Obama will tell you it’s Bush and his buddy McCain that helped make the current money morass happen. He is not entirely wrong but he is not entirely right either. Congress facilitated the mess by repealing the Glass-Steagal Act that kept the insurance, investment and banking businesses firewalled from one another. Institutional investors, including the pension funds that hold our retirement funds, could have exercised more of their clout in the proxy battles and the board rooms to hold management’s feet to the fire and restrained the most egregious excesses–but they didn’t. From a Buddhist perspective, to determine the causes made in the past one has only to look at the effects received today. So if we are suffering financial harm today, what did we do in the past? Well, some of us were also greedy. Some of us have cheated on our taxes, padded our resumes, paid for term papers written by others, goofed off and gotten over at work, etc. OK, so some of us may appear blameless. Nonetheless, we are suffering now. Take it as an opportunity to make the future better and take comfort in knowing that cause effect will work it’s way into the lives of the executives and the politicians who helped create this mess. We may need to help that along–in terms of the November election and the choices we make in investing our money, borrowing, etc.
Steven Pearlstein wrote an article this week that encapsulates way better than I can summarize, the greed of CEOs versus the hired help. In this case, it’s airline executives contrasted with the skycaps who lost most of the tips they receive for curbside check-in when American Airlines imposed a $2 per bag fee that the company funnels into its own coffers. Continue reading Moral Outrage Feels Good But Changes Nothing