The fact that this happend all the time is proof that the fines are too low to matter. Sure 553 million is a lot of money, but not if they made 10 billion in additional profit by breaking the law. Record profits mean huge bonuses for the management team, especially when there are record profits after the fines. Fines need to be a percentage of revenue based at least twice the effect of the illegal activity.
As far as taxes go, I am completely amazed that there are so many people out there screaming for more corporate taxes or more taxes on anything. There are two facts that people need to remember.
1. Every tax is a tax on the consumer, tax any product or service and the consumer pays not only the tax but also the disproportionatly high cost of recordkeeping and reporting, which for most corporations is several times the cost of the tax. It all gets passed along to the consumer, all of it. Politicians push this scheme of taxing corporations and making them out to be "evil greedy corporations" as a way to make people thing they are paying less of the total, but they end up paying more. Corporations just raise the prices to compensate, but they don't like it because the laws are so poorly written that it is impossible to know if they are paying enough and if they don't make enough ploitical contributions they risk some federal agency comming in to "Investigate" costing them millions if not billions and several years.
- It doens't matter how much money you give a politician, thy will ALWAYS spend more than they have. ALWAYS! This is why the world is having so many problems right now. Even durring the best ecconomy in history almost every country was spending far more than they were bringing in. Mostly for additional social programs to keep getting re-elected. Any government ruled by professional politicians is doomed to fail.