Why are billionaires, like Robert Kraft, above the law?
Here we go again, another billionaire making headlines for behaving badly.
By now, unless you’ve been exploring caves or on a remote island someplace, you’ve heard about Robert Kraft in the news, and I will get to that later. But I am starting to wonder, is there any accountability that billionaires have to worry about? Is this a perk of being super wealthy? Where do we draw the line?
For most Americans, if we are caught doing something naughty, we are going to go through a lengthy and relatively expensive process, which may even lead us to spending some time behind bars. However, when you have a lot of money, it seems to be that culpability and accountability is negotiable.
How often do we see the super wealthy commit a crime, do no time, and “settle” out of court?
Let’s compare a couple of recent stories.
Donald Sterling, the former owner of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, in 2014, was forced to sell his controlling interest in the franchise after it was revealed that he had made remarks to his girlfriend at the time that were undeniably racist.
While I applaud the NBA for taking a hard stand and drawing a line on the accountability of their owners, Sterling remains a billionaire. Essentially all that happened was a really wealthy guy lost one of his toys. It’s like if the guy who owns the marina tells you, “Hey, you’re going to have to sell your yacht, sir.”
That said, being a racist isn’t illegal.
Let’s explore Mr. Kraft and his participation in illicit activities in Florida, which included women who were part of a sex trafficking ring. Is human trafficking not one of the most deplorable acts that takes place in modern society?
Many analysts believe Kraft will not serve any jail time at all, and instead plead out by paying a huge fine or offering some sort of philanthropy that somehow makes this all OK.
Do we have a chance to set an example? To say that this is something so horrible that no one is allowed to plea out of it, or are we going to let a team of lawyers negotiate a settlement and make a donation to a fund that supposedly helps victims of the sex trade?
What message does a negotiation send? If you have the money, the laws don’t apply to you? I’m not sure that Mr. Kraft, at his age and with his income portfolio, has to worry about having a criminal record, going to a job interview, or renting an apartment.
Is this fair? I mean, hey, I guess it is a perk of the good life.
There are all kinds of directions I could go about the man who is currently serving as President of the United States, but I will leave that one alone for now.
To me, this has nothing to do with race, political party, ethnicity, religion or any other hot topics we all seem to disagree with each other about. To me, this is a simple request for comment.
How is it fair that someone who has a lot of money doesn’t have to serve the same time or pay as big of a portion of their net worth as we do? Why does being rich come with an exemption?
I’ve known guys who can’t get a job at a grocery store or rent an apartment because a decade ago they were arrested for a petty crime. It locks them into a cycle of poverty. Meanwhile, I have known wealthy men who have committed serious crimes that I see in the VIP section of nightclubs enjoying life because they were able to buy a settlement. How is any of this fair?
Furthermore, why are laws and rules different for those with power, political connections, and financial privilege?
Where do we draw the line on rules that apply to certain people and not others?