Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ken Lewis Gets His Butt Fired!

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

It was announced yesterday that Ken Lewis, the CEO of Bank of America, will be "retiring" at the end of the year. The truth, of course, is that the embattled uber-banker is finally getting what he so justly deserves - fired! Welcome to the economic downturn, Ken!

But it really isn't much of a downturn for Ken. True, he does lose a lot of power and prestige, and he won't be thumbing his nose at the American people anymore by riding the Bank of America's private jet in and out of Washington, DC, like some Saudi potentate. But with a retirement package of $54 million and another $18 million in deferred payments, Ken will be able to lick his wounds in style and live quite comfortably, thank you very much!

So if Ken was such a colossal fuck-up that he merited the public humiliation of being fired, how could Bank of America afford to give him such a lavish send-off? Was it bailout cash that came from the chump taxpayers? Possibly. But what is more likely is that it came off of the backs of BOA's credit card holders - people like Jordan Cid.

Private Jordan Cid joined the U.S. Army when he was seventeen. That same year he got a debit card from his bank - yup, Bank of America. Being a minor, he had to get his parent's permission in order to secure the debit card.

Young Private Cid used his card for many small purchases each month - pizza, lunches, movies - the things most young people typically spend their wages on. The seventeen-year-old soldier didn't worry too much about keeping up with his balance because he knew that he had overdraft protection. What he didn't realize was that the overdraft fee charged by Bank of America was a hefty and predatory $35 per check! In five months he accumulated $1,785 in overdraft fees.

Private Cid's parents got involved and told Bank of America to quit honoring his checks - but BOA declined to kill their cash cow. The matter eventually came to the attention of the press, including NBC Nightly News, and Bank of America decided to refund Private Cid's overdraft fees - no one else's of course, just those of the kid who made the evening news!

American banks are expecting to reap an astounding $27 billion in overdraft fees this year. It is one of their largest income streams, and it comes almost exclusively from the poor. Most of these scurrilous bastard banks hold checks until the end of the day, then they pay the biggest ones first, causing many little checks to bounce into the overdraft bucket. It's robbery worthy of John Dillinger or Bonnie and Clyde!

But the good news is that Ken Lewis is getting his! The bad news, however, is that he is also getting ours, theirs, and everyone else's!

Thank you, sir! May I have another!

1 comment:

Mike Box said...

Ken Lewis, the near fatal economic collapse of 2008, and the fact that the top one percent of American households got to keep ninety per cent of the wealth produced in the country from 2002 to 2007 is the legacy of Ronald Reagan and Reaganomics. George H. W. Bush was right about voodoo economics being black magic!

The sad thing is that Ronnie didn’t think up this scheme to defraud working people of the fruit of their labor. Even his historic age didn’t put him back with the crowd that came up with that load of fertilizer. William Allen White, the editor of the Emporia Gazette chronicled the concept in his famous piece “What’s Wrong with Kansas?” I suspect the origins of Reaganomics go back before Moses took the promised folk on that forty year journey through the Sinai.

Now the folks that fought so hard and long for Reaganomics, Reagan, H.W., and W. are in the trenches fighting hard for the ability of the American Health Insurance industry and their ability to compete fairly in the marketplace. Funny thing how those insurance companies haven’t had to ever compete fairly before, but now we got to protect them!

When the current folderol concludes with a strong public option garnered through the reconciliation process, where only fifty per cent plus one vote is necessary in either house to seal the deal, then we need to get back to rebuilding the post Great Depression regulatory safeguards that were dismantled under Ronnie, H.W., Bill, and W. Pay close attention to the resurrection of the Glass-Steagall act.

Glass-Steagall constructed barriers between banks, insurance companies, appraisers, realty companies, and title companies so that each sector of the economy would fiercely defend its turf. When those barriers are eradicated, as they are today, the shared ownership shifts the risk of shady deals to the American people, indeed to all persons striving for an ownership stake anywhere in the world.

Old Bob Frost said it best. “Good fences make good neighbors.”