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I'm seeing red and spitting blood

© March 2009 Anthony Lawrence

I'm angry. REALLY angry. I saw the news this morning about AIG getting ready to pay out $100 million in bonuses and I am seeing red. Yes, I understand they have contracts that require this. That doesn't make me any less angry.

From Bracing for a Backlash Over Wall Street Bailouts:

Meanwhile, "The Obama administration is increasingly concerned about a populist backlash against banks and Wall Street, worried that anger at financial institutions could also end up being directed at Congress and the White House and could complicate President Obama's agenda," the New York Times writes. "Mr. Obama's aides said any surge of such a sentiment could complicate efforts to win Congressional approval for the additional bailout packages that Mr. Obama has signaled will be necessary to stabilize the banking system".

You think? I've got news for Obama's administration: it's not just this that is making us angry. That's just icing on the cake.

I voted for Obama and am generally in line with the things he's done so far. I didn't like letting that stimulus bill go through with earmarks and I really didn't like the stimulus bill to start with either, but those things don't make me angry.

Bonuses for blood-sucking greedy bankers make me angry. Appointees who suddenly "discover" that they owe back taxes make me see red. Nancy Pelosi et al. taking taxpayer paid political junkets to Italy makes me spit blood.

I'm not a conservative. I'm a died in the wool ACLU liberal from the day I was born. I don't agree with Republican B.S. that the failures of this country have anything to do with "lack of morality". I think it has everything to do with unbridled greed (something Republicans exhibit just as strongly and perhaps even more so).

I'm sick of this. I have to start work on MY taxes this weekend and believe me, it's hard to have a good attitude about it right now. I'm sure I'm not alone and I'm sure that the "I've been cheated, so I'll cheat" rationalization is all too easy to make this year. I'll end up being honest, but it's going to leave a bitter taste in my mouth because I do think I am being cheated.

Populist backlash? Sign me up.

Got something to add? Send me email.

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-> I'm seeing red and spitting blood


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Mon Mar 16 16:50:05 2009: 5714   rbailin

When I read this yesterday morning on the NYT website, I was compelled to comment on the popular definition of chutzpah: A man kills his parents and then, at his trial, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he's an orphan. I thought what AIG was demanding merits a new definition of chutzpah.

You'll be somewhat happy to read that minutes after you posted your rant, the following article appeared:


Remember to wield your power carefully.


Mon Mar 16 17:20:03 2009: 5715   PGiddings

What a crazy country? Where personal accountability is rammed down the taxpayers throats. No child left behind make pay for performance mandatory. How can AIG (or any other publicly held company) justify giving bonuses when they lost so much money the taxpayers have to bail them out? It is infuriating!!!!
I would not expect a bonus if my company was in the red and neither should the folks at AIG.

Mon Mar 16 17:45:13 2009: 5716   BrettLegree

It makes me angry, and I don't even live in the United States.

Wouldn't it be "funny" if everyone decided to "give themselves a bonus" this year, and say, not pay their taxes?

Perhaps this is the sort of thing Mr. Obama wishes to avoid, and that's why he's trying to block the AIG bonuses.

Mon Mar 16 18:15:45 2009: 5717   TonyLawrence

I do understand that it's very difficult - we certainly don't want our government determining private company benefits and salaries. But can AIG really be considered "private" at this point?

The only thing that would actually calm me down is if every person due a bonus there said "No, I don't deserve that". Because they do NOT.

Mon Mar 16 18:25:47 2009: 5718   pgiddings

I guess not what with 80% being owned supposedly buy the Government. They will probably give that back as well when the hoopla dies down.

Mon Mar 16 23:07:40 2009: 5728   yungchin

Some advice from (link) this piece I just read:

"...a rational voter should remain as ignorant as possible about politics and policies. Even if special interests manage to siphon off 80 percent of the voter's income, the voter is better off devoting his or her energy to earning more rather than attempting to change the system (likely to require full-time effort, reducing income to $0, and be futile because the voter has no money compared to the special interests)."

...so he thinks you'd better stop spitting blood. More seriously: it's a good read.

Tue Mar 17 14:09:35 2009: 5732   jtimberman

"Yes, I understand they have contracts that require this"

That should have changed when the government became an 80% owner in the company. That would mean they have 80% say in what goes on.

Including FIRING those executives WITHOUT PAY for running the company into the ground.

That said, I am, and always have been against the bailout. No company should be too "big to fail". No company should be "too big that I even care if they fail." What happens if Tony stops making money at consulting? He goes out of business? Who bails him out? Thats right, he's on his own. And so are millions of small business owners in this country.

Yet we all worship at the altar of the great megacorp, that is we consume their every product. Don't tell me you don't, unless you never shop at Walmart/Target, bought a car you built yourself and don't eat food you didn't grow.

Wed Mar 18 02:09:58 2009: 5742   drag

> That should have changed when the government became an 80% owner in the company. That would mean they have 80% say in what goes on.

The government should of never been a 80% owner of anything. Those people drove those companies into the ground. Those companies should of been allowed to fail, been carved up, been sold off, and thus all those people that got those million dollar bonuses would of been the ones unemployed.

I don't think that the the 'bail out' is about bailing out the economy.. I think has to do with congressmen bailing out their friends. I think that having people testify in front of congress about their bonuses, the fake angry speeches, is pure political theatre and have ZERO substance. I think those congressmen have a great deal of money involved in those corporations, have family and businesses with great deal of money in those corporations, and thus are dumping tax payer money into the form of bail outs to cover their own asses.

This is why government should of never had the power, money, or authority to do stuff like this. All it does is just attract corruption and gamesmanship.

Ask yourself exactly why people that are filthy rich are willing to spend millions of dollars to get a job that pays hundreds of thousands. I seriously seriously doubt that any of these guys end up poorer after their terms in public service.

Wed Mar 18 11:09:16 2009: 5744   TonyLawrence

"I think has to do with congressmen bailing out their friends."

Even if we don't go that far (and I'm not sure that we shouldn't!), there is the problem of affinity. You have to be rich and well connected to get elected, so the people you know, the people you talk with, associate with, socialize with are also in that same social strata. Congress critters don't see how you and I live from day to day.

Also, we just don't have the time to pay attention to things they vote on - we're too busy working! Their rich friends can send lobbyists to argue for their point of view - we can do some of that through organizations, but those never represent our opinions precisely.

However, right now I really believe that Obama is just as angry at AIG as we are. I can't even say they were wrong to bail them out - things could very well be worse without that. If I ran the country, I would have taken a different tack, but then again I'm not rich and I do NOT understand all the myriad details of this mess - not that anyone does, but as I said, I'm busy working, not studying this recession and its causes.


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