The news media, the White House and especially Congress have been keen to whip up public outrage over the millions of dollars in bonuses recently paid out to company executives by AIG, a company of which the United States Government holds 79.9% equity. The bonus money, which came from taxpayer-furnished bailout funds, has become the focus of ire and the symbol of Wall Street greed and incompetence. We’re all angry about it. But before you let the government play you for a fool, let’s be sure we’re upset for the right reasons, as our friend
the littlecog points out.

First of all, don’t believe that Congress and the White House were caught by surprise by these bonuses. They knew they were coming and when they were coming. Bloomberg news reported on them in detail back in January (see
here). Furthermore, members of Congress voted to add the “Dodd Amendment” to the AIG bailout legislation that provided an “exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009.” They let this happen. Members of Congress and the administration are lying, play-acting and disingenuously trying to get you so upset at AIG that you forget or ignore all of these undisputed facts, not to mention the trillions of dollars that they shoveled into AIG and others to make these bonus payouts possible.

Our anger at AIG also serves another purpose, and that is to provide fuel to the fire of the anti-capitalist agenda being driven by the sitting government. The more we ignore government malfeasance while we rage and decry AIG and demand punishment, regulation and, most importantly of course, our money back, the more we pave the way for further fascistic government intrusion into the market on a long-term basis.

At the very least, our anger will ensure the perpetual failure of the very businesses our tax dollars now go to subsidize. The government will use our raw emotion to place even further restrictions on AIG and other bailout recipients that will render them unable to entice the talent required to turn the companies around. Then they’ll apologetically crawl back before Congress and, like Oliver Twist, ask for more.

My rage is focused on our elected officials in Washington, who self-righteously feign shock and disgust and posture themselves as the vigilant stewards of our tax dollars, when in fact they deserve just as much of our contempt (if not more) as does AIG. They are lying. They know they are lying. They hope to make us dance to their music and insulate themselves from any accountability whatsoever. Just yesterday I listened to Barney Frank on NPR spluttering and lisping through a fire and brimstone sermon aimed at AIG and expressing his outrage and shock over the bonuses. Chuck Grassley of Iowa famously declared that the executives should apologize to the American people and then either resign, kill themselves, or both. What audacity.

Don't be made a fool. Don't tolerate this behavior out of your government.


Maccrock said...

So we are saying that the government knew about the gross mismanagement of the funds before they even gave them to AIG and others like them. These (AIG and the like) being the same people who hold the majority of the responsibility for the reckless crash of our economy, and the place where our dolor sits now. And the government, knowing before hand where the supposed "bail-out" money would go, gives it to them any way, with a wink and a nod.
So there for, tell me if I'm wrong, but the bail out, which sent us even further in the hole, was never meant to actually reach the people who needed it, who really needed to be bailed out, instead it was actually and purposefully meant to go to scratch the backs of those who supposedly "fucked things up"? You don't give a biscuit to a bad dog. That’s like putting someone in charge of your little daughter, and then they kill her, and you in turn give them a big tip for it. That means that you actually wanted her dead, and you actually just paid them to kill her. There isn't any accidental oversight here, this is the definition of conspiracy and that is not jumping to a conclusion, that is, at best, a lackadaisical jaunty. The positions of our leadership, which should be the ultimate servants of the people, have become corrupted to the point that no one is actually working for the betterment of this country men, just his own. This is an incredibly dangerous situation. Now couple that with the question "Why would anyone want it to happen?" If you are paying the men for a good job done, then what could be the reason that you wanted the job done to begin with?

And the people who know are just going to sit back and allow it to happen, aren't they?

It makes me ashamed to call myself and an American along side them.

Anonymous said...

I find the irony of Frank calling out AIG, when he pushed the whole Fannie/Freddie mess. Where's his outrage at the politicians who pushed to loan money to people with weak credit histories or no- or low-income? Where's his outrage about the bonuses over at Fannie/Freddie?

He's just a hack more interested in his own goals, than that of the country. And DON'T EVER question him on HIS complicity, as we've seen occaisionally. He won't have it. Waste of skin and air.

Heathen said...

Loudelf, can you do me a favor and source some stuff suggesting that the CRA (of which you refer) forces/leans on banks to give credit to people with No-Income/Low-income? I've heard a lot about it but from what I've seen it seems most of the CRA loans aren't the types of loans that got us into this mess but the lack of Federal regulation in the banking industry is instead.