January 31, 2009
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- One day after President Obama ripped Wall Street executives for their "shameful" decision to hand out $18 billion in bonuses in 2008, Congress may finally have had enough.Before I start my own tirade let's consider some relevant remarks from someone who seems to have shared my opinion of Congress.
An angry U.S. senator introduced legislation Friday to cap compensation for employees of any company that accepts federal bailout money.
Under the terms of a bill introduced by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, no employee would be allowed to make more than the president of the United States.
Obama's current annual salary is $400,000."We have a bunch of idiots on Wall Street that are kicking sand in the face of the American taxpayer," an enraged McCaskill said on the floor of the Senate. "They don't get it. These people are idiots. You can't use taxpayer money to pay out $18 billion in bonuses."
Fleas can be taught nearly anything that a Congressman can.With regard to those companies who have received Federal bailout money, I actually agree with the outrage expressed here. But leave it to Congress to write a $700 BILLION check and not apply any stipulations on how it would be used.
- What Is Man?
Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.
- Mark Twain, a Biography
Congressman is the trivialist distinction for a full grown man.
- Notebook #14, 11/1877 - 7/1878
All Congresses and Parliaments have a kindly feeling for idiots, and a compassion for them, on account of personal experience and heredity.
- Mark Twain's Autobiography; also in Mark Twain in Eruption
It's like the time my sister complained to me about not having enough money to pay her rent and bills and so I gave her $100, which was a lot for my budget at the time, and I later found out that she was saving for an all-inclusive vacation in the Bahamas for two. It was dishonest of her, but I gave her the money without reservation for her to use in the way that she saw best and so I let it go. But the next time she tried that ploy, I turned a deaf ear to her.
But the larger portion of my outrage is reserved for those idiots in Congress who approved this bailout. Mrs. McCaskill's charge that the people on Wall St. are idiots is outrageously ironic given her and her colleague's tyrannical disregard for American's rights and irresponsible exercise of government power.
If she's right and these people are idiots, then that is all the more reason they deserve to fail. I never thought I'd need to ask how big an idiot one has to be in order to be considered too big an idiot to fail, but Congress went ahead and answered that question for us, quite without our consent or permission.
I don't believe the people on Wall St. are idiots. They might make bad business decisions from time to time, but that's exactly why they should be allowed to suffer the consequences of those decisions.
So, if the people on Wall St. are idiots, what does that make those members of Congress who voted to pay them for their idiocy?
On what basis? How do you know that those bonuses weren't well-earned?
Posted by: Inspector at February 11, 2009 07:20 PM (fdujd)
There are some mitigating possibilities, of course:
1) The businesses had poorly aligned incentive plans and the individuals, though working to the ruin of the business did have a proper agreement with management for which they should have been paid. (Even this fact, would be leave me gobsmacked even without the bailout.) However, had the business been allowed to run its natural course, they wouldn't have been paid because the business would no longer exist.
2) The management of these companies could have been coerced into accepting the stolen money. I have heard some mutterings to the effect that certain agents of our government did as much to some of these businesses, but I do remember that the major players actually begged for the bail out.
But given the context here, I don't see much reason to grant the benefit of the doubt here and it should be noted that I would likely reserve my judgment of particular individuals until I know their view of the bailout and the role they played in accepting it for their business.
Nevertheless, it's outrageous that these failed businesses would pay out bonuses given their situations.
Posted by: Flibbert at February 11, 2009 08:04 PM (Cniw0)
But in addition, how do we know that these executives didn't do a good job? Maybe these businesses would have failed much more badly if not for the efforts of those getting the bonuses.
Maybe, maybe not - there seems to be a knee-jerk reaction out there that because these are "executives," that it's impossible they might have earned the bonuses. But the fact is that we simply don't know.
Yet people feel free to criticize decisions like this because now these companies are getting bailout money. It shouldn't be any of our business what executives get paid. But now it is. This is just disgusting all over the place in every direction!
Posted by: Inspector at February 14, 2009 12:45 AM (DeGqZ)
As outrageous as it is that these failing businesses are paying out bonuses -- accepting all the assumptions required to come to that conclusion (and I really don't think it's a huge leap there) -- it is far MORE outrageous that there's a bailout at all.
Posted by: Flibbert at February 14, 2009 12:04 PM (Cniw0)
Posted by: Inspector at February 14, 2009 10:55 PM (cwTJI)
It's difficult not to feel contempt for them all. But I do reserve the majority of that contempt for Congress.
Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at February 15, 2009 12:50 AM (Cniw0)
Most people won't recognize that this is a special circumstance due to government interference. They'll just know that it's acceptable behavior to be a backseat-driver for wall street companies. Marxist agitprop bilge type comments about "those lousy CEO's and their bonuses" has become mainstream and I don't think this was unintentional.
As much as there is a legitimate element of criticism present, I believe that this is only because they have manipulated things specifically to that end. I can't shake the feeling that to join them in this type of criticism is playing directly into their hands.
What was that cover of Newsweek? "We are all socialists now?"
Posted by: Inspector at February 15, 2009 07:27 PM (muI4w)
Speaking of that Newsweek article, check out this article which discusses how it's wrong. Apparently, we're fascists.
Posted by: Flibbert at February 15, 2009 08:09 PM (Cniw0)
Posted by: Inspector at February 15, 2009 09:30 PM (ztsup)
Powered by Minx 1.1.4-pink.