Saturday, March 21, 2009

Mr. President, Congress, Wall Street: I know You Don't Get It - But The Bailouts Should Be Tied To Something Tangible

Okay, its happened again. American International Group (AIG) has just paid $165 million in bonuses--to FORMER Chief Executives. Now I ask you, how is that going to help banks start lending or otherwise stimulate the economy? Answer; it won't! And that's the issue! And I ask you, on this the third time, why aren't the bailout moneys being tied to real outcomes, companies having to sign contracts containing terms and conditions on how the money is to be used, and the entire program being managed by Government Program Managers?

As more evidence that these folks are on a different page, note this from the Associated Press:

"Senate Republicans...applying the brakes to Democratic attempts to quickly tax away most of the bonuses at troubled insurance giant AIG and other bailed-out companies.

Sen. Jon Kyl, the Republicans' vote counter, blocked Democratic efforts Thursday evening to bring up the Senate version of the tax bill to recoup most of the $165 million paid out by AIG last weekend and other bonuses in 2009. The House had swiftly approved its version of the bill earlier in the day.

By rushing, Kyl said, Democrats were letting populist outrage trump informed decision-making in the Senate, which is supposed to be insulated from the pressures of public passion."
Why on earth wouldn't Republicans, who claim to be fiscal conservatives, want to get the taxpayer's money back? And just what do they mean by populist rampage? Those of us who are "rampaging" are the citizens of the United States--the folks who elected you to serve. Remember us?

And what's Obama's stance on this? He's "stunned."


Looking at this whole saga, again, just stresses the point that non of these folks get it--the American people are tired of Government as usual. But we are also tired of being tired. The folks in Washington have heard it all before and they know what we want. But why are we not getting it? I think Tavis Smiley is on the right track, the American people need to hold the folks in Washington more accountable by asking why our specific concerns have not been addressed. We also need to ask them how they are going to.

In this pursuit, The African-American Pragmatist is in the process of drafting a letter to the President and Congress asking that specific concerns be addressed. A short list follows:

  1. Why were the bailouts not tied to concrete results?
  2. Why isn't this being run as a Government program with auditors monitoring how taxpayer money is being spent?
  3. Who is monitoring where all of this money is going?
  4. Republicans, please provide specific reasons why AIG should not return taxpayer money used to pay bonuses?
  5. What specific measures are you going to take to prevent this from happening again?
  6. In measurable terms, explain how giving money to Wall Street and banks is supposed to stimulate the economy? Also, please explain why it has not worked so far.
Do you have a question you would like to ask the President and Congress about this issue? Tell me, and it will be included in the letter. I have set a suspense of April 4. Is this to soon? Please let me know.

Friends, the bottom line is the President and Congress must realize that the American people don't care what side of the isle they sit on. They must either give us tangible solutions to the problems facing this county or get out of D.C.

3 comments:

Iam Robert said...

Shawn Dakin's comment via Twitter:

Saw your post.

Have you seen this? -

The Website - http://www.communitycounts.com/Obama
The Twitter Account - http://twitter.com/AskThePresident
The Article in the Nation - http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090406/melber

--
Cheers,

Shaun Dakin – CEO & Founder
The National Political Do Not Contact Registry -> http://www.StopPoliticalCalls.org/

sam dixon said...

Thanks for the links. There's a good recap on Youtube Re: Looking back at the saga or this surreal bailout auction:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nay4VbUJl3E

Iam Robert said...

Sam,

Thanks for the link! It's really eye opening.
I know there is wide disagreement about how we should approach this crisis. Many people feel that market forces should be allowed to run their course. How do you feel about this?
Others, however, feel that something must be done, but that Government is not the best entity to do so. Do you agree?
Finally, many believe that something must be done and that Government is the only institution with the breadth and power to do so. What’s your point of view?
While I understand that people differ on the course of action, my point is that whatever we do must be done right. If our Government lends taxpayer money to companies in order to stimulate lending then that’s what the money should be used for: not bonuses, not pork barrel projects, not vacations or parties for employees.
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