Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Working Class Heroes – Again on the Wrong End

"The safest road to hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts."
C. S. Lewis (1898 - 1963), Irish-born British novelist.

Once again, the innocent and hard working employees suffer for the sins of greed by executives at the top. Insurance brokerage Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc. plans to lay off 3,000 employees, or about 5 percent of its work force, as it struggles to deal with the fallout from a bid-rigging probe by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

According to the New York Times, Spitzer, in his civil suit, accused the company of bid rigging, price fixing and collecting large incentive fees from insurance companies in exchange for steering business their way. This forced business customers to pay more than necessary for property and casualty insurance coverage, Spitzer alleged.

The excess fees most likely allowed management to receive lucrative bonuses and myriad stock options in order to bloat their bank accounts, while the rank and file loyally work to pay their modest mortgages, put kids through college, or just enjoy the fruits of their labor. The Misanthrope believes a better penalty would be to force executives to take a pay cut, eliminate bonuses for two years, and not allow layoffs that only serve to enrich those at the top.

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