I hate when my children say the word suck. To me, just the pronunciation of the word, feels lousy. Yet, when I think about the damage being wrought around the world, because of human greed, the word SUCK is most appropriate. Even powerful words like dreadful, terrible and appalling, are okay, but insufficient when it comes right down to it. "Greed and Suck" used together connotate something worse than pond scum, a blob like amoeba, which survives on the bottom rung of humanity, in the sewers. With or without the descriptive words, greed destroys people's lives.
Greed has been a part of human life since our inception. Our insatiable desire for more, came as early as God's first creations with Adam and Eve being tempted by the serpent to eat an apple from the tree of Knowledge. (Though as a feminist, I have never quite bought the "blame Eve story.") Since our less than stellar beginnings, GREED has been immortalized by the wealthy land barons who sat sprawled around an oversize Monopoly game rolling the dice to hoard a few more millions dollars.
Greed has been glorified by the famous a well. For example, Michael Douglas's character in the movie, "Wall Street", spewed the mantra that "Greed is good". It echoes in the halls of Wall Street with every scandal and "new" approach to making more money. The shareholders are tainted as well, as they press for more and more profits. Get that stock price up, up, up!
This situation is all about money. We in America, have an unhealthy reverence for money. A relationship like a teenage adulation gone wrong. We see this reverence gone awry when we put a human face on it. The faces of Enron and WorldCom weave a re-occurring story of a bad-habit, like an addiction that goes untreated.
Think about every hot spot around the planet right now; war zones, land disputes, power wrangling. In these world atrocities most happen because GREED had reared its ugly head. As a species we have extinguished other species because of greed; In America we have perpetrated our own ethnic cleansing with the Native Americans in our unquenchable thirst for gold and territories.
Show me a point in history where good has come from greed. Offer me some examples of hope in what seems like a world sucked of common sense and decency.
Here is a step towards a solution. We need to push the greedier to an uglier place...create shame around such actions and prison time for illegal activities.
Take Madoff for example, he embezzled, bamboozled and just plain took 50 billion dollars from people. In San Francisco this week, their was a profile of a ninety year old man and his Lyme disease stricken wife who lost everything, (close to $800,000) to Madoff. How does one recover a life's savings at ninety years old? As a solution, why doesn't Uncle Bernie send a care package to this couple?
Where is Mr. Madoff today? He is still sitting in his 7 million dollar penthouse, enjoying the luxuries he stole from those who trusted him. He will probably end up in a minimum security prison with some of the same luxuries he had on the outside. Why? Because he has made lots of money and has too many friends in our corrupt system.
Bernie Madoff should be tried for murder. He needs to bear the responsibility for his actions, even if he refuses blame. How many people have committed suicide or been crushed by his greed? How many human beings have lost their lives, their homes, and their savings to his ponzi scheme?
What about Michael Phelps? However each of us feels about his actions, I am disgusted by the greed of the person who took the picture. How much money did they make selling the picture? Do they have any remorse for their part in the unraveling of Michael Phelps career? Yes, Michael Phelps has to be responsible for his own actions, but this person deliberately set out to take a picture to sell to the highest bidder. That is scum. These people should be ashamed of their behavior, not given money.
Let's take a closer look at the first bail-out package. The number of Wall Street executives who got millions of dollars in parachutes is well documented. Have they no shame? I can't watch the news anymore as more and more examples come from our own Congress. Does anyone pay taxes in Congress? Perhaps we can reduce the deficit by auditing congressional member's personal tax returns. This would create more jobs!
One of the biggest problems with these examples of GREED is the government bail outs. Government bailouts are a poster child for bad-parenting or in this case bad government. People who behave from greed, act inappropriately should be punished. Many people should go to jail. Instead, Uncle Sam comes to the rescue; prints more money, and devalues the dollar. How will we EVER get our deficit under control? Give it a few months, and there will be talk about how the bailout made things worse.
Of course it was Ben Franklin who said, that the only thing in life we must do is pay taxes and die. He had another quote that is more applicable here: "He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money."