Thursday, March 19, 2009

Are you Enraged, but a Little Confused Over This 'AIG' Controversy?

Are you as enraged as Stephen Colbert at AIG?

Or perhaps you are kind of confused. Republicans slamming Democrats, the Obama Administration blaming Chris Dodd, the media trying to react to react to a complex situation by finding bad guys to blame...when will the madness end? Glenn Greenwald breaks things down pretty well today:

The controversy of the AIG bonuses -- which, strictly as a quantitative matter, is rather trivial in the scheme of things -- illustrates how warped our political discourse is. Here is the hierarchy of positions regarding executive compensation limits back in February:

Chris Dodd -- advocated full-scale, no-exceptions limits on executive compensation for bailed-out companies

Obama administration -- supported limits but advocated exceptions for already-existing employment contracts

GOP leaders -- opposed all executive compensation limits as Socialist tyranny

Yet everything is exactly backwards in this controversy. The Obama administration has been trying to blame Dodd for the carve-out that allowed the AIG bonus payments, a carve-out that came into being because Geithner/Summers demanded it and because they opposed the limits Dodd wanted as too onerous. And now, the GOP -- which opposed limits of any kind -- wants to blame the Obama administration and Dodd because the limits weren't stringent enough to stop the AIG bonus payments. And the media is playing along perfectly, having clearly decided that the person who led the way in fighting for absolute compensation limits -- Dodd -- is the real villain responsible for the AIG bonuses.

Wow. It is hard to NOT be confused with a situation as backward as this.

1 comment:

trey said...

Its sad to admit at my age but I really don't understand any of this. But I think it sort of in a way shows the limitations of the power of politics. Admittedly, the famed market of right-wing lore had proved itself highly flawed in this crisis. But what do we replace it with? In the end, politics is simply driven by the ignorant outrage of the populace. Some demagogue points out how much an AIG exec is getting paid after screwing up and the working stiff naturally gets pissed. The political system must respond by coming down on AIG execs for now and completely ignore that execs all up and down Wall Street who also screwed up are making out like bandits too. ......I'm basically a working-stiff who lost nearly half his hard-earned savings to the free-market meltdown but I honestly see no hope in wildly expanding and centralizing government power which in the end can be no more rational than the citizenry. I'd rather take my chances and hope I can gradually learn bit-by-bit how markets work and how to avoid losing it all in a bubble (even if it means some ass-hole Wall Street insider is getting filthy rich)