Thursday, as you know, Wisconsin unions members threatened to remove their money from M&I bank, whose execs gave heavy campagin donations to Wisconsin's anti-middle-class governor, Scott Walker (who signed a bill Friday that reduces public employees' right to collectively bargain for decent benefits and wages).
M&I's response to the boycott threat begins:
"M&I has not taken, and will not take, a position either for or against the budget repair bill. As M&I has publicly stated before: M&I has not contributed to any candidate and did not contribute to Governor Walker or Mayor Barrett in the last gubernatorial election...."
I must interject. Corporations are legal fictions: they can't do anything, anymore than cars can drive themselves. It's the people who run coporations that do things (or don't) in a corporation's name, like puppeteers. M&I's response continues:
"M&I employees contributed to both Wisconsin gubernatorial candidates in the last election."
From M&I's puppeteers, the anti-middle-class governor got 183 donations ($85,000); his opponent, Tom Barrett, got 68 donations ($16,000) [data from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign].
Given the dollar amounts (if I correctly pasted them into Excel), one could say that the M&I puppeteers who donated to the gubernatorial campaigns were 5-to-1 in favor of the anti-middle-class governor.
In November of 2008, M&I received $1.7 billion in loans from us taxpayers through ex-President Bush's bank bail-out program (TARP). Back then, M&I's puppeteers were eager to receive hefty quantities of tax dollars. Now, they just don't care whether Wisconsin's teachers and garbage collectors get a share--and in exchange for real work, no less.
Incidentally, M&I's puppeteers have failed to pay us back. At the same time, they managed to pay themselves--in part, using money they borrowed from us. It gets worse.
If BMO pays back the TARP money, the top five M&I puppet masters stand to get "change of control payments" (golden parachutes) ranging from $5 million to $18 million if they lose their jobs when BMO takes over. Just the top 16 execs will split some $65 million.
This after M&I reported losses for 9 straight quarters? Incidentally, yet another round of layoffs is coming--while top execs pocket enough money to survive without ever having to work again (unless they manage their personal finances as poorly as they managed M&I's).
The Business Insider has a story about M&I CEO Mark Furlong, and the title says it all: This Bank Executive Took TARP Money, Never Paid It Back, And Now He'll Get $18 Million If He's Fired.
We middle-class folks don't get obscene severance packages after someone buys our employer and fires us. Instead, we try to survive on unemployment benefits and savings (those who make enough money to have savings)--while trying to not get sick after the health insurance runs out.
Incidentally, M&I's CEO donated $4,000 to the campaign of Wisconsin's anti-middle-class governor.
M&I's response to the boycott threat ends as follows:
"M&I is proud of our tradition of standing with teachers, nurses, police officers, fire fighters, and other dedicated public employees to support, improve, and grow Wisconsin communities. M&I has 188 branches in cities, towns, and villages throughout Wisconsin, and M&I employees work side-by-side with these dedicated public employees in civic endeavors across the state."
So proud is M&I's tradition of "standing with" middle-class folks that most of the money M&I's puppeteers spent on the gubernatorial campaigns went toward getting an anti-middle-class governor elected.
Unless my middle-aged eyes are playing tricks on me, I see a disconnect.