Another CEO scandal

Once upon a time, I bought and sold stock. During that time I used what is typically referred to as technical analysis and charting. I have a shelf of approximately 35 books about the subject, all of them read at least once, some of them studied closely.

During the time that I traded, which I no longer do, it became apparent to me that volume, one technical measure of how many shares changed hands in the given time period, seemed artificially inflated at times. It was nothing in my view that could be proven using only pure technical analysis, but it was more of a gut feeling based upon studies of price and volume movement contrasted against how it moved historically.

Options? Today we learn:

“One of the nation’s highest-paid executives has left his job after becoming ensnared in a stock options scandal that already has forced dozens of companies across the country to wipe out billions in combined profits.” read more…

I’m continually amazed by the apparent corruption that seems to exist in business and at the top of many hierarchical pyramids that exist all around us, whether it is legal or not. While I’m not privy to any information about this particular scandal beyond what I read in the news, the following phrase caught my attention, “… has forced dozens of companies across the country to wipe out billions in combined profits.” Does this mean that those employees, companies, and investors who owned stock in the unnamed companies were lied to before the “profits” were wiped out?

From the same article:

“The company’s review didn’t reach any conclusion about whether there was intentional wrongdoing….”

Why does our society teach most of us little citizens to be honest, and punishes us severely when we’re not, often with zero tolerance, but that people at the top of hierarchy seem to get minor punishments, if any, when they’re either dishonest or seem to be? If it’s true that only the dishonest rise to the top, then why as a society do we teach our children to be honest and punish them when they’re not? (I’m not personally convinced that ‘only’ the dishonest rise to the top, it just often seems that way). Perhaps the question that should be asked is why do any of the dishonest ever rise to the top?

It’s curious that those with so much income seem to so easily escape the severe punishment so commonly prescribed for the rest of us. Why is stealing a candy bar such a heinous offense that it requires jail time, or at the very least a court appearance; but if you’re a CEO and take millions with the stroke of a pen are you allowed to resign if discovered, maybe pay back a small portion of it, perhaps continue to collect an astronomical retirement, indeed, simply have your act deemed “an error”.

We have a serious inequity of justice in the United States and we also appear to have a serious inequity of income distribution, both appear deep and entrenched, and lately these two groups seem to intersect in the title of CEO.

There’s an old saying, “Those with the gold make the rules.”

Why isn’t that rule enshrined in the text of the Declaration of Independence, and observed within the governmental structure delineated by the U.S. Constitution? Perhaps because it isn’t supposed to be that way?

Reality is hard to dismiss, even with a dreamy statement of principals that contradicts it.