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The 10 Greediest People of 2008

For obvious reasons, we probably couldn't have picked a better year than 2008 to "honor" our most avaricious.

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Two days into December, Republic gave workers the bad news. The plant would shut down three days later. The workers would lose their earned vacation time and their health insurance -- and not see any of the severance legally due them.

Just another typical assault on workers with a precarious foothold in the middle class. Or so things seemed. But the workers then did something extraordinary. Reviving memories of the Great Depression-era "sit-down" strikes, they occupied the plant -- and captured America's imagination.

The sit-down forced Gilman and his money pot, the Bank of America, to the bargaining table where a settlement soon took shape. But Gilman suddenly threw a monkey-wrench into the works -- and gained a slot for himself in this year's top ten greediest.

Gilman demanded that "any new bank loan to help the employees also cover" the lease of his Mercedes and BMW and eight weeks of his $225,000 salary.

The workers would have none of that. Gilman would drop his demand. The bank funding would come through. The workers had won. Greed had lost.

That hasn't much over the last three decades. Maybe the greedy have finally gone too far. We may have reached the end of an era. America's generation-long Great Greed Grab may soon be no more.

Sam Pizzigati is the editor of the online weekly Too Much, and an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies.

 
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