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Keller @ Large: What Were Toyota, GM Thinking?

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(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

420x316-grad-keller2 Jon Keller
Veteran Boston political commentator Jon Keller is heard every weekday...
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BOSTON (CBS) – No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes.

And the right thing to do when we make serious mistakes that put others at risk is to own up to the problem, apologize for it, try to fix it and compensate those harmed, and see that it never happens again.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

If all of that seems self-evident to you, join the club of normal, decent people who wouldn’t think of doing anything from the moment they learned of such a problem but trying to rectify it.

However, this is a club that apparently doesn’t include some of the most powerful, important people in the world, people of vast wealth and influence for whom it should be easy to be morally correct, but are in fact too often incapable of it.

The latest examples of this come from the Toyota Motor Corporation, which will fork over a record $1.2 billion to settle a criminal probe into safety issues they covered up for years, and from General Motors, under investigation for failing to recall vehicles they allegedly knew were dangerously faulty for 13 years after first realizing the problem.

(Photo credit STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

Try as I might, I can’t imagine what these executives were thinking.

Yes, it would have been costly and embarrassing to admit and deal with the problems when they became apparent. But the cover-ups have proven far more damaging to the companies in every way, above and beyond the human carnage they caused.

Maybe it has to do with one of the nastier side-effects of wealth and power, the notion that you can buy your way out of any sort of accountability.

Maybe that kind of clout lets you sleep at night knowing that you’re acting in a grossly amoral way.

I don’t get it, but I do abhor it.

And I think there’s a special place down below reserved for those who roll that way when they reach the end of the road.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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