It’s an anniversary or sorts. I have been blogging since June of 2006 when I made the move from news to sports. I started not knowing if anyone would ever read these thoughts. Now, sometimes 500 – 1000 people read my entries every day … and I appreciate it.
This is my 500th blog posting.
This milestone posting is about something I have railed against since I started blogging: the dog and pony show put on my government in the form of congressional hearings.
The latest to come up to Capitol Hill for a tongue lashing was the President of AIG. That’s the financial and insurance company deemed “too big to fail” by the White House and received billions in bailout money to stay afloat. That was already hard enough for John Q. Taxpayer to swallow. Then came word that AIG, which would have failed without taxpayer money, paid out $165 million in bonuses to its executives.
Before I go any further, let me say that it really upsets me that a company so badly mismanaged but so powerful that we have to bail them out with our money would turn around and pay bonuses to the same folks who nearly caused the company to collapse.
That being said, I don’t blame AIG for this mess. I blame the White House and Congress who put no stipulations on the use of the money and didn’t bother to find out what obligations AIG had before giving them the money. Then, once the bonuses were announced, Congress and the President declared it an “outrage” … and threatened everything from taxing the bonuses down to nothing to legal action.
As expected, they hauled the president of AIG into hearings where each lawmaker essentially scolded the man and expressed rage “on behalf” of the taxpayers of this country. This would have been laughable if it wasn’t so serious.
If you are going to give someone billions as a lifeline, then at least ask how its going to be used. AIG had contractual obligations to pay bonuses just like they were contractually obligated to pay all their debtors. They owed money and pending bills don’t go through a moral litmus test to decide whether they should be paid or not.
Congress looks stupid with these televised hearings in which they take their shots and their best one-liners which will later appear either on TV newscasts or in commercials. Frankly, I found today’s hearings as useless as those which brought baseball players to Congress to discuss steroids. ( Oh, by the way, has anything changed since those hearings? ).
Look, this whole thing is an absolute mess … but the blame needs to go to Congress and the President which faild to perform due diligence with MY MONEY. What’s the old saying? A fool and his money are soon parted. In the words of Michael Douglas in Wall Street, a fool and his money are lucky to get together in the first place.