Americans give corporate U.S. so-so grades

A lot of local media attention has been focused on the misdeeds of government.

It's no wonder, given the alphabet soup of abuse, waste, and incompetence by the DRPA, PHA, and BRT. Not to mention the Bonusgate corruption scandal involving Harrisburg lawmakers; political mischief at the Philadelphia City Commissioners, and dubious no-bid contracting by the Philadelphia School District.

But government agencies aren't the only ones falling down on the job. Corporate America has been plagued by scandal and greed as well.

Wall Street banks and insurers played a leading role in the economic collapse brought on by a housing bubble fueled with dubious investment schemes. The banks helped drive the country into the deep recession and prompted billions of dollars in government bailouts, and layoffs.

The U.S. Attorney in Manhattan is in the middle of mounting a broad insider-trading case that has led to a number of indictments already, and appears to be just heating up. Meanwhile, the Attorney General in New York just filed civil fraud claims against Ernst & Young accusing the big accounting firm of looking the other way while Lehman Brothers misled investors about its financial health before it collapsed.

It's against this backdrop that a recent poll found the majority of Americans said corporations failed to meet their expectations. Eighty-two percent gave corporate America a grade of 'C' or lower. Even that may be inflated.

A similar poll last year found that 76 percent believed corporate America had lost its moral compass. Many believe personal financial gain and career advancement drive many business decisions.

It makes one wonder: Can't anyone put in an honest day's work?

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