Is the economic system rigged? You tell me.

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Is the economy rigged in favor of the wealthy and powerful? Let’s look at two recent examples, and you tell me:

EXAMPLE ONE

Last week, Wells Fargo announced a major settlement with the federal Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and other regulators in which the giant bank agreed to pay $185 million in fines. According to the CFPB, Wells Fargo employees had systematically created tens of thousands of fraudulent customer accounts, home-equity lines and credit cards without authorization or even knowledge of the customers involved, all so the employees could meet company sales quotas.

(A little context: The CFPB that investigated and nailed Wells Fargo is the same CFPB targeted for extinction by congressional Republicans as part of their effort to deregulate Wall Street and the banking industry. And while the $185 million fine may sound large, it amounts to a mere 3 percent of Wells Fargo’s second-quarter profit of $5.6 billion.)

The illegal practices at Wells Fargo extended for a five-year period and were extremely widespread. Almost 2 million false accounts were created by bank employees trying to reach quotas needed to keep their jobs or earn bonuses. In the aftermath of the scandal, Wells Fargo announced that it had fired some 5,300 employees who were involved in the long-running practice. That suggests a very extensive problem.

Yet in an interview Tuesday with the Wall Street Journal, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf denied that the bank’s incentive system had gone awry and denied that his company had a culture problem. He put responsibility solely on the employees rather than on bank leadership.

“If they’re not going to do the thing that we ask them to do—put customers first, honor our vision and values—I don’t want them here,” he said. “I really don’t.”

If you’re hearing echoes of the late Beverly Hall, former superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools during the testing scandal, you’re not alone.

Oh, and the person who has headed Wells Fargo’s community banking division, where all these problems developed? That would be Carrie Tolstedt, who just last year was named the second most powerful woman in American banking. The bank announced Tolstedt’s retirement back in July, before news of the settlement broke. Stumpf lauded her at the time as “a standard-bearer of our culture, a champion for our customers, and a role model for responsible, principled and inclusive leadership.”

While thousands of her employees were fired, Toldstedt walks away with $124.6 million in stocks and options, her reward for a job well done.

EXAMPLE TWO:

Does the name Mylan NV ring a bell? It should. Mylan owns the rights to the life-saving EpiPen, and since acquiring the product in 2007, it has raised its price by a startling 550 percent in the U.S. market, putting an immense financial burden on many American families.

(Price increases in countries that regulate drug costs have been much, much lower.)

As it turns out, Mylan executives have had a very good personal reason for imposing those price increases. They are already extremely well-paid, even in comparison to executives at much larger pharmaceutical companies. But in 2014, they were given a huge new incentive package. If Mylan’s top five executives succeed in “doubling the company’s adjusted per-share earnings over a five-year period ending in 2018,” the Wall Street Journal reports, they will share as much as $82 million in additional bonuses.

However, if they don’t reach that at least 90 percent of that extremely ambitious goal, the bonus program pays them nothing. So by doubling the cost of the EpiPen, their company’s top-selling product, they go a long ways toward earning that bonus for themselves even as they raise the cost of health care and insurance for everyone else.

Three other points worth noting:

  • Mylan is based here in the United States, with American leadership and heavy reliance on the American market. In 2014, however, the company moved its nominal headquarters to the Netherlands as a tax-dodge scheme.
  • Mylan’s CEO is Heather Bresch. When she became COO of the company in 2007, she had claimed to have earned an executive MBA from West Virginia University. She had not. Astonishingly, the university itself participated in the scam, creating false transcripts that gave Bresch class credits and grades that she had not earned. When the scandal was revealed, the university president, provost and business school dean were forced to resign.
  • Bresch is the daughter of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV. At the time of the WVU degree scandal, Manchin was serving as governor of West Virginia.

 

 

Reader Comments 0

650 comments
Buttercup23
Buttercup23

Yes, the system is rigged.  If we had an incorruptible Congress that actually worked for the people instead of their corporate sugar daddies maybe they would do something about this rigged system.  Don't hold your breath though, until all the bought and paid for Republicans and yes even a few corrupt Democrats are voted out, this corrupt system will continue.  


This nonsense sure is getting old.  I hope the good people of this country have had enough of the 1%'s chicanery and throws out these corrupted politicians in the upcoming election in November.  


I also believe all life saving drugs should be nationalized.  No one in this country should have to worry about not being able to afford life saving drugs, no one!  And if this did happen, big Pharma would still make billions.

RantNRave
RantNRave

 "So the Democrats are a party of black uneducated women? Not exactly.........  "


@Breckenridge


Not exactly??


WTF ?


African-American Women Now Top the List of Most-Educated Group in the Country
"A new study finds that African-American women achieve the highest outcomes of any demographic by race and gender.

Today nearly 4.6 million African Americans hold a four-year college degree. ... Thus,black women hold 62 percent of all African-American master's degrees, .


By both race and gender there is a higher percentage of black women (9.7 percent) enrolled in college than any other group including Asian women (8.7 percent), white women (7.1 percent) and white men (6.1 percent), according to the 2011 U.S. Census Bureau,” Salon says in its write-up."

http://www.alternet.org/gender/black-women-most-educated-people-america

Lee30519
Lee30519

Clinton blew her chances in 2008 and yet she has done it again!  haha

Kamchak
Kamchak

Global warming SHEETZ!

Shocking, I know....

gotalife
gotalife

The polls always tighten at the end.


Americans care about polls and playing politics not this issue.

honested
honested

@gotalife 

And the 'la times' poll is still a substantial outlier not reflecting the vast majority of polling.

Fly-On-The-Wall
Fly-On-The-Wall

I saw some posters saying that CNN had an article about the DNC looking to replace Hillary because of her illness.  I've found nothing like that or anything like that on the CNN site.
Can someone post that link?

Doom Classical liberal
Doom Classical liberal

@Fly-On-The-Wall


During the fallout, former MSBNC and Al Jazeera America host David Shuster tweeted that he had learned from Democratic operatives that the DNC would stage an emergency meeting in the coming days to pick a replacement for Clinton because she could not campaign with pneumonia. Shuster then deleted his original tweet and tweeted a correction that said the DNC would “consider” choosing a replacement for Clinton:


https://www.truthorfiction.com/democrats-holding-emergency-meetings-replace-hillary-clinton/

King_of_Kolob
King_of_Kolob

Since Trump is catching up to Hillary in the polls, they are not rigged anymore!!!

Rickster_
Rickster_

I'm shocked... shocked! THat Jay actually mentioned that the CEO of Mylan is the daughter of a Democratic senator.

rimsky
rimsky

@Rickster_ Why?  He is a legitimate Journalist.  

Thank God he is not one those so called fake FOX Journalist.

Doom Classical liberal
Doom Classical liberal

So Jay cites the Epipen controversy as proof of the rich exploiting us. 


How typical of Jay and the stage 1 thinkers on the left. If these mental midgets could for just once in their life think beyond stage 1 they would realize that the biggest problem is a lack of competition brought on by, you guessed it- big gubment. 


First there is the glacial pace of FDA approvals which is embarrassing, particularly when compared to Europe. Then there is the fact that its so costly and time consuming to get new approvals- stifling innovation and protecting products like Epipen. And then there is the suspicious reason as to why the FDA has rejected 2 competitors who were pending approval of their own pens. 


I swear, these minions are dumber than a box of rocks. 


http://khn.org/news/epipen-controversy-fuels-concerns-over-generic-drug-approval-backlog/ 

honested
honested

@Doom Classical liberal 

Yes, we need to spur competition on GENERIC DRUGS!!!

Why do wrong-wing nuts always ASSUME competition is some sort of magic bullet?

TetoLeo
TetoLeo

Well you do have to have FDA approval even for a generic drug. So far they have denied our backlogged all of those wishing to make and sell a generic the same as EpiPen.

Without any other option what is to stop them from charging what they want?

Doom Classical liberal
Doom Classical liberal

@honested @Doom Classical liberal


One more time, Ed. They couldn't get away with what you call "price gouging" if the FDA didn't make it so difficult and so costly to develop new pens. The only people stifling new innovation is the gubment. 

honested
honested

@Doom Classical liberal @honested 

THERE IS NO DIFFICULTY IN MANUFACTURING THE PRODUCT AND PRICING IT AT THE LEVEL IT HAS BEEN OVER THE LAST 30 YEARS EVEN ADJUSTING FOR MASSIVE INFLATION.

Your argument is, as usual, so much warm methane.

King_of_Kolob
King_of_Kolob

@honested @Doom Classical liberal Without examining how wrong-wing politicians contribute to the lack of competition. Big compnaies lobby for Govt regulations to kill competition. Then they complain about regulations and wrong-wingers re-elect wrong-wing pols who make sure the status quo remains. 

honested
honested

@Doom Classical liberal @honested 

The Government colluded with a company to artificially inflate the cost of a standard product that had incurred NO additional production and research costs by 600%???

I guess folks in some sectors come to assume price gouging is normal.


But this incident helps to make clear to the average American why price controls on pharmaceuticals are entirely warranted.

gotalife
gotalife

@Philo_Farnsworth trump's foundation is his money his campaign manager said hypocrite. He uses it to bribe AG's to corrupt the justice system. You cheer on corruption for decades so shut it failures.

gotalife
gotalife

Progressives have been fighting against the rigged system for decades.


Some gop voters say they are against it but just want to play politics with media's help.


It is what it is. The rigged system is here to stay until the right had enough.

Lee30519
Lee30519

TRUMP SURGING IN THE POLLS SINCE HILLARYS DEPARTURE!

breckenridge
breckenridge

Philo I'm off to Canton.  When I get back I'll update you on the progress of the express lanes they're building between the existing lanes on I-575.  The newby is called the William Tecumseh Sherman Expressway.

Lee30519
Lee30519

@gotalife HA CLINTON PAY TO PLAY....OH she is in trouble divert divert divert.

NWGAL
NWGAL

How many lawsuits have been filed against Hillary Clinton? How many against Trump? (hint - Trump is No. 1)

barkingfrog
barkingfrog

The less you do, the

fewer your lawsuits.