For companies putting profits over people, paying fines for breaking the law has become part of the cost of doing business. So, in the week following the deadliest mining accident in 40 years, it was business as usual for Massey Energy: the company received 130 "significant and substantial" safety violations -- those that present a direct risk to the health and safety of workers. That's why it was great to hear the president raise the possibility of criminal prosecutions resulting from the West Virginia tragedy. He should do the same for Wall Street. Otherwise Goldman Sachs will end up writing a big check for its investment fraud and quickly return to gaming the system. Only criminal prosecutions will finally bring true accountability to corporate America and restore the moral underpinnings essential for a healthy free enterprise system.
Justice -- of sorts -- was finally delivered as Donald Blankenship, the former Chairman and CEO of Massey Energy, was convicted of conspiring to willfully violate mine safety standards at the Upper Branch Mine in West Virginia, where 29 workers died in April 2010. Here's a blog I wrote about it a few months after the disaster.