What’s the Word for America’s Corrupt Big Bank System?

Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower Author, Commentator, America’s Number One Populist

“Stumpf” is a German adjective that means someone is obtuse, slow on the uptake, imperceptive… stupid.

Ironically, it also happens to be the surname of Wells Fargo’s CEO, who is now mired in the most shameful banking scandal yet. For seven years or so, John Stumpf has presided over a venal bank policy, pressuring Wells Fargo’s retailing employees into systematically stealing from particularly vulnerable, low-income customers of the bank. During this time, he padded his own fortune with more than $100 million in personal pay. When this mass ripoff was recently exposed, Stumpf – the Big Boss getting the big bucks to be in charge – pleaded ignorance. In an act of what Sen. Elizabeth Warren called “gutless leadership,” he publicly blamed the corrupt corporate culture on thousands of the bank’s low-level employees.

But the chief was not the only stumpf at Wells Fargo. Where were its board members, who are empowered and duty-bound to set, monitor, and assure ethical corporate behavior from the top down? For seven years, this 15-member board of governance sat idle, apparently incurious about their corporation’s flagrant, widespread thievery, even after a 2013 report by the LA Times exposed it. Far from investigating and clamping down, the board kept shoving multimillion-dollar bonuses at Stumpf and other top executives.

Bear in mind that this is a powerhouse board, made up of top executives from other corporations, former government financial officials, and big time academics. And they are extremely well-paid to be diligent, getting up to $400,000 a year to keep Wells Fargo honest.

What’s at work here is the ethical rot that now consumes America’s entire corporate system – a stumpf system that steals from the many to further enrich the few, buying off the integrity and vigilance of those who run it.

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This was reposted from Jim Hightower's The Lowdown.

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be – consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks. Twice elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Hightower believes that the true political spectrum is not right to left but top to bottom, and he has become a leading national voice for the 80 percent of the public who no longer find themselves within shouting distance of the Washington and Wall Street powers at the top. He publishes a populist political newsletter, “The Hightower Lowdown.” He is a New York Times best-selling author, and has written seven books including, Thieves In High Places: They’ve Stolen Our Country And It’s Time To Take It Back; If the Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates; and There’s Nothing In the Middle Of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos. His newspaper column is distributed nationally by Creators Syndicate.

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