Many People Steal If They Can

Many clever psychology experiments have shown that most of us steal if we think we can really get away with it. (I’ll give you the source later– I’m out at the observatory trying to image M81 and not at home)

These very clever experiments also show that the tighter the controls, the less money and valuables that get stolen — by very ordinary people. Not all are equally larcenous, of course. You, dear reader, are among the saintly few — right?
Which is why, when you have a big enterprise of some sort that involves a lot of people and property and cash, you gotta have controls. 

My predecessor at the Carnegie First Light program — whom I never met– spent some years in jail iirc for embezzling from the Carnegie Institution for Science. (I do a Saturday class for MS kids in science, where they get to do a lot of hands-on stuff…) so I guess the controls weren’t tight enough then.

My own local teachers union president (Barbara Bullock, WTU LOCAL 6) with whom I sat on one negotiating cycle, as a classroom teacher representative, stole MILLIONS of dollars from us teachers. She had allies that helped her pull it off, to their mutual benefit. (Some of them did time, too)

Many embezzlers strike churches, unions, and private schools, perhaps because the controls are looser, and sums that are stolen are easier to hide. Often only one person really understands the “books” anyway, so, opportunity knocks. Not everybody succumbs, but many do (I’m not guessing percentages here!!) and if you make it easy to steal by having no regular financial accounting and scrutiny at every step, then the organization is going to have a lot stolen.

I don’t see any evidence that the many embezzlers who get away with large sums, ever pay it back, either.

I just read an estimate that American street crime causes $5 billion in losses per year.that’s a lot, and it’s quite painful to those who suffer, but wait:

White collar crime is somewhere between 40 and 100 times LARGER than street crime.

 Nobody knows for sure how much embezzlement, fraud via credit cards or whatever, and all other types of “white collar” crime, happens. But I have seen estimates that these losses are anywhere from $200 BILLION or into the trillions. Per year.

 In other words, crime pays well unless you use a knife or a gun. 
And of course we need to have what? 

(Sarcasm on)

1. More Law And Order — crack down on street criminals — and we all know what their skin tone is like — and Lock ’em up forever

2. Deregulate — so there are fewer safeguards to prevent white collar, massive, organized theft from us taxpayers and workers and citizens, young and old, all races nationalities. 

(Sarcasm off) 

It sounds to me real bad guys who want this.  Deregulation, which is one of the core Republican Party goals, simply makes it easier for certain people to steal more and get away with more damage to people and the environment we live in…

A big part of their Schtick is trying to get the rest of us not to notice their thievery — by getting various groups of not-at-all-well-off people hating on each other. You can fill in the blanks here…

Some people make so much money that you and I couldn’t even DREAM of any way of buying stuff as fast as they earn it. (Think bill gates)

And a whole lot of that wealth is earned in criminal ways…

Anybody recall Bernie Madoff? Those USNavy admirals? Paul Manafort? Shipping “skids” loaded with bundles and bales of hundred-dollar bills, being shoveled into the hands of politicians and warlords anywhere the US government is involved …
Those creeps at Enron, Goldman Sachs, and all the other crooks, liars, rapists, embezzlers and so in who’ve been so famously stealing from all of us? Before that, they were all considered pillars of society. But they are just well dressed thieves.

“Some men rob you with a six-gun, but most with a fountain pen”

Remember what I calculated in this blog a month or so ago: if all the private and non profit wealth of the US were equally divided, each household would nearly become a millionaire. No kidding!!

There is so much money — and so little of it gets to most of us who actually do the work. 

In the charter school sector, the public pays, but there is extremely little financial or public accountability. I have lost count of the number is charter school operators who stole money just right here in Washington DC and the school got closed down. It’s enormous all over the country.

(Sarcasm back on)

But that’s not important. The most important thing is to regulate who uses which bathroom. Yup. 

Oh, yeah, we need to take almost ALL of that $600 billion in US educational funding, which is pretty well watched over and is under public financial policy guidelines and is by law open to the public, and turn it over to private groups with no transparency at all — and are often the inside hardest hit by fraudsters, some of whom are the chiefs of those institutions.

(Sarcasm off)

Good lord. 

Never mind that the latest national study — done by the frigging Fordham institution — showed that by the yardstick they were using — scores on Big Standadized Tests — the US voucher system as we know it is actually harmful to the students whose parents take that route. Students who remain in the local public schools do better. And online schools? They are by far the worst– students in many cases learn absolutely NOTHING during an entire year. (As measured by those BS tests)  (which are the chosen yardstick of the EduDeformers like Michelle Rhee, Ernie Duncan, and Betsy DeVos and all the rest of them)
Some people are gonna make a killing! And not by , uh, actually helping students learn.

Published in: on April 2, 2017 at 9:03 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Is the the book “The Honest Truth About Dishonesty” by Dan Ariely? He sites many studies that support the contention in your opening paragraph.

    And yeah, I agree 100% with the the point of this post.


  2. The GOP is all for deregulation. What has that done for the states they control.

    8 of the 10 states with the worst quality of life are controlled by the GOP.

    But what about the Democrats?

    7 of the 10 states with the best quality of life are controlled by the Democratic Party.

    How about the most politically corrupt states?

    7 of the 8 most politically corrupt states are controlled by the GOP

    7 of the top ten most violent states are controlled by the GOP

    I could go on and on and on …


  3. Right on the mark. And “law and order” is just another way to see Jim Crow going.


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