AIG, the insurance giant deemed by Congress and the Treasury as being 'too big to be allowed to fail', has announced that it will paying bonuses (BIG bonuses) to top corporate executives. While this kind of, sort of, ticks me off, I'm not really upset with AIG.
Why? Well, because AIG's Executives are looking to make as much money as they can prior to their insurance 'ship' going down.
Can you blame a starving dog for eating out of a garbage can? No, you can't. Trash-eating is simply 'instinct' kicking in. Starving dogs and AIG Executives differ only in one regard: I WOULD let a starving dog into my home. (Please feel free to exchange the phrase 'AIG Executives' with the phrase 'Member of Congress' at your leisure. Both, as you will see, are inter-changeable throughout the remainder of this post.)
Bad Joke ALERT... (In 3, 2, 1)
Q.: What's the difference between a dog lying across a road and an AIG Executive (Member of Congress) lying across the road?
A.: Skid marks on the pavement leading up to the dog.
So Congress, who put NO conditions on the money (OUR Money) provided to AIG is now... "Outraged".
"Well isn't THAT special?"
The men and women who told us that we'd better get the original TARP bail-out going NOW 'before it's too late' are wondering why someone would take a blank check from the government and spend it any way they darn well please. For the answer, to THIS particular question, all our Congressional leadership has to do is look into the mirror.
The Omnibus bill signed into law by President Obama last week had over 9,000 'earmarks' in it (think of these 'earmarks' as 'mini-TARPs' for the legislative districts benefitting from them). There is no oversight here either, it's "Doing whatever you darn well please with whatever money you can get your hands on." So WHY is Congress upset with AIG? (Perhaps, because Congressional earmarks weren't large enough, compared to the funding going un-restricted to AIG by the folks in the 'Temple of Pure Thought' (Congress)?)
I'm not upset with AIG -- THEY, at least, are a known quantity. They RAN the company into the ground prior to Federal Funding being allocated to them via the TARP. Why would anyone think that the people capable of this fiduciary malpractice would be able to manage the company better just because they received a bunch ($170 Billion) of money from us, the US Taxpayers? It's a variation of the old, "Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll eat for the rest of his life." Problem is, AIG never LEARNED how to fish. (Although, something smells 'fishy' in all of this...)
Congress, the folks we voted into office to look out for our best interests, now feigns shock (and awe) that AIG spends the money (which they never earned) 'un-wisely'. The problem is that the source of the 'un-wise' spending falls squarely on the shoulders of Congress. These same folks are now asking us to allow them to run (or continue to run) national healthcare, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and presumably, our US financial institutions.
If given the choice, I wouldn't let these folks run a coin-operated laundromat.
For additional information on the AIG situation, just click the following link:
In the spirit of full-disclosure, I was against the TARP plan since all of this foolishness began. If you missed it then, you can read it now. This post was during the BUSH Administration so if you think this is an Obama-bash piece, it's not. It's an expression of concern over the level of sanity in our prior, and current Congress.
That post, surprisingly enough, can be found here and is called: The Bunny & The Bear
It was written back on October 1st, 2008. Many things have changed since then.
Unfortunately, many of the things 'changing' have not been changing for the better...