Christopher Berger editorial: Distractions

Distractions, by Christopher Berger

AIG’s $164 million retention bonuses have caused a great deal of commotion in recent days, as most of you know by this point, but I ultimately have to question just how much business of ours (or of Congress’s) they are. AIG is a private corporation (admittedly with a 79% non-voting government ownership stake) which is paying bonuses to those people who stay with them through this mess to help them try to fix it. This is how they say thank you to their employees they actually want to keep (not those they want to kick out the door, not the ones who destroyed the company). The public has been manipulated into a rage by Congressional partisans and White House operatives for the past week and a half, now reaching the point where a group funded by ACORN is taking people on tours of the homes those AIG executives who received bonuses, just to whip them into an even greater froth.

But as has become clear, it’s not the AIG executives that should be dragged in front of committees to answer questions but certain officials of the Obama administration and members of Congress. Officials in the Treasury Department knew about these bonuses as early as November, in some cases, and Secretary Geithner knew about them no later than his testimony before Congress on March 3. The timeline of who knew what when presented by the Obama administration is patently false, and they need to be held to account for their lies.

But beyond that, they should be held to account for the way they’re using this scandal as a smoke screen for a problem literally more than 10,000 times greater in magnitude: Obama’s proposed budget, with its $1.8 trillion in deficit spending. What has been proposed is unconscionable. In the 1980s, the Democrats were blasting Reagan for mortgaging our children’s future with a total budget of less than half the current proposed deficit. Already, the federal government’s total unfunded liabilities exceed world GDP; we can’t afford anything more. Not that that’ll stop Obama et al.

And they’re not done there. They’ve proposed a dramatic expansion of the powers of the Treasury Secretary, one which would allow the Geithner to seize corporations in the financial sector other than banks if he deems that they’re in substantial trouble and that their failure could cause significant problems in the wider economy. This would give the federal government enormous power to implement nationalization of various industries in this nation, which seems a fairly senseless amount of power to be placing in the hands of this crowd, who might be inclined to make use of such power in ways we the people will ultimately regret.

I think Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, best expressed this administration’s operating philosophy when he said, “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.” This business with the AIG bonuses, though it has captured the imagination of a great part of the American people and whipped them into a frenzy, in some cases baying for the blood of the executives and their families, is really a non-issue. When put against how much the federal government spends on a daily basis (between six and seven times the total bonus payouts), one can see just how small an issue this really is. Obama & Co. will continue to find non-issues wherever they can to distract the American people from what they’re really doing. The news media will continue to follow along, obligingly providing Obama with a ready-made echo chamber for his every whim. Meanwhile, he and his Congress will continue perpetrating the greatest armed robbery in the history of this country against the American people.

As I said the night of Obama’s election in my column Alea Iacta Est, “We have elected a neo-Marxist socialist who will rape this country to within an inch of its existence, and then protest that we still haven’t given enough.” The real danger for the Republicans is not that he’ll succeed in creating a stable (relatively) socialist state, but that they’ll take control of Congress in 2010 again just in time for the whole thing to come crashing down around their ears, that they’ll be blamed for the rape. If that happens, we may see another 40 years of Democrat majorities in Congress, even though their policies will have failed miserably, because Republicans will get the blame for the collapse, not the credit for forcing fiscal responsibility on a president for whom those words at present have no apparent meaning. I shudder at the thought.

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