How do you get 12, 15 or upward of 20 percent return on the bottom line? You do it by recklessly cutting training, safety, maintenance and/or employee benefits. Why does this happen? Well, the responsibility falls on everyone who holds a pension, 401(k), mutual fund or certificate of deposit — average Americans. We want, no, expect, those types of returns but then are great at blaming Wall Street for the economical decline of American companies. I refer to this as the professional CEO syndrome.

Years ago, management of companies came from within the company from long-term employees. These individuals had a vested interest in the company, the product and their fellow employees they had worked with for years. Along came the professional CEO, who had no interest other than to make the bottom line look good by whatever means for long enough to collect the golden parachute, pad his résumé and move on, leaving behind the shambles of a good company.

Unfortunately, this is rampant across all manner of corporation in this country from retail to industrial complexes to manufacturing facilities. The professional CEO came into being because you, me and every other investor want more, and now average America wants to blame the “1 percenters.”

The majority of all stocks and bonds are held by average Americans through their retirement pension fund or 401(k) or indirectly through their banking facility savings. It isn’t Wall Street or the professional CEO. They are opportunists responding to what average America asked for, got and is unwilling to accept responsibility for. The carnage created when companies are destroyed for short-term gains so you can get that wonderful return on investment is the greed of average America.

This is not a Republican problem, not a Democrat problem; it is an American problem.

Paul Kearney