally pre-wealthy. It’s hard to pay attention to economic trends when you have to hustle to get that student loan check in on time so the CEO of Wells Fargo can tack on another million to his annual salary while keeping his workers’ pay stagnant. “Our number one goal when we get up in the morning is not about making money,” says the man whose other hits include “I never set out to be CEO” and “Diversity implicitness is a journey from the heart to the mind.” Huh?
What else? Wells Fargo engenders “a monumentally larger version of the critical scenes in It’s a Wonderful Life,” according to a recent Forbesian paean. They give away billions to desperate homeowners out of the kindess of their enormous, moneyed heart—it’s probably too kind, I mean really, they need to scale that back or they won’t have any money left to give! Never mind that “the extremely poor quality of Wells Fargo’s loans was a function of management’s nearly singular focus on increasing…the bank’s profits” to the extent that the United States was forced to sue for the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars over eight years from 2002 to 2010, when Wells Fargo ransacked the poorest borrowers and then lied to the government about it.
And do you think the corruption started in 2002 and ended in 2010? Los Angeles doesn’t: in May, the city filed a similar suit for “unfair, unlawful, and fraudulent conduct” against those carefree waggoners from The Music Man. Sales reps under high pressure to meet strict quotas were opening accounts and incurring fees without customers’ approval or knowledge. “Some employees went so far as to raid client accounts for money,” meaning that they stole directly from bank accounts, like you would go to pull some cash out of the ATM and wonder where that extra hundred dollars went. You know what that’s called? Bank robbery, which is a federal crime. Let’s say they stole more than $1,000, which seems likely. That merits up to 10 years in prison. But that’s not all:
“Furthermore, anyone who enters or attempts to enter any building used in whole or in part as a bank, credit union, or savings and loan association with the intent to commit any felony affecting such financial institution or any larceny is subject to a fine, twenty years imprisonment or both.”
I’m guessing before they decided to steal from a bank, they entered the bank where they worked with the intent to steal from it. That means—depending on whether a particular judge was feeling concurrent or consecutive on a given day—they could have gotten up to 30 years in prison.
What happened to these larcenists who worked for Wells Fargo? The bank “appropriately disciplined or fired” them. That’s all the detail we got.
I didn’t even want to talk about Wells Fargo. It was just supposed to be an introductory link to the real article. But I kept finding so much garbage without even looking that I had to get as much out as I could. Don’t even get me started on what DuPont and Dow are doing, announcing the firing of 1,700 employees through the media because they are legally required to notify the state of planned job cuts before the end of the year—but apparently there’s no legal requirement to inform the people whose jobs are being cut. That makes sense. Hooray for 2015.