Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss -by Josh

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss
Category: News and Politics
Sad to say, but with each passing day President Obama looks less like an agent of change and more like the latest installment in a never-ending series of Washington powerbrokers. This is doubly disappointing, since if there is a silver lining to the current crisis, it is that we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fundamentally change the way things are done. So far, all indications are that the Obama Administration lacks the courage and integrity to deliver upon the hopes they raised during the course of the campaign.

Case in point is the omnibus spending bill that the President signed last week. Despite promising repeatedly to veto any budget with earmarks, Obama signed this spending bill containing over 8,000 earmarks. Granted, it would be much more difficult to cobble together a congressional majority without the sweeteners that these earmarks represent, but this is precisely the kind of situation that tests the mettle of a leader. Does he have the strength to hold the line, or will he cave in to the status quo when push comes to shove? Obama could have stood up to the corrupt leaders of his own party (Pelosi, Reid, Frank, etc.) and refused to sign the bill, but he didn’t.

Another example of failing to lead is this week’s populist pandering over AIG bonuses. Yes, it is infuriating for the American public to see executives being rewarded after the enormous amounts of public money that have been pumped into their companies. That being said, the bonuses in question are microscopic in comparison with the real story. In the context of the trillions of dollars the government has already used to prop up the financial system, $165 million is completely insignificant. By turning it into a public firestorm, our leaders are cynically exploiting the public’s inability to comprehend the magnitude of the amounts of money currently being thrown around. $165 million, $20 billion, $1.5 trillion, what’s the difference? They’re all staggeringly large numbers. That being said, there’s a very big difference between a hundred million and a hundred billion, and our leaders are counting on our inability to tell the difference.

Of the money that has been pumped into AIG, over $12 billion has gone to Goldman, Sachs, the company once led by former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. The President and the leaders in Congress have nothing to say about this, while they make an enormous stink about bonuses that represent less than 2% of that amount. This is a deliberate and cynical error of omission and emphasis. By making a spectacle out of a relatively insignificant issue, our leaders are hoping we’ll be distracted enough that we won’t notice the hundreds of billions that are being allocated according to a process that is both opaque and riddled with conflicts of interest. In other words, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain…

4 Responses to “Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss -by Josh”

  • Twaddle:

    I was of the understanding that a lot of the AIG money was going to pay outstanding debts, a necassary evil, and the dispersion of funds was misleading in that regard. Just bringin up the point… I haven’t done my research thoroughly enough to have a concrete opinion on the matter.
    I know these things happen when you elect a politician into ofice…

  • Kim:

    I don’t know. I think it’s a little harsh Josh. He’s less than 60 days in office. Yes, there are some things he could have handled differently, but I still wouldn’t want anyone else in there and I have confidence he will make the changes. He is in no way like the old boss. Lets not forget how we got here.

  • Kelly:

    McCain campaigned under the promise to veto any legislation with earmarks. Obama said he would go line by line to determine what expenditures needed to be cut. There is a fine distinction. Also, all throughout the campaign Obama pointed out that earmarks make up a very small part of the actual budget and are therefore not going to affect the deficit in a meaningful way. Plus, you know your earmark may be my necessary expenditure. It can be pretty subjective.

    I agree with what Twaddle said, it was my understanding that the monies paid out to GOldman, Citi and others were for debts or claims owed. I don’t see this as any attempt at some back-door deals being done by the Obama administration to enrich these people.

    Lets give the guy a break. He’s dealing with a crap-load of stuff right now and i think he’s doing an excellent job under the circumstances. There are going to be mistakes made but jeez, can you actually say he’s just more of the same?

    As far as the AIG bonuses. It was reported yesterday that Geitner was only informed about the bonuses last week and the President was informed on Thursday. They both spent last week and the weekend trying to stop the bonuses from taking place. When they were unsuccessful, the WH went public with the information. Do you actually think if this information was kept out of the news by the WH that the Republicans wouldn’t have been all over that?

    I understand that 165 million is small beer when you’re talking about the numbers we are dealing with in these bailouts. For most of us, the kind of bonuses being paid out to these individuals are obscene amounts of money for any one person. But more than that, it is the principle of the thing. I have no problem with people making lots of money, however, the taxpayers own 80% of AIG now that the government had to rescue them. That is OUR company. The same jackasses who got us into this mess are still managing to figure out a way to bilk the taxpayers out of more money. While the economy implodes around us with no end in sight, these guys take home millions. I agree with what Obama said, it’s a values issue.

  • Misty:

    We can only get as good as we give! We need to stockpile common sense cause we’re broke in more ways than cash flo.

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