“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into”

Jonathan Swift
"The Democrats have moved to the right, and the right has moved into a mental hospital." - Bill Maher
"The city is crowded my friends are away and I'm on my own
It's too hot to handle so I gotta get up and go

It's a cruel ... cruel summer"

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Three Right Wing Overlords ride to the defense of AIG bonuses

I imagine some of you noticed the three columns in todays AGN regarding the AIG bailout.

The anonymous Globe News column [states...

"U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Clarendon - along with Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Lubbock - blamed the Democratic House leadership for ramming a huge spending bill through Congress that no one read, but which contained loopholes that enabled AIG to provide $165 million in bonuses to top executives. "

I'm not sure which bill Thornberry is referring too. He voted for TARP 1, but I suppose didn't have time to read it.

In truth the AIG bonus contracts were signed before either of the huge bailout bills, so I'm not sure which loopholes he's referring to. Maybe he's saying there should have been provisions in the bailouts to prevent bonuses. It is unclear from the statement in the Globe News column.

The second column by Washington Post Nazi Charles Krauthammer states...

"That's $165 million in bonus money handed out to AIG debt manipulators who may be the only ones who know how to defuse the bomb they themselves built. "

I think it's interesting that Krauthammer defends the AIG bonuses from three standpoints. First, he says the bonuses are owed contractually. Second that these very same men are the only ones capable of understanding the labyrinthine investment properties they created, so their presence is essential for the repair of said investments. Thirdly he says the bonuses are but a drop in the bucket when compared to the stupendous amounts of cash associated with the bailout and AIG.

While I don't disagree with him I can't help but feel the executives at AIG are getting off with a purely criminal act. Yes their bonuses are owed by contract, but those contracts almost seem like the premeditated planning a thief makes before he breaks into a home. Don't forget that the AIG executives work with one another, they are associates, and in this case, thick as thieves. The complex planning of the investment properties as an excuse for a bonus seems a bit like paying the thief to tell you how he managed to pull of a great heist or perhaps like giving a criminal a great book deal to tell how he did it. As for Krauthammer's third arguement. Well maybe 165 million isn't a great deal when you're dealing with trillions of dollars. But which of us writing here really feels that such lofty bonuses are truly justified. What man, imperfect as we all are, is really due such largesse. Is it fair to ask the rank and file employees to take a pay cut while these sorts of bonus figures float around for an elite few. Krauthammer chooses to stand up for the bonuses but he is wrong to do so. Since I own part of AIG now I say let's teach these guys a lesson.

The last column, written by Michelle Malkin, can only be described as idiotic. Firstly her column has nothing to do with the AIG bonus mess. Instead Malkin, the dark haired equivalent of Ann Coulter, uses the AIG bonus scandal as an excuse to rant, in vague terms, about Democratic spending. Her column, as always, skirts around real issues and cherry picks facts not to help clarify the situation as a responsible columnist does, but rather in an irresponsible manner, offering purely ad hominem arguements designed to inflame the sensibilities of the already enraged and thoroughly buffaloed Republican base.

Thanks Michelle you've served up another lightweight piece that is meant not to inform or educate but rather to get people pissed off. Why don't you try getting pissed off at the people who really did something wrong -- the assholes at AIG -- who drove the company into the ground and are now getting paid because no one but them can understand the mess they made.

So in the end, after reading the editorial section of AGN, I'm certain that many Amarillo locals are convinced that the AIG mess should be allowed to lapse quietly away, bonuses paid, taxpayer money gone. Good job Les, Charles, and Michelle, you've boned your team in the bum again and made them love it.