Nancy Johnson

A kind of standard article, really, one we’ve seen a hundred times, a thousand times, before. A white-collar worker has enough responsibility in their job that they have business credit cards and wise latitude on how to use them. And use them they do–perhaps spas, perhaps pornography, perhaps luxury home furnishings. And they always–almost always–get caught.

A 57 year-old women, by all means old enough to know better, was the latest in this all-too-predictable tale. Nancy Johnson was a “senior official” with the UAW presence at Chrysler, and was spending money intended for worker training on luxury items for herself.

Yawn. We’ve seen this movie so many times before.

“The government said Johnson spent thousands of dollars meant for autoworker training on personal items, including first-class airline tickets, expensive luggage, $1,160 Christian Louboutin shoes, $4,587 at LG’s Prime Steak House and $6,900 at Renaissance Resort & Spa.”

Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, July 23, 2018

But here’s the mystery angle: Why? Why, when anyone with enough sense to have a responsible job knows that purchases leave an audit trail?

Why would anyone throw away their career on some temporary luxuries, that you’ll surely have to pay back anyway? How can you enjoy soaking in a spa, when: a) your comforts are stolen from someone else, and b) someone sooner or later will notice?

You might even be surprised in the hot tub by federal agents, flashing their badges and starting to ask questions before you can even dry off.

So what’s the psychology of such self-defeating, stupid, losing behavior? Shooting yourself in the foot to get high on legal pain killers makes about as much sense. So why, why do intelligent people do such stupid things.?