Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Washington's "Outrage" Over AIG

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.


  1. Congress is an enabler, much like someone who knows their 950-pound spouse lying in bed unable to move should not eat 10,000+ calories at a sitting - yet never failing to bring the next calorie-laden meal to the bedroom: It would be "torture" not to give their loved one what they want, and they get some morbid personal satisfaction out of knowing they have kept that dying-by-the-day spouse happy - and silent - for the time being.

    Congress opened the floodgates to accrual of obscene wealth, opposed any and all actions to curb the blatantly obvious bloating of the "system," and benefited personally from "feeding" the "starving" beast. This "crisis" has been decades in the making, but they will never accept responsibility for the effects their actions are having, instead laying ALL at the feet of free markets and, more specifically, Bush. They refuse to acknowledge the fact that FREE markets can and do operate satisfactorily but ONLY when not tampered with.

    Policy meddling is what causes catastrophic ups and downs - tidal waves rather than ripples - as the markets strain to self-correct (as is their nature) for that meddling influence. Instead of leaving it alone to get back to efficiency, a campaign of dissemination of dummification ensues, laying blame in all the wrong places, stirring class warfare, and doing everything possible to hide the truth about the nature of the beast and how it became so bloated.

  2. I agree Angie. Both in Washington and Sacramento (I am in Ca), it is clear our government is simply screwing things up big time. We would almost be better without a govt.

  3. We would DEFINITELY be better off without one here in Michigan. Just think of all the stupidity that has emanated out of this state the past few years.

    I'm just waiting for the US to "amputate" us for political and financial reasons...

    I'm just sitting back and smirking about all the foolhardiness that has leaked out of the liberal DC and stupidity bestowed upon the general population. Talk about a misinformation campaign.