Posted by Gary Fouse
Congress in session
Several years ago, I had an acquaintance who worked on the staff of Iowa Senator Charles Grassley back when he was serving his 43rd term in Congress. My friend used to do Grassley imitations which clearly made the point that the senator was a demanding loudmouth jerk. That all came back to me this morning in hearing about Grassley's latest ridiculous statement in Iowa City yesterday (wherever that is). Grassley, in reacting to the news that AIG had given 165 million dollars in bonuses to their executives-after receiving millions in government bailouts- stated that the Japanese would do the honorable thing and resign or commit suicide. Genius Grassley even added something about resigning after committing suicide. My question is this: How come none of the real architects of this mess (our political leaders) resign?
Let's take President Obama for example. Yesterday, he was telling a crowd how mad he was about the AIG bonuses. He then added that his trusty Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner, was "on the job" trying to get the money back (probably going through the Turbo-Tax directions). Then he took care to add that current (and just installed) AIG President Edward Liddy had taken over after the bonuses had already been agreed to. Don't blame him, folks(must be a friendly Democrat).
As a matter of fact, AIG had reported to Congress a year ago that they had made contractual obligations to pay these bonuses-which just came due. In other words, our "outraged" leaders in Washington had known all along about these bonuses-even as they were handing out the money.
But here comes the real lollapaloosa. Senator Chris Dodd, who always seems to have a hand in these money deals, inserted language into the big Stimulus Package to the effect that contractual obligations made before February 11, 2009 would not be tinkered with. That includes the AIG bonus deal. Yet, Dodd is now speculating with reporters about finding a way to get that money back-possibly by placing huge taxes on the bonuses.
How disingenuous is that?
None of this is meant to excuse misbehavior on Wall Street. But it is highly ironic that the same people in Congress (like Barney Frank) who orchestrated poor financial practices with their Community Reinvestment Program are now screaming the loudest.
Maybe the honorable thing to do would be for our entire Congress to resign
......but please don't commit suicide.