The popular perception is that bank robbers wear ski masks when doing their jobs, but a lot of modern-day bank robbers are wearing Armani suits and Gucci loafers.
The New York Times recently ran a story on such hold-up men, including showing mug shots of five who’ve been making big hauls. The photos looked as though they were taken at a police lineup, except for one significant difference: All five of these robbers had big smiles on their faces. That’s because they are the chief executives of some of America’s biggest banks, and they’ve just pulled off a major job that’ll put more sacks of riches in their private stashes.
These inside men were involved in the bank crash of 2008-09 that resulted in: (1) them engineering multi-billion-dollar bailouts of their failed financial empires by us taxpayers; (2) them being allowed to skate free of any punishment, keeping their prestigious positions rather than being fired or going to jail; (3) them returning almost immediately to the same old speculative banking capers that caused the crash, rather than being compelled to invest our bailout funds in job-creating businesses; and (4) them continuing to make off with fat salaries and bonuses.
Now, the Federal Reserve is allowing these heisters to raise the value of their banks’ stock dividends. Since the CEOs happen to be among the biggest stockholders, the dividend hike will be a windfall for them. For example, Jamie Dimon, the boss banker of JPMorgan Chase, was a major backroom plotter in the bailout scheme, and his bank took $25 billion from us. Far from being punished, last year he hauled off $18.4 million in personal pay. And now he’s set to grab another $6 million from the dividend heist.
Shouldn’t these guys at least have to wear ski masks when they go to work? Maybe they can get a nice one from Gucci.
For more information on Jim Hightower’s work — and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown — visit www.jimhightower.com.