Monday, March 16, 2009

Wake Up, America!

Warning: I'm upset. Really upset. (cover your ears, kids) I'm upset because of all the dopey people who are whining that AIG (after receiving $173 million in bailout money from Uncle Sam) spent millions of dollars in bonuses (165 million to be exact) for their employees. Hello? That's like complaining that the drunk bum used your Abe Lincoln handout to buy some alcohol. You dopes, you. If you're gonna complain with how they used your money....don't give it to them. Hey, I've got a bright idea, let's hand out millions and millions of dollars of someone else's money, and then try and pretend like we have strong financial morals. (did I mention that I'm upset?)

It just totally blows my mind that AIG, rather than Big Government, is somehow getting blamed for this. Once you GIVE the money to THEM, it's THEIRS, and they can do whatever THEY want with it because you GAVE it to THEM. I once put about 15 bucks worth of gasoline into someone else's car because their "sister was in the hospital". Did I get ripped off? Probably. But, I knew the risk going in, so I'm not going to whine like I'm somehow naive to evil. Don't blame the guy asking for a handout just because you were foolish enough to give it to them. What did you expect AIG to do with the bailout money? Use it wisely? You dopes, you. Let's take a bunch of money, give it to a company who obviously can't handle money well (that's the claim, isn't it?), and then act like we're shocked that they waste it. As I understand it, that bonus money was part of a contract for these employees. So, Uncle Sam, how about you do your homework and stop shelling out cash to people who have made it known in writing that they plan to (say it aint so) pay their employees.

Imagine I came upon a kid who was throwing quarters, one by one, into a wishing well. Imagine that this kid, after running out of quarters, turned to me and said, "Could you bail me out of this dilemma, and give me a roll of quarters?". Imagine I give this kid a roll of quarters, and the kid takes the whole roll and throws it into the wishing well. Now, imagine that I start yelling at the "stupid" kid for throwing away an entire roll of quarters. Let me ask you, who's the stupid one?

Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on The Man.

Wake up, America. You dopes, you.

9 comments:

  1. Interesting Post. I understand your side of the argument, however, I think you only have half of it right. Sure, the government can blame itself because it gave the money in the first place. But to say that we can't fault AIG is misguided. Let's look at your two analogies. First, the drunk bum. If I give him money, sure, I may be enabling him to buy more alcohol, but he's the one who's still buying the liquor. We are both to blame, probably him more than me because he's making the wrong choice. There's nothing on my five-dollar bill that says "For Alcohol Use Only" and he has to decide whether or not to spend it on alcohol or nothing. He can use it elsewhere, if he so decided.

    For the kid with the quarters, the same thing applies. Sure, I shouldn't be shocked he continued to do the same thing, and I enabled him to keep throwing quarters into the well, but he's still the one making the decision. He should look at what I've done, be grateful, and make a better decision.

    Both parties are at fault, AIG more so.

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  2. I think your points and Joel's point are both very interesting, and I think Joel makes a good point that AIG is just as much at fault as the government is, if not more so.

    I also thought it was interesting that you paid for the person's gas instead of just handing them $15. In that way, you weren't 'wasting' your money, you know what it was spent on. There's a difference between giving a bum $5 and giving him a Big Mac, right? So maybe I'm saying the government should have been more specific in how they allowed the money to be spent. And maybe that's what you were saying all along. :)

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  3. Don't even get Grandma started. We are headed toward socialism & government control. The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money. As Thomas Jefferson said. "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work & give to those who are not."
    I cannot believe we have people who think socialism is OK. It is against everything America has stood for over the years. Once government gets it's foot into our private lives they will control every aspect of it including even the degree my thermostat is set at or my air conditioner all in the name of saving energy.

    Any contry that has tried socialism has found it doesn't work like Germany & Russia. It gives the government total control. Basically giving AIG & the banks the bailout money gives the government control over them because the government now owns them.

    Just common sense tells you that anyone including the government cannot spend trillions of dollars more than they make from taxes. We as individuals cannot do it and neither can they. They have us so deep in debt we will never get out no matter how much they tax us & eventually China will refuse to loan us anymore money & our economy will collapse. I'm sure AIG didn't learn this good old common sense lesson either or they wouldn't be in this fix & asking for government money. I could go on & on but I must stop & remember God is in control & He has allowed this to happen. He has a plan & we don't know when but I believe the rapture could be soon.

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  4. Wow. I'm flattered by such calm, respectful responses, even though I was a bit upset (understatement of the century) in my post.

    Let me try to respond to some of the issues raised....

    What bothers me the most is the following sequence of events:

    1. AIG was contractually obligated to pay out the bonuses in question. See this article in the NY Times, paragraph 2. (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/15/business/15AIG.html)
    2. AIG received bailout money from the government, despite knowing (or being fully able to know) about these bonuses beforehand.
    3. Now, the same people who dished out the dough, are coughing up some complaints (you like the alliteration?).

    It doesn't bother me at all if a John Doe (who has nothing to do with the government) wants to complain about AIG AND the government. What bothers me is that the GOVERNMENT is complaining about AIG. What right do they have to complain? None.

    In both of my analogies, the precedent set by the offending party nullifies any right of the giving party to complain. If a third party wants to complain - be my guest (and I know a thing or two about complaining). But once you give someone money, fully knowing the other person's set precedent of behavior, you lose your right to complain.

    -Jason

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  5. Jason,

    For argument's sake, I disagree.

    First, AIG is conveniently using the excuse that they were "contractually obligated" to pay the bonuses. But, that doesn't mean they had to pay the bonuses. They alluded to this themselves in the article to which you linked. The article states:

    “We cannot attract and retain the best and the brightest talent to lead and staff the A.I.G. businesses — which are now being operated principally on behalf of American taxpayers — if employees believe their compensation is subject to continued and arbitrary adjustment by the U.S. Treasury,” he wrote Mr. Geithner on Saturday"

    The underlying point there is that they didn't have to pay the bonuses, but if they didn't, their employees would have quit. AIG had two options. Pay the bonuses and risk the wrath of the government, or don't pay, and risk losing "good" employees (even though there is a recession and they could easily fill those spots with thousands of people looking for work). They could have chosen option #2. They chose #1.

    Since we are so good at analogies, let me try another one. Let's say you attend a church regularly. You appreciate you pastor, and every year the church gives him a Christmas gift, or "bonus", as a way to say thank you. Well, things are going so well they decide to do a building addition. Off they go and start to build quickly. Too quickly. Suddenly, before they realize it, they are in debt, and the bank is threatening to shut down the church and take back the building. Pastor comes to the pulpit and pleads with the people to give more this week because they are in debt, in trouble. Bail us out! So, feeling burdened to do something for the sake of the people, you give a little extra. Well, a few weeks later, it's Christmas time again. And, just like every year, the Pastor takes a Christmas gift, only this time, b/c they are short on cash, he takes a good chunk of the offering people gave to bail out the debt. What in the world, you say! The Pastor fails to see the problem. "You knew, every year, that I take a Christmas bonus, he says. Surely you didn't think this would be any different. Since you gave the money, and you knew our previous habits, you have no right to complain that the money didn't go where it was supposed to, but into my pocket instead. And, to top it off, I'm going to resign my position and leave at the end of the year". According to you, you'd have no right to be upset at how your money was used. But I think you would.

    Un-imaginable? Not for the AIG people. Check out the link below.

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25204136-12335,00.html

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  6. Joel,

    It would be dishonest of me to ignore the fact that you have made some good points. However, I still stand by my basic point - the government should NOT be blaming AIG\complaining about AIG as if AIG is the problem.

    In a recent development, Chris Dodd has just admitted that, "he was responsible for language added to the federal stimulus bill to make sure that already-existing contracts for bonuses at companies receiving federal bailout money were honored."

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/03/18/aig.bonuses.congress/index.html

    That pretty much sums up my argument that the government is to blame, not AIG. Instead of the government saying to the American people, "Wow, this is a tragedy. We are so sorry we gave millions of dollars of your money to a terrible company like AIG. It was our fault (not AIG's), and it won't happen again." Instead, all we hear about is the big bad wolf know affectionately as AIG.

    As for your analogy, yes, I would be upset. But only because the Pastor acted out of character. The Pastor wasn't "reckless and greedy" as a person, so I had every right to expect a good faith response to my "stimulus" (the bonus being annual, doesn't mean that a Pastor of good character would still take it - and, assuming the Pastor was of good character, I wouldn't expect him to take the bonus.) The government could expect no such good faith response from AIG. Chris Dodd allowed them to do it, they said they would do it, and they did do it.

    Again, you made some good points. I too am upset with AIG. But I refuse to let my annoyance with AIG function as a smokescreen to the fact that the government practiced blatant recklessness with my money. I do not appreciate the government still pointing the finger at AIG, when they ought to apologize.

    Let me throw out another analogy (and of course, this is all for arguments sake).

    Suppose two cars collide on the interstate. Each car had two people inside, and one person from each car died. Suppose both surviving parties spent all of their energy pointing fingers, passing blame, and trying to act like the accident wasn't their fault. Doesn't the blame game seem a bit ridiculous since a tragedy has just occurred?

    In the same way, doesn't the government's blaming of AIG totally neglect the fact that a gross error has occurred? Why doesn't the government own up to at least SOME of the blame?

    As a parting question....

    In your mind, what is the percentage ratio of blame? I would blame government 85-90% and AIG 10-15%

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  8. I'd like to answer your last question, but I need more clarification. Blame for what? Paying out the bonuses? AIG failing? Getting bailout money? Please expand the question.

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  9. Joel,

    When you hear the following statement,

    "An ailing business giant, AIG, after receiving bailout money from the government, spent millions of dollars in bonuses for their employees."

    to whom is your blame\anger\frustration directed in the form of a percentage ratio?

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