The Discerning Texan

All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
Friday, January 30, 2009

Simply Irresponsible

(with apologies to Robert Palmer...) Dan Riehl takes issue with Obama lecturing Wall Street executives about their bonuses, considering his shameless sponsorship of the ghastly "stimulus" bill:

Obama pronounces Wall Street "shameful" and the "height of irresponsibility." Certainly there are irresponsible actors on Wall Street. But I think the heights have already been scaled by Washington, as Ben Stein points out.

Only ten per cent of the "stimulus" to be spent on 2009.

Close to half goes to entities that sponsor or employ or both members of the Service Employees International Union, federal, state, and municipal employee unions, or other Democrat-controlled unions.

This bill is sent to Congress after Obama has been in office for seven days. It is 680 pages long. According to my calculations, not one member of Congress read the entire bill before this vote. Obviously, it would have been impossible, given his schedule, for President Obama to have read the entire bill.

For the amount spent we could have given every unemployed person in the United States roughly $75,000.

We could give every person who had lost a job and is now passing through long-term unemployment of six months or longer roughly $300,000.

Michael Laprairie finds the irony and hypocrisy of this to be thick:

It's awful when the financial sector gives its employees $18.4 billion in bonuses. It's inexcusable when Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain spends $1 million to redecorate his office. And when CitiGroup wants to buy a $50 million corporate jet, they must be stopped.

But ...

$400 million for HIV and chlamydia testing, $20 million for off-road trail maintenance and restoration, $600 million for new Federal government cars, $527 million to the Coast Guard to create 1235 new construction and acquisition jobs (that's $460,000 per job), $75 million for smoking cessation programs (how will we pay for SCHIP then?), $7 billion to modernize Federal buildings and other facilities ... that's all perfectly okay. Just your tax dollars at work.

As our own Baron von Ottomatic recently explained, the Federal Budget has nothing on Monty Python's infamous Mr. Creosote.

I'm not going to defend the bosses in the financial sector who recklessly loaned money and bet the bank (literally) that the stock and real estate markets would always be up. They blew it big time, and their greed destroyed tens of thousands of jobs in the banking sector and cost the American people trillions of dollars in lost savings.

But what business does the Federal Government have telling banks how to spend their money? Oh, that's right -- the banks are now being propped up by the government, so all of the sudden they've got to be "responsible."

Yet when the government wastes money on pork, who's going to stop them? From what experts say, at least $54 billion of our "stimulus" money is going to programs deemed ineffective or unable to pass basic financial audits by the OMB. Responsible? No, but it keeps the folks in DC smiling. After all, employees of mismanaged, inefficient, or ineffectual government agencies should never lose their jobs or bonuses, should they?

If you want to know the true value of those evil financial industry bonuses, just as the city government of New York, which is in full panic mode right now in anticipation of a catastrophic multi-billion dollar budget shortfall in the wake of the carnage on Wall Street this past year. As Rush Limbaugh correctly pointed out, even the $1 million Merrill Lynch extreme makeover* put money into the pockets of interior designers, furniture manufacturers, and precious blue collar transportation and construction workers. Further, how many pilots, maintenance personnel, and facilities workers lost contracts or jobs because CitiGroup won't be buying that jet?

Maybe it's time for government bureaucrats to do a little navel gazing and ask some serious questions, namely whether or not their insatiable appetite for pork might be one of the root causes of the painful series of market bubbles and meltdowns that have crippled us financially during the last ten years.

Read the whole thing.
DiscerningTexan, 1/30/2009 10:58:00 PM |