Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Losing focus--this isn't about AIG

I'm tired of the media focus on AIG executive bonuses. I don't have all the details in front of me, but want to get this out, so if you don't believe what I have to say, google the information and I'm sure you can verify.

AIG has been given, and largely wasted $163 billion in government assistance. Why do we care about $165 million in bonuses? Isn't Barney Frank the same person who declared billions of dollars in pork spending via earmarks irrelevant and something Americans don't care about while passing the swindleus bill?

We shouldn't be angry with AIG executives. Truth be told, I'd rather they have the $150 million than Barney Frank. I think they'll make better use of it.

This is Congress' fault, from beginning to end. There was a flap over executive pay in the 1990's. The result was that instead of straight pay, AIG executives are mostly paid in bonuses so that they can claim small salaries (evidently much lower than those at comparable organizations).

The mortgage situation was caused by Congress forcing looser lending rules. The current economy may be laid squarely at their feet.

With regard to AIG bonuses, Congress specifically authorized contractual bonuses for AIG executives if the contracts existed prior to February 2009 in the Swindleus bill. Thus, Congress is responsible for and was aware of the bonuses!

In the past few years, Congress has become very good at pointing to Presiden Bush and screaming, "It's his fault!" to cover their incompetence, waste and fraud. While Pres. Obama still talks about his "inherited situation" (tangent for Mr. Obama: you campaigned for it, you knew what you were getting into, stop whining--you said you could fix it, so get it done) Congress is stuck looking for new scapegoats so no one will examine their behavior.

Don't let them distract you with AIG executives getting a pittance of the money, your money, which Congress has wasted. Don't forget when election time comes for them. Oust them in favor of people who will actually represent you instead of bending you over the pork barrel.

Post Script: I have to laugh. After all the AIG nonsense and promised action by congress, Fannie Mae, a government-run organization, is reportedly about to pay out massive bonuses. Barney Frank, after an indignant act over AIG, has been in charge of overseeing Fannie Mae for years.


Big Jay said...

Here's a problem I've been struggling with for a long time now - related to this post.

How do you build a political constituency, and actually get somebody elected who promises to shrink government? Then IF you can actually do that (good luck) how do you hold that person accountable?

Big Jay said...

People who want to shrink government inherently don't want to really be involved in the political process. How do you mobilize?

Andrew said...

Actually, Jay, I'd give it a go. Being elected to a Constitutional office is something somebody has to do for the country to run. I could square that with my desires for small government.

The problem is that most people who engage in politics love power. While power itself doesn't corrupt, love of power certainly does.

If I had any idea how to get into the political process without selling my soul to it, I'd try it.