For those of you who are neurotic like me, and I suspect most of you are in the following respect, then you’re constantly wondering whether the grass is greener on the other side. Whether it’s in terms of money, your career, car, or even your girlfriend (just joking sweetheart), you’re always wondering how everyone else is doing. And along those lines, you’ll no doubt have seen the list Forbes magazine put out last month of the Top Five Overpaid Jobs in America and subsequently wondered, “whew… glad I chose law as a career.”
No, you didn’t say? Well, I’m certainly not responsible for that, nor can you blame me for my incredible career foresight.
Just joking. Though lawyers did swipe the second spot on the list being described as a “Veblen good,” a description which I hope lawyers everywhere take much offense to and subsequently write angry letters to the author, what I wanted to point out was that CEOs took the number one spot. And as I established earlier, upon hearing this, the similarities you and I both share will undoubtedly bring us to the same conclusion of “No s***.” As a note to the lawyers out there regarding their letters, be sure to denounce the lawyer crack, but applaud the CEO stab.
Now they’re not all bad. There have been some great CEOs throughout time, but in light of the recent economic disaster helmed by the likes of former titans AIG, Merrill Lynch, and the rest of the banking and credit industry in general, millionaire CEOs seem to be more than a just fit for the top of the list. Greed compelled them to move to deregulated the banking industry and subsequently push for their $700 billion bailout (you don’t have to agree with him, but the facts are there) while the rest of us sit in the squalor they created.
And so far that bailout doesn’t seem to be helping the American public as far as I can tell. Unemployment is still at a 25-year high and all these CEOs can do is point fingers at everyone but themselves.
So what should be done? Well, the way I see it is that $700 billion was given to these industry giants to fix this economy by ensuring it doesn’t tank further. Sounds to me like it’s almost like a contract, in exchange for this money from the American public we’re expecting them to get us out of this mess. But as far as I can tell we’ve only been duped so far into believing that they’ll actually do something to dig the country out of their mess. It almost sounds like an unconscionable contract to me, one which we were fraudulently induced into entering.
So what’s to be done with an unconscionable contract? Any first-year law student will tell you the same answer as a 20-year veteran attorney: an unconscionable contract is an unenforceable contract. Meaning it should be torn up and everything given should be returned to the rightful owner who mistakenly gave it. Some may argue buyer must beware. But in the case of fraudulent inducement, it doesn’t matter if it’s an overpriced freezer you paid three times the actual worth or a $700 billion bailout: if you were tricked into shelling out green, you should get it back.
Now of course, I’m not so naïve to believe something like this will actually happen. There are all sorts of case laws that holds CEOs non-liable for their mistakes, such as the business judgment rule, not to mention the incredible forgiving and broad terms of the bailout itself. All I’m saying is that we should think about some more accountability on the part of these CEOs. Because, I mean, come on. There’s a reason they number one on the overpaid job list.
(Lawyers shouldn’t be second place, though… just saying is all…)