Who Hijacked Our Country

Friday, October 03, 2008

How to Coddle a Downtrodden CEO

This sure is a tough time to be a CEO. Every time you open a newspaper, all you get is “Waaaaaahhhh!!! I lost my job.” “Booooohoohoohoooo, my home is being foreclosed.” Goddammit, the world doesn’t revolve around the riffraff.

Senior executives have expenses too. Your golden parachute and bonus package might be in jeopardy. And don’t you just hate it when your Lexus payment and yacht club dues are both payable on the same date? Ouch!

The public just doesn’t understand. And that damn liberal media isn't helping anything with their one-sided reporting and their constant gloom and doom. And all this talk of class warfare and redistribution of wealth — those fuckin’ Commies! It’s all just sooo stressful.

Well, VIPs — Help is on the way!

Finally, you can have the empathy and understanding you deserve. For three glorious days, you can be pampered, cooed to and have your ego (and maybe a few other things) stroked. Now be forewarned, this taste of paradise isn't free. It costs $15,000. OK, so you might have to forego a few dinner reservations or fire one of your gardeners or whatever.

Your three days of ecstasy will take place at the Moonview Sanctuary in Santa Monica, CA. These coddling sessions are officially known as “Executive Resilience Summits.”

They're put on by Jerry and Laurie Ann Levin. Jerry and Laurie Ann are saying that executives are “facing possibly the toughest times in their careers.” This 3-day workshop will help beleaguered CEOs to “bounce back from this crisis while maintaining balance in their professional and personal lives.”

Hey, the New Age touchy-feely ‘70s are back. But only if you can afford it.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

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Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Real CEO's don't need no namby-pamby $15K feel-good sessions. They need a double scotch-rocks or two at an expensive watering hole on the way home and to kick the dog on the way into the McMansion.

If that doesn't quite do it, the prospect of laying off a whole lot of highly valued team members is bound to brighten their outlook.

October 4, 2008 at 12:17 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SW: And in addition to all that, they need the government off their backs.

October 4, 2008 at 1:03 AM  
Blogger Carlos said...

Jesus H. Christ.

I'll put on a camp for 'em. Bunch of pussies.

October 4, 2008 at 2:10 AM  
Blogger LET'S TALK said...

I do not really think that they will be pushed around by our government when they still have the lobbyist to find loop holes to assure them of their fat bonuses at the end of the year.

October 4, 2008 at 6:52 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

I loved this part:

But Levin now says he was actually an "automated machine" laboring relentlessly in a "24-hour isolation booth."

Wow, he's just like a coal miner!

October 4, 2008 at 7:13 AM  
Blogger Enemy of the Republic said...

I'm glad to see that our 700 billion gift to the CEOs was not in vain. For a while, I thought we had been sold down the river and asked to throw away good money for nothing. Thank you, Tom, for restoring my faith in the generosity of Congress.

October 4, 2008 at 7:51 AM  
Anonymous cathy said...

Get the government off all our backs ! Ahh, if our politicians (and all of us, for that matter) would only read, study, and be 100% committed to the United States Constitution, then we would truly be a nation to be admired. We've turned into such a nation of whiners, thinking the government should and will "fix" all our problems. But as we have seen, any time the government gets involved, they just screw things up royally. I have absolutely no objections to anyone having a yacht or a mansion as long as I know they've earned them through their own hard work and not because of some government handout with MY money. The politicians just don't get it. IT is NOT their money to give away !!!

October 4, 2008 at 9:54 AM  
Blogger Lew Scannon said...

Well, just think of the tough decisions they have to make: keep a thousand workers on the payroll, or get a bonus big enough to buy that seventeenth house you had your eye on.

October 4, 2008 at 10:16 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Carlos: They ought to send them to one of those boot camps where drug offenders go sometimes. Or maybe a few weeks of Navy SEAL-type training.

Let's Talk: I'm afraid you're right; they'll find a way to manipulate this whole thing to their benefit.

Randal: See, they're just working stiffs like everybody else. They're Joe Sixpack, only more successful.

Enemy: I too shared your skepticism at first. But lo and behold, the bailout really is helping everybody. CEOs and legislators really do have our backs :)

Cathy: I'm not a Libertarian, so I'm in favor of a certain amount of government intervention -- a safety net, or whatever you want to call it. But government is always a 2-edged sword, so this needs to be done sparingly.

I also have no problem with how rich somebody is. The problem starts when powerful people get taxpayer funding for their business ventures, and then get bailed out by the same taxpayers if their venture fails.

Lew: Yes, those tough decisions can be very stressful. No wonder these harried executives need a weekend of pampering.

October 4, 2008 at 10:30 AM  
Blogger Mile High Pixie said...

There's a comedy skit on one of the radio stations here in Denver about "please help the children of Aspen--some of their parents won't be able to buy this year's Lexus until it goes on sale...electricity is so expensive that many families can no longer afford to heat their driveways..." hilarious.

Until I read about these cash-rife group hugs. Pardon me while I barf.

October 4, 2008 at 3:22 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

MHP: Ah yes, we should have more sympathy for the rich; they have problems too. A driveway with no electricity -- perish the thought.

October 4, 2008 at 3:48 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

Funny that rich right-wingers would be into the 70s touchy-feely stuff, eh... Maybe they're not all right-wingers? Nah, most of them have to be, right? Heh!

Time for them to go to Camp Carlos.

October 4, 2008 at 4:32 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: Yup, off to Camp Carlos with them. Make them do calisthenics 'til they drop.

October 4, 2008 at 5:54 PM  
Blogger Candace said...

Poor babies. Sucks having to work for a living.

These fatcats are going to be fine, no matter what and everyone knows it.

October 4, 2008 at 6:05 PM  
Anonymous bill said...

Sounds to me as if you are all a bunch of sniveling liberals. Don't tell me if the government were willing to bail you out of the mistakes you've made you wouldn't take full advantage of it. AND no doubt you would relish going to this retreat for some pampering !! You simply like to boo hoo about how unjust it is that some people have more than you. A full socialist country would most likely be your remedy.

October 4, 2008 at 6:19 PM  
Blogger American Hill BIlly said...

Yea, I bet it is touchy, and definitely "feely" at the resort. Thank God, I mean Bush that this bailout has 100's of millions of pork in it.....Heck, sounds like the bailout is going to be entirely outsourced!!! Hooray!!! The CEO's will be able to amend their way's. Now, OUR representitives have given them the money to right, their wrongs!!

United In Peace And Freedom

October 4, 2008 at 6:21 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Candace: Yes, those poor babies. Such a touching story.

AHB: Yup, thank God-Bush for this bailout. Some of these CEOs probably couldn't have afforded this workshop without knowing that taxpayers were going to be rescuing them. Again.

Whoa! Got a live one here. "Bill" -- where to begin even trying to communicate with somebody so clueless. First of all, if you're against socialism, you should be against $700 billion of taxpayers' money being spent to rescue a bunch of wealthy speculators who got in over their heads.

On the other hand, having a safety net for working people is NOT socialism -- unless America has already been "socialist" since the 1930s.

Anyway, trying to reason with somebody like you is like trying to explain Calculus to a 5-year-old.

October 4, 2008 at 6:43 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

tom harper replied: "SW: And in addition to all that, they need the government off their backs."

Voluntary self-regulation is a real pain, all right. The mere thought of it makes people throughout the executive suite laugh until their sides hurt.

October 4, 2008 at 9:50 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SW: Yup, no doubt they're laughing their asses off. They came up with a meaningless buzzword like "voluntary self-regulation" and politicians fell for it, with the help of millions of dollars worth of bribes.

October 4, 2008 at 11:29 PM  
Anonymous bill said...

of course a $700 billion bail out is socialist, so are public schools, OSHA, dept. of health, and on and on. my point is all the comments seem to be against the bail out because these folks are rich. would any one of you refuse a government bail out for yourselves? whether you call it a safety net, or whatever, it boils down to the same thing. what should the cutoff point be? if you make more than $200,000/yr. should you qualify for a safety net? how about $500,000/yr? or maybe it should just be for anyone who makes less than $75,000/yr? why should anyone merit a bail out or safety net for their own mistakes? where is personal responsibility? do you honestly believe those people who make $50,000/yr actually believed they could afford a $400,000 house? Hey, I enjoy your blog and i'm always in the process of learning. if i'm wrong give me something to go with. i have even been known to change my thoughts...on very rare occasions.

October 5, 2008 at 9:18 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Bill: From your first comment it sounded like you only had a problem with "regular" working people getting bailed out by the government, and didn't have a problem with gigantic corporations being bailed out. I can see now that you're at least consistent; that you're also against the $700 billion bailout for Wall Street.

For myself, I'm in between about this bailout. I don't want a repeat of the 1929 crash, so if this bailout is what it takes, I'm in favor of it. But I don't know how much of this is just scare tactics and how much is genuine.

I'm not a Libertarian (which I'm guessing you are) so I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. A strong middle class has been the backbone of this country since the 1950s; and to a certain extent the middle class is made possible by the New Deal programs that FDR put into place.

October 5, 2008 at 12:23 PM  
Anonymous bill (belinda) said...

tom i don't like labels so i don't consider myself democrat, republican, libertarian, or anything else. i take each issue and decide for myself what is right. i do, however, admire and support many ,but not all, of Ron Paul's stands re:government. i agree with you 100% that the strong middle class is the backbone of this country. i think this country was made on the backs of the hard working middle class and many of this country's wealthiest became so on the backs of these workers. but i also strongly believe in personal responsibility and accountability. my parents and grandparents were hard working pro union folks and never accepted any government handouts. they taught me to rely on no one but myself. that is how i live my life. i also agree with you to a certain extent that there should be some safety nets. but only for those who are unable to speak or stand up for themselves such as children and the physically and mentally challenged. i guess our biggest disagreement is the extent to which government should be involved in our lives and in our pockets. but open discussion is always good.

October 5, 2008 at 1:38 PM  
Blogger Ricardo said...

Ah jeez Tom....ah, jeez.

I'm sure he was able to start this little retreat with the money AOL/Time Warner gave him AFTER nearly destroying both of those companies.

Also I'd like to add that while there is personal responsibility there are also predatory lending practices. That can mislead the consumer into thinking they are acting responsibly because the loan is presented as reasonable and living in that expensive home is attainable. Look at all the ads on TV for these companies where they feature ordinary people doing what they’ve always wanted to do thanks to (insert bank name here).

The American dream is predicated on living above ones means and NOT knowing the limits of personal responsibility. Who were the wise guys at the banks who thought it was a good idea to market home loans to people who could barely afford the rent? Who were these renters who thought it was a good idea to buy a house?

They were NOT ALL irresponsible people but for everyone that got reckless you can bet there were 2 or 3 who got caught in the spin machine put out by the banks and the pressure in our society to own a home because…..well that’s just what respectable people do.

So until people learn how to say, “this is enough for me now, thanks” there recklessness and above all else, banks ready to exploit.

It’s a cycle, a bad one, and it won’t be stopping anytime soon. Bailout or not.

October 5, 2008 at 2:44 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Bill (Belinda): Thanks for your comment. Sounds like we agree on a lot of things and disagree on some things. Works for me.

Ricardo: Oh, gosh darn it all, we've got to get moving forward to help the American people and quit pointing the finger at everybody and start looking forward instead of backward :)

(Anyway, that was my Palin imitation.) Yeah, this guy is a perfect example of the kind of person who's caused this mess. Take a huge gamble with thousands of people's jobs and pensions, lose everything and then get bailed out. And now he's running a workshop for people just like him who are in that same sad predicament.

It's very true that everybody needs to take more personal responsibility. Millions of people can learn something from this crisis, but will they?

What I don't like is the huge double standard. If Joe Sixpack gets in over his head and goes under -- tough shit. If a CEO gambles with millions of dollars worth of people's jobs and life savings, and loses, the taxpayers bail him out.

I think the same standard -- whether it's "tough shit" or "hold out your hand and I'll pull you up" -- should apply to both of them.

October 5, 2008 at 4:20 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

bill wrote: "why should anyone merit a bail out or safety net for their own mistakes? where is personal responsibility?"

The simple answer to your question is because we're all in this together. Big-money interests like Bear Stearns and AIG screw up, and a whole lot of innocent people who had no way to know they were screwing up get hurt. Let a an industry full of big-money interests screw up and we all get hosed, one way or another.

Think of it this way, bill. If firefighting was a pay-for-service operation and your next-door neighbor couldn't afford to have a fire put out at his house or at his business next door to your business, what would you do? Would you let his place burn down and hope yours wouldn't burn down with it? Or would you pitch in and help pay for the firefighters to put the fire out?

I have great respect for genuine "I'm the captain of my own ship, the master of my own fate"-type people. I just think they need to go out to the wilds of Alaska, where they won't be bothered by society and won't be expected to help make society work.

Here in settled, populous modern America, we get certain benefits from living in society. We also give up some of our income and freedoms in return.

It's not a socialism, just inevitablism, to coin a word.

October 5, 2008 at 4:28 PM  

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