‘Many [CEOs behind the financial crisis] still have influential roles in shaping the economy today. But we’re the crazy ones for wanting to tax ’em, right?’
That’s a snapshot of a Saturday tweet from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and it’s not the first time, nor likely the last, that the Democratic congresswoman will call out corporate influence in politics, executive compensation, and where they intersect.
With the tweet, AOC is standing with the U.S.’s third-richest man: Warren Buffett — a card-carrying Democrat born to a conservative congressman, he says — who earlier this month said the CEOs should take the hit, not shareholders, when companies fail.
The freshman New York lawmaker, who considers herself a Democratic Socialist though gets labeled as a Socialist much of the time, was retweeting a CNBC article capturing how Buffett told the room of shareholders at his annual Berkshire Hathaway
retreat that if a bank needs a government bailout, the responsible CEO should lose their net worth.
Here’s the full AOC tweet and the article link:
Buffett was responding to a question about Wells Fargo
— of which Berkshire is still a significant shareholder, despite a recent reduction — and its embattled former CEO John Stumpf (even the Stumpf replacement has since been replaced). Stumpf was removed amid a scandal over thousands of fake accounts created by salespeople to meet high-pressure quotas.
The possibility of malfeasance at one of his companies, or within Berkshire, has been one of his biggest dreads, Buffett admitted in early May.
But, said Buffett then: “If a bank gets to where it needs government assistance, the responsible CEO should lose his net worth and his spouse’s net worth.”
When a situation like that arises, “it’s the shareholders who pay,” he added.
AOC’s sympathies on Saturday went further: “It still blows my mind that the CEOs who crashed our economy + caused millions of people to lose their homes not only escaped handcuffs; but got bonuses, too.”
More than 1.2 million households were lost to the recession, according to a 2010 report by the Mortgage Bankers Association that looked at data between 2005 and 2008. The worst of the crisis extended to 2009.