Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bonus outrage: Is the federal government deliberately inciting class hatred?

AIG bonus outrage has employees living in fear - Associated Press

Why are AIG employees receiving bonuses? For the same reason many other individuals have received bonuses: they earned them under the compensation plans of their employer.

So why is there such outrage toward AIG employees that some now fear for their families' safety? Is it because these individuals are known to have been dishonest, or done any harm to their communities, their country, or the economy? No. It's because of anger that our tax money has been used to bail out a company that is so important, we are told, that it simply CAN'T BE ALLOWED to collapse. And now that numerous billions of our dollars have been handed over to AIG, the company has directed a large percentage to foreign recipients, as well as a relatively tiny portion (about 0.1%) into employee bonuses.

Oh, there is much cause for outrage here. It's outrageous and unfair that public money is being used to prop up certain struggling corporations suffering the consequences of their own decisions, while others less well connected are left to solve their problems on their own. But those who direct their anger toward AIG employees have been taken been fooled into overlooking the real offenders.

Who pushed the plan to use huge amounts of public money to bail out AIG and other companies? Congress and the president. Who specifically added a provision to the stimulus package to allow AIG to pay out bonuses with bailout money? Senator Chris Dodd (who initially denied adding it but later admitted it). Three Republicans and almost every Democrat voted for the stimulus package which included this bonus provision. They rushed it through Congress over the loud objections of the minority party. The president signed it. Now that there is a public outcry, the president and his cohort are, oh, so shocked -shocked and angry!- that AIG has paid out bonuses. But these are the guys who legislated the funds and authorized the bonuses, so their outrage is political posturing as false as a three dollar bill. These are the real offenders, and these are the ones who deserve our anger and opposition: not AIG employees.

President Obama and prominent members of Congress have been exploiting the public anger to promote hostility toward the wealthy in general and to deflect anger from themselves. Their motives are obvious. In a socialist government those in power are satisfied with nothing less than total control over the economy. Therefore, successful private producers are adversaries of the state. The wealthy must be brought down, their assets confiscated at once or little by little. To justify this, the economically successful must be shown to be greedy, dishonest parasites standing in the way of equal opportunity and economic justice. Their companies must be regulated, their incomes capped, their bonuses restricted, their assets taxed punitively. They must be stigmatized. "Activists" must appear in the news, denouncing the "greedy" rich and intimidating them in their neighborhoods. And Congress and the president "must act now" to pass more and more draconian measures to "rescue" the economy from the clutches of such greedy capitalists.

This sort of revolution has taken place at many times in many places. But it's not American, and it's not what our ancestors in this country fought for. We shouldn't permit it to take place here.

We need to halt the reckless course our government is following. Congress and President Obama need to be rebuked loudly by the American public: NO to the slavery of crushing debt! NO to federal "rescues" of failing companies, NO to the use of public money to prop up private investments and risky mortgages! NO to the devaluation of our currency by excessive printing of new money.

And we need to remember that our neighbors who go to work and produce things, who earn incomes and pay their bills, and sometimes even earn bonuses... these neighbors are NOT our enemies. Americans now more than ever need to be united in order to stand up to a government that ominously seems intoxicated with the desire to nationalize and socialize the economy, and promotes a hostile class mentality to achieve its goals.

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