Gonzo billionaire Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, offers some provocative advice to the Occupy Wall Street crowd. Among his suggestions (boldface emphases are in the original):
1. The Great Lie of Wall Street.
Every CEO tells the same great white lie. It is at the heart of every communication. It is at the heart of every financial decision. It is, at it’s very base, the reason why you all are in the 99pct and they are in the 1pct. The Lie ?
Great CEO White Lie = “We are acting in the best interests of shareholders.”
When a CEO utters this lie, everyone automatically forgives whatever they do. Add 10k jobless to the unemployment rolls ? Sorry, we did it in the BEST INTEREST OF SHAREHOLDERS. Merge or buy a company and cut back across the board ? We did it in the Best Interest of Shareholders.
The problem is that unless the company is losing money and it is the only way to keep the company alive, in this era of 9.1pct unemployment it NEVER is in the BEST INTEREST OF SHAREHOLDERS.
Shareholders , whether they own shares directly or through mutual funds or pensions do not live in a corporate vacuum. Their lives are impacted by far more than the share price of a stock. Every layoff in the name of more earnings per share puts a stress on the economy, on the federal, state and local governments which is in turn paid for through taxes or assumption of government debt by….wait for it.. the same shareholders CEOs say they want to benefit.
If OWS really wants to change corporate structure and impact the economy, talk to shareholders. Talk to your parents, uncles/aunts, cousins, friends who own shares of stocks either directly or indirectly and have them state loudly and clearly that they would rather have a higher Price to Earnings Ratio and even a lower stock price than have their TAXES increase in order to support all the people laid off from their jobs in the name of shareholders !
Cubes also says we should “tax the hell out of Wall Street and give it to Main Street.” His suggestion is actually more interesting and sensible than you might think from that line. Check it out here.