The condescension by anchor Charlie Gibson and the ABC evening news broadcast was palpable. Gibson wondered why such an uproar over a few million dollars in bonuses when the whole bailout package is in the trillions of dollars.
Well Mr. Multi-million dollar salary Gibson, I doubt that if you could even wonder such a thing that I could explain it to your erudite and quite insulated from the common world self.
Yes it’s politics and a sensational story, but it also goes way beyond that.
For all of you out there, if there are any, who don’t see anything wrong with the government bailing out failing banks and insurance companies and other businesses with taxpayer money and then letting them pay out bonuses (made possible by that money), some as high as a million dollars or more, sometimes to the very people who through imprudence, skulduggery, and outright greed and no concern for customers or the public or the soldiers who protect their fat asses, lost all the money and threatened to take down the world economy with them, what part of shocks the conscience and violates public decency do you not understand?
Common citizens and even most uncommon citizens do not get bailouts from the government – well they did send us $600 apiece awhile back but that was not asked for.
But $600 to an individual, I guess sent out to spur a consumer buying frenzy or as what my mom might have called “mad money”, is not $1 million to an individual.
It is apparent that President Barack Obama and his administration (as the one before him) are: A. In awe of the Wall Street financial crowd or B. Intimidated by them or C. All of the above.
So they, the masters of the universe, can say “we lost all of our money in a crap shoot, give us more and don’t stop till we say so, and we will lavish it upon ourselves and if you object we will take the whole national and international finance system (the economy) down with us.”
And the idea that we have to retain or hire back many of the same people who led us into this mess because, well hold your nose, but they are the only folks with the knowledge to save us, should be seen as complete nonsense on its face. Aren’t a lot of financial types unemployed at the moment?
As for Mr. Gibson who likes to look down over his reading glasses at us, he is not really a journalist as much as an actor and news reader, but to the extent he considers himself a journalist, he is a prime reason why the best journalists may not be in the jet set. You have to retain some connection with the citizenry. You have to retain some empathy for those who toil for modest salaries, but make up the broad audience upon whom you draw your whole reason for being.
And now for a further indignity, my president is appearing on the Tonight Show with comedian Jay Leno. While candidates as far back as Richard Nixon in 1968 have appeared on non news and non-serious TV shows (Laugh In for Nixon), I believe this is the first time a sitting president has done so.
Somehow I think such an appearance is beneath the dignity of the office. And it’s a sad state of affairs when we may well get more answers from a comedian than the show biz folks who call themselves broadcast journalists these days.
Back to the bailouts: let’s pay down that national debt and if we must do extraordinary spending (and borrowing) let’s have the government buy up toxic assets for pennies on the dollar directly. It would be far cheaper in the long run than being suckered into sending the dollars to the crooks who took us all for a ride in the first place. (And I don’t discount greed of the victims in all of this, but I do put the heaviest burden of blame on those who had the knowledge and along with it the public trust as their positions dictated – from politicians to high financiers.)
While government is a necessary part of the framework and an arbiter of disputes and must be the watchdog over the financial and whole economic system, I am believing more than ever it should not try to run the economy or businesses any more than it should run the lives of individuals. And in return, we should only ask the government for help in things such as natural emergencies. Of course we depend upon government to provide for the national defense too.
In our representative democracy we can provide for our own social programs, to include a social safety net and Social Security, and even health benefits, as the majority sees fit, but overall we must protect the right to succeed and the right to fail (and the second part is a necessary evil because if nothing else logic demands an opposite condition and failure can be instructive).
Although it does not apply to me, I have always liked the quote: “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor and I’d choose rich every time.”
So, am I turning into a Republican? I would hope not. In fact, that will never happen. I may lean a little Libertarian at times, but as I have written before in this blog space, most of the professed Libertarians I have ever met seemed a tad eccentric and some a little off their rockers. I might be a bit of the former, but hopefully not the latter.