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Crime Stoppers!/Pay Equity

Ralph talks true crime (the corporate variety) and how to stop it with Professor John C. Coffee, author of “Corporate Crime and Punishment: The Crisis of Underenforcement.” Then SF Supervisor, Matt Haney, joins us to talk about the groundbreaking initiative passed in the City by the Bay that will levy a tax on companies that pay their execs more than 100x the median pay of their workers.

Professor John C. Coffee teaches law at Columbia University Law School, where he is the director of the Center on Corporate Governance. Mr. Coffee is a leading authority on corporate governance, white collar crime, and class actions, and has written a number of books on those subjects, including Corporate Crime and Punishment: The Crisis of Underenforcement.

“Even if we imposed huge fines on the corporation… it does very little to large shareholders. Who owns large banks? Basically, diversified institutional investors… pension funds and mutual funds. They don’t have more than one percent of their assets invested in any one large corporation. And so, they, being diversified, don’t feel the pain very harsh[ly], and it doesn’t have much of a deterrent impact… The stock market price goes up even when record penalties are imposed, because the stock market is looking at the fact that this criminal episode is now over, and they can get back to business as usual.”

Professor John C. Coffee, author of Corporate Crime and Punishment: The Crisis of Underenforcement

“[The recent Boeing 737 Max decision] is symptomatic of what is a national failure in the prosecution of large organizational crime. Small organizations can get caught… but the larger ones are really beyond the government’s bandwidth.”

Professor John C. Coffee, author of Corporate Crime and Punishment: The Crisis of Underenforcement

Supervisor Matt Haney is a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, where he represents the city’s sixth district, including Civic Center, SOMA, and the Tenderloin. He is the Co-Founder (along with with Van Jones and Jessica Jackson) of #cut50, a national organization with the goal to end mass incarceration with smarter solutions to keep communities safe. Supervisor Haney also regularly represents tenants as an eviction defense attorney.

“We, here in San Francisco, truly have a tale of two cities in terms of inequality and [“The Overpaid Executive Tax”] is one of, I think, many solutions that we need. And to make sure that folks are paying their fair share and that we directly address the inequities even within companies, where folks are making tens of millions of dollars and underpaying their workers.”

Supervisor Matt Haney, representative of District 6 on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors

“Right now, of course, there’s an anti-tax rhetoric that businesses are struggling. Well, the reality is that small businesses are struggling, but big businesses are doing better than ever. Especially these businesses that have had their top-paid individuals… [become] more billionaired than they have ever been. So, we shouldn’t be… speaking from a place of scarcity. We are massively wealthy here in California and San Francisco.”

Supervisor Matt Haney, representative of District 6 on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors

“Now [impeachment] goes to the Senate, and Senator McConnell’s got a very important decision to make. Does he stick with Trump? Or does he say that Trump is the past, and the future of the Republican party includes standing tall and having the trial in the Senate and letting Republicans- especially those up for reelection in 2022- vote their conscience?… We’ll see how it runs out, but I think strategically for… the G.O.P., it would be much better to let the impeachment process take its course, let the Republicans in the Senate vote their conscience to reach a two-thirds total, and make sure that Trump never runs again for federal office.”
Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 358 Transcript (Right click to download)


  1. NooN says:

    The SAME DAY last week,
    She. u said BOEING 737 MAX
    Last Week Friday B0EING 737 MAx
    Crashed 3x !!+1; 300 dead

  2. Gabe says:

    Thank you all for another excellent broadcast. Ralph Nader is at his best when talking law and corporate crime!! The bloated and vast networks of government and big business is so opaque that finding credible information about these inscrutable entities is challenging at best. It is disheartening that the mainstream media does so little if any reporting on any of this. And a ray of sunshine to hear people who are actively thinking about and acting to reform the system. This is nutritious food for thought for those contemplating the creation a more accountable, just, and equitable society.

  3. Jon Ralston says:

    In regards to the discussion with Supervisor Haney and the discussion a couple of weeks ago with Jason Kafoury is there a centralized place where these progressive municipal initiatives and policies are collected to be disseminated? The conservatives have ALEC, is there a left equivalent to help people organize and put forward progressive policies and initiatives? Thank you!

  4. cynthia dean says:

    Hello Off-topic/noneed to publish but fyi: are you familiar w/ Unrig: how to fix our broken democracy by daniel g. newman ? First in a series of self-described “new line of civics graphic novels to inform, uplift, and empower.” Uncertain why they’re calling it a novel, as it’s more a why-you-should how- to, but it’s smart, well done. (I have no affiliation w/ anyone associated— just saw it & thought of you.)