Monday, December 17, 2012

The Cost of Doing Business

Recently, financial behemoth HSBC was ordered to pay a $1.92 billion dollar fine for money laundering. Sounds like a great big fine, until compared with HSBC's great big assets--over $2.55 TRillion. The bank apparently broke a few federal laws (the Bank Secrecy Act and the Trading with the Enemy Act). Regulations are all too often insufficiently enforced, with penalties not stiff enough to deter bad behavior; indeed, fines simply become part of the cost of doing business.

Following on the heels of the news of the HSBC fine was news of yet another mass shooting of innocent people. Twenty children, boys and girls who were only 6 or 7 years old, were shot multiple times, along with 6 teachers and administrators, as several of whom tried to stop the killer or protect the children. The killer finally, shot himself; it is reported that a woman found shot dead in a house in town may have been the killer's mother, also shot by him.

Early responses to the news included such reactions as "I can't believe this happened," and "How could this happen here," along with various politicians saying, "Now is not the time to talk about gun control." The gun lobby spends vast sums promoting their agenda--and for a large segment of the interests the NRA represents, these murders are just part of the cost of doing business.

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