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Reich writes: "When I was labor secretary, the most frustrating experience (other than battling Bob Rubin) was dealing with companies that treated law breaking as a cost of doing business. They get away with it because the maximum penalties for violating the law (multiplied by the probability of being caught) are lower than the profits they can make by ignoring it."

Robert Reich. (photo: unknown)
Robert Reich. (photo: unknown)


If Corporations Don't Like a Law, They Make the Penalties So Low That They Can Disregard It

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Facebook Page

14 August 16

 

hen I was labor secretary, the most frustrating experience (other than battling Bob Rubin) was dealing with companies that treated law breaking as a cost of doing business. They get away with it because the maximum penalties for violating the law (multiplied by the probability of being caught) are lower than the profits they can make by ignoring it.

The maximum penalty OSHA can impose for a serious violation of worker safety was increased this year -- from $7,000 to $12,471. In the case of willful or repeated violations, it went from $70,000 to $124,709. But that didn’t stop Stahl Specialty, an aluminum foundry in Warrensburg, Kansas, from repeatedly exposing its workers to illegally dangerous conditions. Last January one of its workers lost an arm because the company didn’t obey the law. Then in February, a 57-year-old maintenance worker was crushed to death when a 4,000 pound machine part fell on him. Again, the company didn’t follow the law. And what’s the penalty? OSHA is proposing Stahl pay $105,000. A slap on the wrist.

It’s common practice in America: If corporations don’t like a new law, they make the penalties in the law so low many companies will disregard it. Then they starve the enforcement agency of personnel to enforce it and it. Another reason we need a movement to counter the moneyed interests.

What do you think?


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Comments   

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+4 # JoaquinWalking 2016-08-14 13:50
Robert you should know. You worked with Bill Clinton to screw the American people.
 
 
-1 # HowardMH 2016-08-15 09:57
Yes, and the even sicker part is the American people are so ignorant they do not even realize there is a problem.
 
 
+1 # MsAnnaNOLA 2016-08-17 12:39
I call it a fascist system. Corporations get whatever they want and ordinary folks get nothing.
 
 
+21 # PeacefulGarden 2016-08-14 14:06
Robert, what do I think? I think nothing will change. You know that nothing will change. Everyone knows nothing will change.

Money is more important than a human arm. Don't you get it? Our government does not care? Why bother even asking us what we think.

How about-

What will you do?

Naw, that is too scary.
 
 
+1 # John Escher 2016-08-15 04:41
Quoting PeacefulGarden:
Robert, what do I think? I think nothing will change. You know that nothing will change. Everyone knows nothing will change.

Money is more important than a human arm. Don't you get it? Our government does not care? Why bother even asking us what we think.

How about-

What will you do?

Naw, that is to scary.


Bah. Your name is PeacefulGarden. You therefore should have a better attitude than this. P.S. Irony doesn't work on the internet.
 
 
+4 # deadhead 2016-08-15 07:26
Ironically.
 
 
+1 # PeacefulGarden 2016-08-15 08:22
Too scary? Irony doesn't work anywhere.

Isn't it the opposite of communication? Or, sarcasm is the opposite of communication.

I have had *it* with the line "what do you think?", especially in topics of "Lobbyist, Bankers, and Congressmen walk away from public with large batch of soft money... what do you think?"....

had it, had it...
 
 
+35 # Radscal 2016-08-14 14:53
Who sets these token fines?

Oh, the corrupt politicians and "civil servants" who go on to lucrative "consulting" or "speaking engagements" or lobbying once they've carried out the will of their sponsors.

For fines to change corporate behavior, they must be high enough that paying the fines costs more than the money made by breaking the laws and rules.

But most importantly, these decisions are not made by corporations. They are made by human beings who work for these corporations.

We must criminally prosecute the executives and managers who make these decisions and give the orders that lead to worker deaths and injuries, environmental damage and social ills.
 
 
+8 # economagic 2016-08-14 21:59
Bill Black has been saying it for well over a decade; likewise Frank Partnoy.
 
 
+1 # Radscal 2016-08-15 20:45
And yet, nothing is done to bring justice.
 
 
+5 # Patriot 2016-08-15 08:05
Mining cimpanies have routinely ignored mine safety laws for generations--an d still do. Yet they are untouchable. So how is Reich's article news.

Yet he still supports HRC, who is wholly in the pockets of her fellow 1%ers and will do nothing to disturb their paradise, despite the fact that the 99% live in hell.

So, Robert Reich, why are you still touting Hillary Clinton?
 
 
+12 # librarian1984 2016-08-14 16:01
Wow. It's a rigged system. Thanks for the news.

Much of this will be moot once your girl tweaks and passes her TPP, that's what I think.

How is it you seem to do all this deep thinking and soul searching, Mr. Reich, but you keep coming up with the wrong answers -- and questions?

What about war with Russia? What about election fraud? What about climate change? What about Wall Street?

No one takes you seriously when you ignore those matters.
 
 
+11 # BlueMorpho 2016-08-14 21:34
Robert,
I wrote of my disappointment. Then of my concern, wondering if you were threatened. It has since occurred to me that, yes, of course if you've been threatened you're going to be cautious.

The problems are you're sending mixed messages, unless you've renounced Hillary and I missed it. Why do I say this? I had to remind myself that we've lost some real heroes who were martyrs for the necessary and the noble. MLK, Gandhi, Malcolm X and tons more. I firmly believe that's what MLK meant what he said that he might not see the mountain top. He knew he was a marked man but he was prepared and willing to stay the course for all of us.

If he can do it, will you? Will you withdraw your support of HRC's candidacy? You're talking but not walking. You cannot have it both ways.
 
 
+2 # John Escher 2016-08-15 04:49
Quoting BlueMorpho:
Robert,

The problems are you're sending mixed messages, unless you've renounced Hillary and I missed it.


A binary choice, BlueMorpho. One or the other. You're forked. You either give up your queen or it's checkmate.
 
 
0 # BlueMorpho 2016-08-16 05:30
@J E,
I'm not a chess player but I'll guess you mean he gives her up or he's lost? or out of? What,
exactly? Unless these "inner party members" (to borrow from Orwell) have literally got fully equipped space vehicles with enough supplies to last for several generations, they share the planet with us. In other words, they're essentially suicidal for short term goals (more power??) and taking us with them.

Reich is not exempt. I met that guy when he came to my library. Someone treated me to his book. My family and I took pics w/him. We asked if he'd consider running. He refused.

Naive me, I thought he was the real deal. That he cared.
 
 
+5 # Hey There 2016-08-14 22:30
Work compensation protects employers from being sued by an in injured employee.
There are some exceptions which can be found on websites by Googling -- with some exceptions workers can sue their employers.
However it only makes sense that the penalties for worker injury should be high enough to act as an incentive for employers to maintain a safe workplace.
Instead while penalties are kept low the DOL proposed less compensation for injured postal workers.
This cuts both ways.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8RnRMpdmPo
 
 
+8 # TruthSeeker2 2016-08-14 23:11
Mr. Reich, if you believe this, then why are you supporting Hillary Clinton, the patron of the monied corporations? To say, "Because Trump is so awful", is cowardly.
 
 
+9 # wrknight 2016-08-14 23:27
Quoting TruthSeeker2:
Mr. Reich, if you believe this, then why are you supporting Hillary Clinton, the patron of the monied corporations? To say, "Because Trump is so awful", is cowardly.

I just asked my daughter early this evening to sign a petition to get Jill Stein on the ballot in our state. But she refused to do so because, like so many, she is terrified that a third party candidate will take away enough votes from Clinton for Trump to win. She won't even let her get on the ballot, much less vote for her.

It's that kind of fear that will lock us into the two party system forever. The two parties have learned that they only have to put up lousy candidates to guarantee that American voters will only vote for the lesser of the two evils, thus preventing any serious threat from third party or independent candidates.

And Mr. Reich is suffering from the same phobia.
 
 
+3 # OrlandoDFree 2016-08-15 03:30
It's pointless to talk about third party candidates until we replace our winner-take-all system with something like instant-runoff- voting, which gives third parties a chance without being spoilers.
 
 
-1 # John Escher 2016-08-15 04:55
You can be fearless and still be locked into the two party system forever. So go for the lesser of two evils. Just since that is a "card" you don't want to play doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. Could be the end of the world we're talking about here. One way to be fearless, though, is to be out of it. So go ahead and vote for Jill Stein. End of the world-- so what.
 
 
+2 # deadhead 2016-08-15 10:49
"let her get on the ballot"? This sort of language is not helpful. I am not for or against her getting on the ballot. If there were enough of a hue and cry for her to have enough sigs to get on the ballot, she'd be there. The fact that she appeals to only a tiny minority is why she is not on the ballot. Bernie had to demonstrate viability, did so, ran and lost. The expectation that he should still be running or got screwed is nonsense - even he sees that and supports Hillary. We need to move on and move to support the more palatable option . . . or end up being Trumped. I well aware of Hillary's neo-con positions. I am also well aware that she is not evil incarnate either. The apocalyptic language is doing no one, least of all progressives, any favors.
 
 
0 # BlueMorpho 2016-08-16 05:34
@deadhead,
The idea that he got screwed is nonsense? The language ...? Please clarify, btwn "no one" and "progressives" for whom are you attempting to speak?
 
 
+3 # Jim Young 2016-08-14 23:57
I just recently learned about Mack Robinson, Jackie Robinson's older brother and Silver medal winner in the 1936 Olympics (one of 18 Black Americans that competed that year). There will be a documentary coming out soon, but it seems that one very important point was the thankless job people like him did before Jackie effectively "topped the hill" with enough staying power to enable permanent and much greater progress to start. To me, Bernie got us high enough to peek over the top, and determined to consolidate a much stronger position, so the next big push can make the changes irreversible.

It fits, too with the story I heard of the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand) troops that launched a fierce night attack on a ridge held by Germans near El Alamein (I believe El Ruweisat but I can't find the account I read of thousands of causalities and record numbers of POWS). They were amazed at the ferocious defense the outer ring put up, but pushed through to the top where they expected the strongest opposition. Instead they found no one on the top, the lower perimeter was the main defense, and now they were surrounded on top,with no way for their armor to come help them.

I don't want too many to be "captured on the ridge." I'll follow what Bernie says right before the election, consolidating what we can, and getting as many as possible ready for the following campaigns. We may get no greater reward than Mack Robinson, but those who follow us will have a better chance.
 
 
+5 # Ted 2016-08-15 04:40
What Bernie says is that if he ever tries to tell us who to vote for, WE SHOULD NOT LISTEN TO HIM!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1uAvqnoAjII

Bernie has worked SO hard for us, don't betray him at the last minute!

Support and Vote Stein!
 
 
-4 # AndreM5 2016-08-15 09:09
There is some more irony. So instead we have you telling us who to vote for.
 
 
+1 # Ted 2016-08-15 14:37
I promise NEVER to tell you that you should not listen to me.
 
 
+1 # Jim Young 2016-08-15 11:21
I will comply with "... if he ever tries to tell us who to vote for, WE SHOULD NOT LISTEN TO HIM!..."

I trust his judgement, but will reserve my final decision for myself. He has great, but not total, influence, so I do see it as "not listening to him" if he ever slips to "trying to tell us who to vote for."
 
 
+17 # wrknight 2016-08-14 23:15
Corporations only reduce the fines on laws they don't like when they can't get rid of them. But usually, they can get rid of them.
 
 
+7 # lfeuille 2016-08-14 23:36
Tell it to Hillary. She is to a large extent responsible for perpetuating this farce.
 
 
+13 # OrlandoDFree 2016-08-15 03:29
Every time one of my libertarian friends gives me an example of how government messed something up, the details invariably involve corruption. The problem isn't government. The problem is corruption.
 
 
-6 # John Escher 2016-08-15 04:58
Quoting OrlandoDFree:
Every time one of my libertarian friends gives me an example of how government messed something up, the details invariably involve corruption. The problem isn't government. The problem is corruption.


So we should pitch our tent next to a pure spring?
 
 
+4 # wrknight 2016-08-15 07:36
Quoting OrlandoDFree:
Every time one of my libertarian friends gives me an example of how government messed something up, the details invariably involve corruption. The problem isn't government. The problem is corruption.

No, the problem is the people who control our government.
 
 
+3 # Patriot 2016-08-15 08:12
The problem is the corruption of government. Vote Stein.

If we all believe voting third party will lose the election, then we won't even give it a try. but many people who will not vote for either HRC or DJT will just stay home and not vote at all.

If all of those of us who don't want either HRC or DJC would show up and vote Stein, and vote on ALL OF THE OTHER offices that will be on the ballot, Stein just might win the White House, and we'll have a chance to end up with better local, state, and congressional office-holders.

Voting is a RIGHT, but, like authority, no right comes without concomitant responsibility.

It is the respnsibility of every eligible person to register and vote in every election. Staying home is NOT a right, it's a cop-out.
 
 
+6 # Ted 2016-08-15 04:34
And why is it that OUR representatives consistently create situations that benefit corporations while hurting US?

Because they get paid by the corporations in the form of campaign support and donations.

Jill Stein is the ONLY candidate for president that does NOT accept donations from corporations, or even their superpacs.

Support and Vote Green.

Jill2016.com/plan
 
 
-3 # John Escher 2016-08-15 05:01
Quoting Ted:
And why is it that OUR representatives consistently create situations that benefit corporations while hurting US?

Because they get paid by the corporations in the form of campaign support and donations.

Jill Stein is the ONLY candidate for president that does NOT accept donations from corporations, or even their superpacs.

Support and Vote Green.

Jill2016.com/plan


Or don't vote at all. That will also succeed in making the world worse. "But my principles, my principles (gasp), I cannot violate my principles."

The trouble is, I don't care about your principles. I only care about my principles.
 
 
+4 # wrknight 2016-08-15 07:41
Quoting John Escher:
Quoting Ted:
And why is it that OUR representatives consistently create situations that benefit corporations while hurting US?

Because they get paid by the corporations in the form of campaign support and donations.

Jill Stein is the ONLY candidate for president that does NOT accept donations from corporations, or even their superpacs.

Support and Vote Green.

Jill2016.com/plan


Or don't vote at all. That will also succeed in making the world worse. "But my principles, my principles (gasp), I cannot violate my principles."

The trouble is, I don't care about your principles. I only care about my principles.

If all of you nay sayers, and those who don't vote, instead voted for Stein, she would win hands down. Do the math. Based on recent history, more than 1/3 of all eligible voters won't vote this year and I suspect that number will rise to 1/2 given the candidates we have.

It's the people who don't vote that are determining the outcome of the election.
 
 
0 # Ted 2016-08-15 14:44
Good point!

Half of Sanders' supporters say they will not vote for clinton or trump.

Add that to OVER half of all those who will vote for clinton or trump but say they are only doing it to avoid the other one winning.

All those votes together would equal a clear victory for Stein IF the corporate media (and the dem/pub party machinery) would allow the public to know who they CAN vote for if they choose to.
 
 
+9 # RMDC 2016-08-15 05:33
"They get away with it because the maximum penalties for violating the law (multiplied by the probability of being caught) are lower than the profits they can make by ignoring it.


When actual human beings follow this sort of reasoning, the government increases the penalty to a level that the law will act as a "deterrant." Why not increase the penatlies on corporate law breakers. There's been talk for a long time about a corporate "death penalty." Some especially criminal corporations -- let's say Monsanto -- would simply be legally terminated with extreme prejudice. It would cease to exist and all its products confiscated and destroyed.
 
 
+3 # Patriot 2016-08-15 08:14
Great idea!
 
 
-1 # Robbee 2016-08-15 08:26
why should any corporation be allowed to spend corporate money to advance any candidate or issue referendum?

a corporation's ads should be limited, by u.s. constitution, to promoting apolitical products it sells and/or apolitical services it provides!

hill has promised netroots nation within 30 days of taking office, if she does, to propose a constitutional amendment for campaign finance reform including reversing "citizens united"

if hill's proposed con-am does not do all we the people need, bernie and reich should propose a better con-am!

- go bernie and go dem!
 
 
+1 # Blackjack 2016-08-15 09:54
And, really, who's gonna enforce those puny laws anyway? The business of America is business, isn't it? So let's not put any roadblocks in their way. After all, any roadblocks are merely a "cost of doing business," which is entirely acceptable because it is so affordable. Disgusting!
 
 
0 # C.H.Winslow 2016-08-15 14:28
I believe that putting the information out there will eventually help us deal with the commercial criminal class. Thank you, Mr. Reich, for continuing to work for exposure and reform. The past notwithstanding , I think Mrs. Clinton will take an essentially problem solving approach to the Presidency and help us make progress. As Ignatius has written, we will soon be doing much more of our work by robotic servo-mechanism s, and the owners of productive facilities will need people to have money to purchase the output of their machines. Problems solving in the future will be much more important that holding ideological grudges and cursing various political notables. The country will need to organize money making activities, hopefully productive and valuable, for the masses of people put out of work by cheap labor overseas and robots here. It would really help to have a landslide for the Democrats because it would be much easier to solve problems without facing the neanderthal obstruction of Congressional Republicans.
 
 
0 # BlueMorpho 2016-08-16 05:42
@C. Winslow,
I'm trying to make sense of your comment. I sense a bunch of contradictions, etc. You've lost me.
 
 
0 # Aliazer 2016-08-15 20:16
I have been saying, repeatedly, that our government has been stolen and is no longer ours!!

Realizing that, the corporate/globa list/zionist interests that have taken over must be identified for the criminals that they are and deal with them accordingly, as they deal with us everyday, with their propaganda, misinformation and out, out lies.

Their polls, their "opinion" investigations, their inane advertisements etc, etc. should always be answered but only in a contrarian manner expected from us. There is a need to confuse them and the more confusing for them , the more ineffective they become.
 

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