Trump… and the Corporate Flaw

Donald Trump has made it more than clear that he believes he’s above the law and accountable to no one.

A ninety year old law says that Congress can look at anyone’s tax returns, but not the Donald’s. All the rest of us have to obey subpoenas to appear or produce documents, but not Donald, or anyone who works for him. The Constitution clearly states that Congress appropriates funds and determines where those funds are spent, but Donald is special, and he can move around funds as he wishes. If someone disagrees with the Donald, even if they’re citing the law, they’re history. If he wants to stiff contractors who worked for him, he gets away with it. He has held rallies in cities across the country, but he still owes them money and hasn’t repaid the cities for the costs his campaign agreed to pay.

If he wants to bribe women to keep them silent about his depravity, he does, and, outside of a bit of adverse publicity, he gets away with it. Despite swearing an oath to support and defend the Constitution, he clearly believes that its limitations don’t apply to him.

So where did all these behaviors come from? From corporate business, of course, because that’s where he’s spent his entire adult life before becoming president. He may be one of the worst examples of a business leader, but all the despicable traits he’s demonstrated are far from unheard in the corporate world. Just how many rich and powerful businessmen have abused women and used money and power to escape justice? How many others are there besides Jeffrey Epstein, Harvey Weinstein, or Roger Ailes? How many others have pulled stunts like Martin Shkreli of Turing Pharmaceuticals, who not only raised the price of the lifesaving drug Daraprim from $13.50 a pill to $750 a pill, but also was convicted of securities fraud and conspiracy in 2017 and sentenced to a seven-year sentence in federal prison. In typical arrogance, Shkreli also claimed that his excessive price fixing will result in the company, of which he owns 40%, being worth $3.7 billion by the time he gets out of prison.

Then there are the Golden Parachute scandals, excessive compensation packages for departing CEOs, payments despite underperformance leading up to CEO departures and certainly not justified given already high levels of executive pay and retirement benefits. As I noted earlier, one of the companies where this occurred was PG&E, whose incompetence and failure to properly install and maintain power lines required massive power shutdowns in California because the equipment and lines were judged not to safe in high winds. Funny thing is, we get winds like that all the time here in Utah, and our power company doesn’t have to create outages.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to rein in not only Trump, but the whole CEO culture of privilege and exceptionalism.

5 thoughts on “Trump… and the Corporate Flaw”

  1. Wayne Kernochan says:

    What can I say? From my own experience, I think it’s long past time. I was in computer software/hardware and marketing consulting firms for upwards of 30 years, with a rank as high as Sr. VP, and from 1980 onwards there was a high rate of insider trading (typically when the stock was about to tank) in top management of these firms. The perpetrators were rarely caught, and more rarely punished. I’ve seen firms like Oracle purposely arrange to delay payments to/not pay contractors via bureaucracy, high nominal prices with favored customers getting hidden massive discounts, monopoly vendor lock-in, etc. My favorite was the guy who discovered massive problems with the software in alpha test and was fired when he reported it and then blamed for failing to prevent the resulting catastrophic customer rollout. And then there were the bribes in foreign countries to get the business … and always, always, when a company tanked upper management had a golden parachute. When I recently read the story of Theranos it brought back a lot of memories of things I had seen or heard of. And that was high tech; as far as I could see, CEOs and top execs in other areas of industry were often worse. Remember Chainsaw Al Dunlap?

    Anyway, thanks for making the point …

  2. Christopher says:

    Creating a culture of accountability goes against the interests of politicians and, arguably, the interests of mainstream society. Politics and business especially would be transformed in fundamental ways if there was accountability for the actions of those in power.

  3. Tom says:

    A reported BBC interview with John le Carré regarding his new book focused on the concept of ‘decency’. The author pointed out that the concept was never present in his society, even though it was striven for in many ways.

    Even Kant never believed that decency could ever exist in a group of humans so I doubt that we can reign in “the whole CEO culture of privilege and exceptionalism.”

    The very idea of doing so would be fought by so called Libertarians and as stated “mainstream society” – think of the necessary effect of ‘decency’ on social media!

    If the government were to try to do this .. what tools would they have in a democracy? Would it not require a change in the personality of the citizens?

  4. Wine Guy says:

    People wanted to know what government would look like if it were run like a business.

    Now they are finding out taht it looks a lot like oligarchical kleptocracy.

    I’m pretty sure that Trump has a scepter and crown along with an ermine coronation cloak in a closet somewhere.

  5. D Archerd says:

    As H.L Mencken sagely observed a hundred years ago, the one good thing about democracy is that it ensures people get the government they deserve, and deserve to get good and hard.

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