Washington’s actions in the past several weeks illustrate why keeping the scale and scope of the Federal Government in check is a solid idea.
Has the government done ANYTHING in the last two weeks to inspire Americans to cede control of any aspect of their daily lives to this gang that is not only incapable of shooting straight, but seems to have forgotten to bring their guns to the fight altogether? Had Michelle Obama not broken ground on a White House garden in recent days, one could argue that nothing positive had transpired in the District for some time.
And the government is getting bigger and more intrusive, even if it has proven to be inelegant, incestuous, and incompetent over the past few weeks. One only has to window shop at Cheesetique in Alexandria, VA to find the government creeping into your lazy Sunday afternoons, just as you attempt to find something to compliment that great bottle of Chardonnay picked up at the local winery a few weeks back. More on that later. . .
Anyway, unless you just crawled out from a rock somewhere, you are already all over the whole AIG story, right? To sum it up: the government bailed out the failing, flailing AIG. Twice. AIG funneled a load of their taxayer-supplied billions to other broken giant businesses, including foreign banks that refuse to provide the U.S. government on American tax scofflaws who have cached their lucre there. And AIG also paid out over $165 million in bonuses to its executives, despite the fact that the corporation would have ceased to exist without the bailout.
After citizens, watchdog groups and some in the chattering classes freaked out about the stupid bonuses, there was some garden variety outrage among the politicians (the word “outrage” was used with some frequency among politicians last week, actually) including by people like Senator Chris Dodd from Connecticut, at least until Dodd admitted that he snuck a clause in the AIG bailout legislation that actually enabled executives to keep their bonuses.
And while the President and Senator Dodd remain, uh, outraged at the behavior of AIGs leadership, neither individual has taken steps to return the hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations they received from AIG.
And if everyone in Washington has apparently known for awhile how jacked up AIG was, why did the administration see fit to send one of the architects of this broken company’s horrific, incompetent fall from a cliff, Richard Holbrooke (who sat on AIG’s board when it made many of the decisions that drove it into bankruptcy, AND locked in the executive bonus packages as well) as an Ambassador to attempt to resolve complex political issues between India and Pakistan? Warning: There are many cliffs in India/Pakistan, too, Ambassador Holbrooke. . .
At least Ambassador Holbrooke has the whole AIG imbroglio behind him, AND has locked in a great deal on his mortgage, too, a few less things to worry about as he works out problems in Kashmir and the F.A.T.A.! Oops, I digressed.
Anyway, after the government let AIG burn through billions of dollars of taxpayer money, and expressed “outrage” at the lucrative AIG bonuses enabled by their own legislation, they then spent the whole week drafting legislation to tax the bonuses at 90 percent, in a valiant effort to save the republic. And while the Obama administration has remained cool to the Congressional bonus taxation clownshow, they are nonetheless preparing legislation that would give the federal government greater control over executive compensation.
So either the circus clowns will get you, or you’ll get tagged by the rodeo clowns, but one way or another, the clowns want to take you down!
And speaking of clowns, this whole government action abortion is being augmented by the scary ACORN activist vultures, who are now stalking the homes and families of AIG executives in Connecticut:
About 40 [ACORN] protesters sought to urge AIG executives who received a portion of the $165 million in bonuses to do more to help families.”We think $165 million could be used in a more appropriate way to keep people in their homes, create more jobs and health care,” said Emeline Bravo-Blackport, a gardener.She marveled at AIG executive James Haas’ colonial house, which has stunning views of a golf course and the Long Island Sound. The Fairfield house is “another part of the world” from her life in nearby Bridgeport, which flirted with bankruptcy in the 1990s and still struggles with foreclosures and “Lord, I wonder what it’s like to live in a house that size,” she said. Another protester, Claire Jeffery, of Bloomfield, said she’s on the verge of foreclosure. She works as a housekeeper; her husband, a truck driver, can’t find work. “I love my home,” she said. “I really want people to help us.”
Besides Haas’ home, protesters on Saturday also visited the Fairfield home of AIG executive Douglas Poling. They were met both times by security guards. They left letters that acknowledged some executives, including Haas and Poling, are giving up the money but that asked them to support higher taxes on families earning more than $500,000 a year. “You have a wonderful opportunity to help your neighbors in Connecticut,” the letters said. “We ask you to consider the experiences of families struggling in this economy.” Mary Huguley, of Hartford, said AIG executives should share their wealth with people like her sister, who is facing foreclosure. “You ought to share it, and God will bless you for doing it,” she said [emph added].
ACORN, receives federal funds as well, by the way. Thus the inept, incompetent corporate executives of AIG, who received bonuses courtesy of the taxpayers via corrupt/inept/entrenched federal apparatchiks, are now being stalked by another equally corrupt/inept group, enabled by the same incestuous, bloated, cynical entrenched politicians. Some kind of reverse (anti?) darwininian selection is playing out before our very eyes, but I am too disgusted and tired to watch it all unfold at this point.
While all this transpired, the federal government also briefly flirted with cutting veteran’s health care benefits, perhaps in an attempt to show the Ayatollahs in Iran they were reaching out to that the American government really was making earnest efforts to dramatically change their policies, and this was not the same antagonistic country of the past three decades. Or perhaps slamming veterans was just a really stupid idea, no one is certain at this point.
So once again, even if one holds progressive views and believes in more robust government involvement in things like healthcare, financial regulation, and the like, after the past few weeks, ask yourself: is THIS government right now the one you want drafting legislation that dramatically changes the United States healthcare system, or how, when and how much private citizens get paid? Or maybe would it be a better idea to wait awhile, until a more competent government comes along?
Anyway, remember the cheese I wrote about back in the beginning of this whole diatribe? If you are not a cheese snob and buy your cheddar by the pound at COSTCO, you probably are unaware that there is a 100% tariff on imported Rochefort cheese right now; and because that tariff had no impact on demand for Rochefort cheese (which really kicks ass by the way, at least as much as cheese can conceivably kick ass), the government recently levied a 300% Tariff on the cheese. Check out this video from my neighborhood cheese store, Cheesetique:
So enjoy your crappy processed cheese and whatever you get paid for now, and have a good laugh at the bluebloods being stalked by ACORN, even while they are paying out the ass for their Rochefort cheese. Laugh for now, anyway, because your Harp Lager or employee stock options might be the next thing on the chopping block, taxed heavily to fund whatever stupid idea is up next.