Mar 19 2009
People are getting rightfully fed up across this nation with the ineptitude of our so-called “national leaders”. They are sure leading the pack in incompetence category! The latest “its not me” round of denial about how 73 people walked away with million dollar plus bonuses culled from taxpayers pockets is aÂ nauseatingÂ spectacle. The claims of “we only just learned” are especially jarring.
The problem of limiting executive compensation raids on the bailout money has been around for many months. Obama and Geichner and many Democrats on the Hill have blathered about this since the bailouts first began. The fact is the government forced businesses to take on toxic loans with the implication they would be rescued. These business collapses are not just the fault of bad decisions in board rooms, but these bad decisions were launched, promoted and defended on Capitol Hill by social engineering liberal democrats for years.
The faux outrage at wasting $165 million dollars of our money and making a select few rich even richer is disgusting since EVERYONE knows Congress has been wasting our hard earned tax dollars for a decades in amounts the run into the billions every year. It’s about time we had the congress-critters in front of the American people getting a grilling. I still say we should fire the lot of them. These duds are not the best the country has to offer.
It has gotten to the point of no return. Either they didn’t know or didn’t care (most likely both). They have been rushing through so much legislation without any debate or review no one knows what is legal or illegal, in or out. The only ones who will get an economic stimulus out of this is the staffers who can now make tons of money explaining to corporations and law firms what they law actually is – for a hefty price of course.
Last night Senator Dodd admitted a bunch of things about the process in a clear effort to pull his bacon out of the fire. In the process he pointed a strong finger right at the White House. Dodd noted that he had strong restrictions on compensation in the Spendulus bill when it passed the Senate. When it went into conference committee to resolve with the House version (where no GOP members were allowed) the White House asked for the bonus restrictions to be pulled back. They feared losing taxpayer money to lawyers fending off law suits (who says we don’t need tort reform?).
Look, to DC $165 million is nothing. They think they are too busy to worry about that kind of round off error. This why DC wastes so much money – they can’t manage what they have! As the reality of the workings of the federal government and Congress starts to become clear, we are going to learn we could cut their budgets by 30% and they could perform their jobs – if they stopped wasting so much on the margins. In any project or service there is a sweat spot financing wise. Too much money and people waste it on the irrelevant. Too little they cannot get the job done right. DC has been so overly cautious and demands so much wasted paperwork and process and PR they are well into the bloated side of things.
Here is my prediction of the coming weeks – rising anger from everywhere outside the beltway of DC. We are all receiving the annual reports required for tax time. We have seen are housing assessments and all the wealth we have lost there. We are seeing the investment portfolios of once rock solid, gold standard stocks (our GE stock has lost over half its value). Many of us our now without work, all of us know someone in dire straights.Â
And here comes the Federal Taxman grabbing our money so it line the pockets of those with contacts in high places. Whether it is the $3 million dollar dog park, the $300k for auto flushing toilets, the $165 million for AIG bonuses or the $2 Trillion to battle CO2 (and do nothing for the global climate) it really doesn’t matter anymore. Â It is all waste, it is all coming out of our hides. We worked for it and we need it for our own needs.
And we need that money for our families. We need that money to make sure the kids get their college education. We need to make sure our kids get to stay in their rooms and not move. We need to get food on the table. We don’t have the money to spend on dealing with pooping puppies in Pasadena.
The country is going to blow its collective stack. Tax time is bad time in any year, but this year we can see the fruits of the idiots on Capitol Hill. Here are some democrat comments about the Obama administration on this matter which I think everyone can agree with:
“I’m sick and tired of hearing the administration and the Secretary of the Treasury say, ‘I just found out about it,’ ” Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski (D-Pa.) said yesterday
I’m outraged by this,” said Baucus in a statement. “At one point the Treasury was in a position to stop these bonuses. Those were the terms of TARP, terms that I helped draft.”
But talk of legislation only leads to more uncomfortable questions for Democrats.
Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., won passage of a provision earlier this year that they said would have prevented the type of payments now at the center of a storm.
It was dropped without explanation in the final compromise on the economic stimulus measure, replaced by a less restrictive set of conditions backed by Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and accepted by the White House.
“The president goes out and says this is not acceptable and then some backroom deal gets cut to let these things get paid out anyway,” said Wyden.
Where will this all lead? The best outcome is “fire the lot of them” grass roots brush fire that finally dumps the lot of them in DC and starts over. We see the beginnings of this potential in the growing tea party movement.Â
The Tea Party movement is a unifying, centrist driven reaction which could deflateÂ the toxic influences of the political fringes.Â But there is another path that is opening up which is not that promising – and it is a path where the fringes ignite a wave of out of control anger within their most zealot bases and we end up with a civil war between the two camps. This scenario was well described today by Walter Shapiro using historic references:
Comments like this underscore the historical reality that tough times can create irrational politics. Obama is obviously not graying or praying over the threat of a third-party challenge like the one that Long was preparing to mount against FDR in 1936. In fact, the real threat to the Obama administration may come from a corrosive anti-establishment rage that does not fit into any pre- existing political category.
The lasting psychological ramifications of the economic collapse cannot yet fully be understood because the loss of traditional financial cushions (retirement savings, the appreciated value of a home, the time-honored annual raise) is simply too raw and recent. Republican pollster David Winston, who has watched more than his share of focus groups from behind one-way glass walls, captures the way that the political world has tilted off its axis: “What you’re seeing in the public right now is not anger but terror. They don’t know who to believe. They just know it’s bad.” Winston adds, “The political system is still learning how to respond to an electorate that is terrified.”
But terror may be turning gradually into fury.
But the reality is that apolitical populism–a spasmodic outpouring of ideologically incoherent rage–could easily drown Obama’s inevitable request for more bank bailout funds. The White House, according to insiders, is very concerned that pitchfork-wielding voters are already raging against any future bailouts of the banking industry or even Detroit.Â
Shapiros solution (name the board members to deflect the anger) is naively childish, and shows how dangerous the situation is becoming. There have been irrational threats against the people and families of AIG, which isÂ abhorrentÂ behavior. Politicians will do anything to survive, and that includes the cowardly act of sending the lynch mobs to someone else’s house when they are as responsible (or more) than anyone else.
Obama never got it last year. He and the Dems promised to change America. It is not “America” outside the DC beltway that is, or was, the problem. We need to fix DC. We need to shrink its power base, cut off the lines of corruption, allow states to manage these vast programs where voters can react locally to ineptitude. We don’t need the Feds to handout welfare/unemployment checks or monitoring schools or taking over businesses. We have a bloated Federal government whose tinkering has left our economy in a shambles and wiped out over half our wealth.Â
We need to fix DC and fast, and we can to that by looking past our differences and joining in common cause (no purity tests). We must avoid the siren calls to battle from the zealots on the fringes who talk of overthrow and succession and squelching dissent. If people wonder how things could get worse, violent outbreaks between the fringes would make things a lot worse.
Update:Â Karl RoveÂ does a great job showing how vulnerable Obama is to being seen as nothing more than a two faced politician. All great points, but let me remind everyone of something I noted when the Spendulus bill passed. It contains endless examples of wasteful spending on congressional and liberal pet projects. It is so big you could highlight one wasteful project each day and not be done with all the bad ones before the end of the year. The GOP job is simple – highlight a project a day wasting money the taxpayers cannot afford to lose right now.Â – end update