After a year of bailouts and a barely-breathing economy, many Americans want to know what 2010 will bring. Has corporate America really learned its lesson? Author Blaine Loomer isn’t waiting around to find out. He offers up a holistic solution to ending corruption in America’s big businesses that will also create some much-needed progress in other areas.
When President Obama criticized the “fat cat” bankers early last week, he was echoing the sentiments citizens on both sides of the political fence feel toward Corporate America. No wonder. As we look back over the past 12 months, it’s hard not to be disgusted by The Year of the Bailout. The spectacle of be-suited executives begging for government handouts is truly sickening to the Average Joes and Janes who struggle to pay their bills with their own meager, recession-choked finances. What’s worse is that most of us suspect no lessons were learned-Corporate America’s lousy decision-making isn’t likely to end any time soon.
That’s why Blaine Loomer calls BS on the whole system.
“Just consider the worst of the worst of Corporate America for 2009: AIG,” says Loomer, author of the new book Corporate Bullsh*t: A Survival Guide (Mitchell Publishers Inc., 2009, ISBN: 978-0-9842016-0-0, $29.50). “Its executives spent almost half a million dollars on a fancy retreat after receiving $85 billion in bailout money. That’s so outrageous it’s almost comical.
“The government bailed AIG out to try and protect the economy, but it didn’t address the problems that put AIG in that position in the first place,” he adds. “Too often, the government or some other entity swoops in to clean up the messes corporate fat cats in various industries have made, but nothing is done to prevent these disasters from happening in the first place.”
Despite 2009’s rock-bottom low points, reforming Corporate America is possible, says Loomer. He suggests that our nation take a holistic approach to dealing with the corruption, greed, and poor decision-making that plague many of our companies and industries.
As his book title suggests, Loomer is accustomed to advising people on how to navigate corporate bullsh*t on a personal level. (The book offers solutions to problems ranging from lack of corporate accountability to toxic colleagues to securing promotions and raises.) However, he is also plenty comfortable taking a macroscopic view of the BS.
Below, he offers up a four-part example of how a holistic problem-solving approach can help keep Corporate America in check while also addressing some of the nation’s other pertinent issues-namely, our overly complicated tax system and healthcare reform.
The Problem Part One: Publicly trading corporations are allowed to run amok.
The Solution: “The SEC needs to have more enforcement capability,” says Loomer. “The real problem here is not the current legislation, although it does need to be updated. The real problem is that the proper resources aren’t in place to enforce the existing laws.”
In his book, Loomer proposes that the U.S. staff up the SEC with auditors to be embedded in all public companies. These auditors will attend board meetings and audit company activities as well as investment instruments to make sure these companies are being good corporate citizens. SEC agents will be there to protect the interests of the shareholders, other investors, and employees in an effort to “prevent” greed-driven executives from shooting their own companies in the foot.
“I would also like to see an SEC review board that would analyze new investment instruments for the risk of catastrophic losses,” says Loomer. “Investing is a zero sum game, and if someone is making 500 percent returns, someone else is taking 500 percent losses.”
The Problem Part Two: New SEC staff will require money that isn’t available.
The Solution: “You’re probably thinking, This guy’s crazy. Staffing up the SEC for this task will require thousands of people,” says Loomer. “And you’d be right. But remember, we are approaching all of this with a holistic view. That said, let’s talk for a minute about a flat tax-an option that frequently comes up for debate.”
One concern opponents of a flat tax often bring up is that it will cause a loss of jobs in the IRS and in accounting firms. The last thing anyone wants to do these days is eliminate jobs, but Loomer points out that we have an opportunity here to not only staff up the SEC to enforce greater corporate accountability but to also minimize the cost of managing the tax system.
“Basically, the funds saved through the simplified tax system would be moved over to the SEC where they could be better utilized,” he explains. “The IRS employees, who already have the skill set to monitor financial instruments, should be able to make the transition to the SEC with minimal training.”
The Problem Part Three: Independent accounting firms will suffer.
The Solution: To talk about what fate would befall the accounting firms in Loomer’s plan, let’s bring in a seemingly unrelated topic: health care reform and the possibility of a public option. Everyone is worried about government health care costs spinning out of control, right? By taking a holistic approach to these problems, the tax accountants displaced by a simplified tax system could go to work in the health care arena.
“After all, who better to monitor the health care system than a group of auditors and accountants?” asks Loomer. “These accounting firms could work on a contract basis to monitor some or all of the health care system.”
The Problem Part Four: Health insurance employees will lose their jobs.
The Solution: Just put these people to work administering the new health care system.
“My answer is: Why does the government want to take on another huge cost center to administer health care when skilled people are already in place?” asks Loomer. “We could contract with the insurance companies for the administrative services that will be necessary when health care is reformed.”
The best part of Loomer’s vision? It could conceivably allow America to solve several of the nation’s most tricky challenges without incurring extra costs or raising taxes.
“This is certainly a bold plan, and I realize that putting it into action will take more than a simple snap of the fingers,” admits Loomer. “But it seems that this kind of holistic approach is much better than trying to solve these problems one at a time, as if they weren’t all interconnected. Remember, we are all paying for the system we have now-the one that has allowed corporate greed and government ineptness to drive our economy into a recession-and we will be paying for the system we have in the future. We might as well make it a better one.”
About the Author:
Blaine Loomer’s expertise in the corporate world evolves from over 20 years of experience in corporate management and sales. He has consulted with thousands of companies over the years, from enterprising individuals of mom and pop shops to executive officers of some of the largest corporations in America. As a corporate sales expert, he has hired, educated, and managed sales teams across North America. Over the years Blaine has logged millions of miles and fostered business relationships with thousands of people from all walks of life, both domestic and international. Through his travels and experiences, he has gathered a wealth of knowledge. After 20 years he has decided to put down the suitcase and share what he has learned with you in an effort to help you succeed in the pursuit of your career.
About the Book:
Corporate Bullshit: A Survival Guide (Mitchell Publishers Inc., 2009, ISBN: 978-0-9842016-0-0, $29.50) is available at bookstores nationwide and from major online booksellers.