You read a lot about bullies in this and other publications.
Generally, someone who has physically injured another person during the commission of a crime will receive a longer sentence and perhaps be obliged to attend anger management courses.
But what about other kinds of bullies? Specifically, what about "fiscal" bullies, as opposed to "physical" bullies? What kind of corrective training are they subjected to?
The resignation last week of Goldman Sachs banker Gordon Smith certainly begs the question. In his resignation letter (which ran as an op-ed piece in The New York Times), Smith said he was quitting because "It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off."
Smith said the bank sells clients financial products they are "trying to get rid of."
Mind you, this is the same company that paid a $550 million settlement in 2010. A Christian Science Monitor story said Goldman was accused of selling clients housing market investments - while the firm itself made hundreds of millions betting against those investments.
In Smith's farewell article, he said some Goldman employees still refer to their clients as "Muppets." That is not a reference to Sesame Street. According to The Wall Street Journal, "Muppet" is British slang for "idiot."
If Smith's charges are correct, it would seem the $550 million settlement didn't teach Goldman Sachs very much.
Hmm, interesting. There are courses to teach mean individuals to not enjoy pounding upon the heads of those who are weak and vulnerable, but simply fines (paid for by corporations) for individuals who think it is OK to repeatedly dupe unsuspecting clients.
We'd suggest Smith's charges deserve an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. What to do if there are folks at GS duping clients again? Start by taking down the corporate protection of individuals. Treat them like the criminals they are.
Like to steal money from your trusting clients? We're going to take every cent in every bank account or investment portfolio you control. No more fines, no more hiding behind corporate curtains - guilty individuals' fortunes should be seized.
The most important lesson the fiscal bullies must be taught is that ruining people's lives is not a game.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.