We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
...the New York Daily News editorializes: Congressional Democrats’ bonus witch hunt will sink N.Y. “The tax plan approved by the House as revenge against a handful of obscenely greedy AIG executives would slam tens of thousands in the financial industry, many of them New Yorkers, who have nothing to do with AIG or any other wrongdoing. And that would be just start of the collateral damage. The levies are so draconian that major banks that took bailout money are threatening to give it back - defeating the purpose of jump-starting the economy with an influx of cash.”
The Tea Party in CT was 7 times larger than the ACORN busload of (probably paid)protesters from Hartford. Who got the MSM coverage?
As I mentioned during the presidential campaign, Mr. Obama was seriously unqualified for the job of president. He had no practical experience in running anything, except political campaigns; but worse, his background was one-dimensional.
All his life, from childhood through university through "community organizing" and Chicago wardheel politics, through Sunday mornings listening to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, to the left side of Democrat caucuses in Springfield and Washington, he has been surrounded almost exclusively by extremely liberal people, and moreover, by people who are quick and clever but intellectually narrow.
He is a free soul, but he is also the product of environments in which even moderately conservative ideas are never considered; but where people on the further reaches of the left are automatically welcomed as "avant-garde." His whole idea of where the middle might be, is well to the left of where the average American might think it is. To a man like Obama, as he has let slip on too many occasions when away from his teleprompter, "Middle America" is not something to be compromised with, but rather, something that must be manipulated, because it is stupid. And the proof that it can be manipulated, is that he is the president today.
It is at this point that the phenomenon known as "too clever by half" sets in.
How can being a Lefty be avant garde in 2009? It's so passe now.
...there is a risk to the U.S. system with more people relying on entitlements. "Well, they become an interest group," Mr. Becker says. "The more you have dependence on the government, the stronger the interest group of people who want to maintain it. That's one reason why it is so hard to get any major reform in reducing government spending in Scandinavia and it is increasingly so in the United States. The government is spending -- at the federal, state and local level -- a third of GDP, and that share will go up now. The higher it is the more people who are directly or indirectly dependent on the government. I am worried about that. The basic theory of interest-group politics says that they will have more influence and their influence will be to try to maintain this, and it will be hard to go back."
No kidding. Everybody loves a free all-you-can-eat buffet.
Cafe Hayek is correct in identifying that the question with AIG is not the $165 million in bonuses but with where the $173 billion of taxpayer money went.
Goldman is in part a distraction.
I suspect that the true bottom lines is that the money went to payoff speculators who had taken complex positions involving CDOs and other highly leveraged derivative positions.
Regarding the failure of AIG, the Financial Products Group subsidiary could have been forced to file for bankruptcy. Speculators would not have been bailed out. Investors would not have been wiped out. I do not know what counterparties would have been damaged (net exposure is the key). I also do not know if the FPG was supported by a web of corporate guarantees that would extend the issue beyond the FPG, but I suspect not.
Clearly, the way this has been managed by Paulson/Geithner and now Obama/ Geithner has been pathetic.
The real problem was the legal system, which is not up to dealing sensibly with domino bankruptcies, where each one can't be settled until all the others are settled. Capital would be tied up in court for twenty years.
So the domino bankruptcy has to be avoided and replaced by some equivalent for distributing losses.
Nobody even really knows if they themselves are solvent; it depends on whether people who owe them money are solvent, and those people are in the same condition, not knowing.
There's a mission creep that's obscuring this, namely trying to stimulate the economy. That's the leftist opportunism at work, and like all leftist opportunism it always makes things fail.
I'm not sure Goldman was hedged; I mean, they may have the paper, but the counterparty has a huge loss, and the counterparty would have to pay them, which seems unlikely without the propping up of the financial system.
There's an old song from back in the early days of the 20th century, the refrain of which is "he's dead but he won't lie down." It comes to mind again and again in our present financial debacle.
In days of yore, when countries were stuck with a hereditary monarch who kept on doing incredibly stupid things, they encapsulated him in a soothing coterie of sycophants and removed him from the "front lines" of everyday governing, leaving the big decisions and actions to the more intelligent of his advisors.
Problem is, where are the "more intelligent" of Obama's advisors? So far, I don't see any.