Friday, January 23, 2009

John Thain: Aesthetic

I’m running out of things to say about these dirt-bag, lying, phonies who run our economy. Cousin Lunch, err, John Thain, is the latest example. He has the usual background: MIT, Harvard b-school, Goldman Sachs, New York Stock Exchange. And the usual sense of self-entitlement matched with complete lack of restraint we’ve become so familiar with these past few months.

It’s more fun to read about the $1.2 million redecoration of his office, but that was chump change. While CEO of Merrill Lynch he paid secret bonuses of between $3-4 billion to himself and top executive just days before selling ML to the Bank of America, who has taken tens of billions in TARP funds. He even paid his driver a $230k bonus. Thain needed to lean on his employer for all the financial support he could get because he was only paid $83.1 million in 2007.

If they weren’t stealing our money these guys would just be pathetic. They are such big weenies. Read this account of the redecorating. $800,000 of the $1.2 mil went to the decorator! That’s the depth of his lack of self-confidence. He had to hire the most expensive person he could find so they could select the perfect $35,000 commode! (Which Birdman has already pointed out to me is non-functioning.) What an incredible way to demonstrate his superior taste to the 40-50 other wing-tipped jerk-offs who put their feet up on his commode in the average year.

I’m convinced that China has the right approach for dealing with business criminals. As you may have heard, they just finished the trials of the executives accused of doctoring the milk supply. They are going to shoot two of them.

17 comments:

hankster said...

I think your sensativity towards this monitary abuse stems from your understanding of the lean side of the equation: poverty. Sir Walter Scott said, "that's not fish your buying: it's men"s lives!"

In the rarified atmosphere of uberwealth, conspicuous consumption is a picture card.

I think you mean Lurch, we're lunch...

The Other D Blank said...

You pay a decorator $800K so he can kick back a percentage of the fee.

Birdman said...

I sure hope Mr. Thain was able to negotiate a lucrative exit package from Band of Am. We certainly wouldn't want him to live on the mere $60 million in salary he took out that powerhouse Merrill Lynch.

I,too, think the Chinese are on to something here. Have a couple of these guys dangling from light poles and others might fall in line pretty quickly. If not, we have plenty of light poles.

leslies said...

hmmm. I'm dying to know who his decorator was.

On a more serious note, that's what ticks me off about all these massive bailouts--here's a guy, with both hands and fit in the cookie jar while we're bailing them out?! I'm down on band-aids...
I was the most anti-government control person but we had our days--we screwed up. Time for tighter controls and regulations. Maybe like a corporate "time out."
And...by the way..all corporate thieves and scumbags are not silver spoon ivy guys. Plenty of bootstrap puller-uppers have been eveil greedmongers. Not all people w/ an ivy league eduaction they didn't pay for are bad!

AY said...

To Leslie's point -- there's no bigger dick these days than Bernie Madoff and he graduated from Hofstra. He worked as a lifeguard and installed sprinklers before he hit the big time.

I agree with DB et al on these corporate weasels -- hang 'em high!!

Fistinyoface said...

Don't just hang 'em. Leave them up until the crows and seagulls peck their corpses to tatters. Then cut 'em down and let the populace play soccer with them... the Mussolini treatment.

Did Madoff screw everyone? Or just greedy, uber-wealthy prix trying to get wealthier? If so, he deserves a medal, not jail time.

Look at the rage here, albeit justified. Anyone who can't see a civil war brewing needs to look closer.

Buy a gun. You're all gonna need one.

Remember this: Civilization is only 3 missed meals from anarchy.

Note to Fenway: BHO's in power and the market's lower than ever. Where are all your "hope and change" pals now, hmmmm?

AY said...

No, Fisty, Madoff was an equal-opportunity felon. He destroyed the life savings of many (including my friend's pension from the carpenters' union) - as well as charities and non-profits. It wasn't just the greedy rich he targeted.

The markets are tanking because all you're hearing is bad news - from GE to Harley Davidson.

leslies said...

no--we won'd need a civil war. just put these monsters in jail and safeguard the system to prevent this stuff from happening so easily.
Not everybody gets off on uber-wealth. That's what bugs me--the assumption that everyone wants to be a billionaire. Somewhere the American dream I believed in --the opportunity to live freely, happily as one wishes (without harming others) has turned into who has the most toys and the biggest bank account. Not my idea of the American dream. Nor is fighting and war.... Which goes back to one of the many reasons I love Obama--he's a pacifist. He gets that fighting and killing solves nothing.

The Nik said...

leslies, the decorator is the very same one the Obamas have hired to decorate the White House, one Michael Smith.

One has to wonder what all the robber barons and Madoffs have done to the future of investing and investment houses.

Birdman said...

True. He is the same guy but he's charging 1/8 the fee to do the white house as opposed to some A**hole's office.

Gaga said...

Whats the more serious a crime, stealing when your hungry, or stealing just to get more? Yet who's in jail? Poor man steals an apple he's in jail.Rich man steals millions he cant leave his apartment? I see a judge in need of some redirecting there also.
Obama has brought some hope with him. If not for that we'd be getting very close to lynchin times. The little guy,after the Obama honeymoon, will see that democracy doesnt "work" it just changes players peacfully. The numbers of the have nots are increasing everyday. Stay tuned, Detroit may burn again if BHO doesnt do something big & fast.

MikeyLikesIt said...

Of course, the ultimate irony is that Thain didn't get fired for the redecorating or the bonuses he spread around (at least he is loyal to his own caste)...but because he managed to sell Merrill and its debt load to BoA's Chairman, who in his rush to get into the brokerage business, neglected to check all the nasty corners of Merrill's books...and woke up to find that pretty girl he slept with coyote ugly...with the whole world watching.

kgwhit said...

Gordon Gecko said greed is good and most of society laughed and agreed. Now we see the fallout of greed and we are rethinking that axiom.
I would like to say that if I had been in a position to be paid $50 million in a year that I would declined on moral grounds. Perhaps I would have said; no, I can sure live quite well on $400,000 this year. But I was lucky and never had the opportunity to test my virtue that way. Chances are most of us would have been as big a sleazeballs as these crooks.

d'blank said...

AY - are you sure that the evil is evenly distributed? To me, Bernie is just an ordinary crook writ large. TheseWall Street thieves, almost to a man, have been the beneficiaries of the greatest material gifts our society gives anyone -- fantastic educations and riches most of us couldn't spend. And instead of giving back they just take "more and more and more" (CCR).
It seems like the obits for the firmaen always talk about the little coaching they did. The neighbors always say how he was "the one guy you could always count on."
When a Wall Street guy goes they talk about the houses he owned, the wives he discarded, the kids in rehab.
I don't know the answer to KG's question. Maybe I'd be just as big a pig; but I'd sure like to think not, and it would be a be surprise to me to find any of my friends overfeeding at such an already generous trough.

AY said...

I was just making Leslies' point that it ain't just Ivy guys who are feelin' the greed -- and Fisty's that Madoff only targeted the rich, DB.

I agree, Madoff is small potatoes compared to Thain et al, but his effect was wide and deep.

hankster said...

Doesn't it seem as if the field was level, the game would be clean? Warren Buffet appears to excel on a level field. But secondary players rely on those who produce profits, not caring if the gains are done legally or ethically. Bernie's clients had to know there was some inside nonsense going on but looked the other way as long as the profits were accruing. The system has big fish who may or may not advertise themselves with conspicuous consumption, and those enablers, who cry foul when the cards in the marked deck don't play out. Just the fact that we play at the same gaming table as these others make us enablers.

As Walt Kelley said, "we have met the enemy, and it is us."

d'blank said...

Yeah, but it is the only game in town and to not play meaans going off the grid -- not an option for most of us. We may know they is foul play afoot, but it is pretty hard to spot in the particular if you are an outsider, and the insiders are co-opted from the start.