Lie, Cheat, Steal—Business As Usual

Sometimes it seems as if the economic crisis is acting like an earthquake that’s turning over rock after rock and all kinds of icky things are crawling out much to our dismay. A few months ago I wrote about the mindset that seems to be so prevalent these days.

“These days” aren’t all that recent whereas the executive bonuses causing so much rage are just a blip.

Enron was eight years ago as was the phen-phen settlement rip-off, although the two lawyers were only convicted this week.

For decades, the Feds have been scamster heaven and that hasn’t changed, “about 32 percent of the combined monies paid out by Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are fraudulent”—often enabled employees—and by 2007 more than $100 billion was spent on contractors for the Iraq war (you can outsource anything) and you can bet your bottom dollar there’s been plenty of fraud there. Just business as usual.

Of course lying, cheating and fraud aren’t new, but what’s depressing is that they seem to become more and more acceptable. Worse, all the signs are ignored until the situation blows up causing massive damage to thousands of people.

Maydoff and the other hedge fund scamsters operated for years with everybody ignoring the warning signs until the Wall Street bomb blew up and investors wanted their money back. At that point all those houses of cards came tumbling down.

Yet as recently as last August Congress was seriously considering turning over the private pension funds to these same people responsible for the financial crisis—even as those funds were crashing.

Remember when you were young and some boring older person told you that “if it seems too good to be true it probably is”? The problem is that as people grew up they tacked two words onto that phrase and those two words helped get us where we are today.

Do you know which two words?

But me.


I hate leaving things on a down note, so here is something to raise your spirits and your skills.

Dan McCarthy over at Great Leadership hosts a terrific leadership carnival and the latest one just went live today. Click on over and check it out, I guarantee that there’s something there for everyone—and probably more than one something. Enjoy!

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