Culture & Criticism Since 2003
Guys as successful as Joseph Cotchett rarely rock the boat. Rather, they choose to sit silent, rest on their laurels, and retire to the proverbial ‘life of Riley.’ But that’s hardly Cotchett’s way. Regarded as one of the most powerful and influential attorneys in the United States, Cotchett doesn’t subscribe to the easy or quiet way.
Instead, he’s chosen to spend his life in the trenches representing the causes of the disenfranchised and the impoverished, using the courtroom to protect the rights and interests of the blue collar workers who literally built this country one town at a time. In his most recent book, The People vs Greed, Cotchett steps out of the legal arena as an author to examine the pestilence that’s threatening to devour America whole in one bite.
And this disease is called greed. And the pathogens multiplying by the dozens are none other than those wild-eyed Wall Street fat cats buying and selling our interests like apples in an orchard. In the vein of Martin Scorsese’s brilliant 2013 film “The Wolf of Wall Street,” Crotchett’s treatise peels bare the faces of the hucksters who’ve taken over our daily lives.
But why do it? Some may ask. Cotchett’s mission here is simply to educate his audience: Perhaps if enough of us can arm ourselves with the knowledge of what they’re doing and how they’re doing it, we can begin to instigate a change and reverse the perilous course on which we have embarked.
The People vs Greed covers broad territory. Some of the chapter headings jump out like HBO documentaries – “Lawyers And The Rich Man’s Justice;” “Big Oil Is King;” “The Big Pill: A Drugged Nation;” “The Public’s Money.” And while each of these passages contain indispensable information and keen insights, two chapters jump out.
In “Health Care Fraud: Betrayal In A White Lab Coat,” Cotchett dissects the single most virulent cancer that destroying this country. The 21st-century could be called the era of “Doctors Gone Wild” as the collective citizenry is assaulted daily with advertisements warning them to test every part of their bodies and seek out every type of chemical cure that’s been marketed. People don’t live anymore, instead, they serve as perpetual patients. The theme at the dinner table these days is usually centered around medical insurance plans and premiums or the ever-ominous ‘next-scheduled colonoscopy.’ And Cotchett writes:
Officials in charge of our health care system too often look the other way as fraud and corruption plunge Americans into a medical nightmare from which we may never awaken. Unscrupulous medical professionals often have friends in high places. The health care industry is the top lobbying interest on Capitol Hill, paying more than three times the amount spent by defense lobbyists last year. In 2015, health care lobbyists delivered $495 million to support political campaigns, sway congressional opinion, and transform their interests into industry-friendly bills…We don’t have a patient-centered health care system in America anymore. We have a health care industry (At page 9).
The other must-read chapter here is called “Your Privacy For Sale.” Anyone who uses a computer, owns a smart phone or buys things online needs to enter Cotchett’s discussion on the topic, since you’ve waived your right to privacy by using these things. And Cotchett writes:
It started out as a convenient service and we didn’t realize what was really happening…Every day we go online and generate mountains of data that is correlated and triangulated to create a dossier of untold value that reveals who we are, how we feel, what we want, and even, to a degree, what we think (At page 226).
The People vs Greed is an absolute pleasure to read: Cotchett writes in an effortless and accessible way that immediately puts the reader at one with the material being presented – quite the refreshing revelation since most lawyers find it impossible to separate their courtroom and pleadings “voice” from their everyday, conversational tone.
However, The People vs Greed is meant to be much more than an entertaining evening with a good book. Instead, every American who cares about the world they’re leaving behind for their grand kids needs to ferret out a copy of Cotchett’s treatise and spend some time with it. Literally, your future is at stake.