Of what? Well, one thing for sure. With all the noise surrounding AIG paying bonuses with taxpayer money, I just can’t keep my hands off. The AIG bonuses are certain to cause controversy and outrage. But they are not an argument for governmental control of wages. Rather, they are an argument for taxpayer money staying out of private business.
There is no reason whatsoever for anyone to be upset with AIG or any of its leadership for their payment of bonuses. Here’s why: according to AIG’s most recent CEO, the bonus contracts were in place prior to the financial crisis. So what does that mean? Well, it means that taxpayers should be mad as hell about $165,000,000 of their money going to pay people they feel may be undeserving. But it also means that the anger taxpayers feel should be directed like a laser a single target: their Government. If these contracts were in place prior to the payment of any of these bailout funds then it was incumbent upon the government to do their due diligence and know how the money that they would be investing on behalf of the tax payers would be spent. They clearly did no do that despite that fact that they held all of the cards and could have forced AIG to turn itself inside out exposing all details of every contract in place before any funds were distributed. Be mad. Be very mad. But be mad at the incompetence demonstrated by the treasury and administration in their piss poor execution of a misguided bailout. The blame for the payment of underserved bonuses rests squarely on their shoulders. If the Treasury Department and the Administration did not want to pay executive bonuses with taxpayer money, they had the opportunity to avoid it.
Furthermore, any suggestion that breaking contracts is the right thing to do in this situation is an unfortunate testament to our profound collective ignorance at best, but could possibly be deeply insidious. The rule of law is precisely what makes a society free and great, and the idea that breaking contracts on an official, governmental scale is not a direct erosion of the rule of law is, again, either utterly foolish or betrays an underlying motive to do away with the rule of law. Oh, and it would be awful for business and the economy.
For color, I should add a note about the disgusting level of ignorance that is displayed on TV and radio by these churls who complain about this sort of thing without the faintest idea of how any of this business works, who is getting a bonus, why bonuses are being paid, what percentage of AIG’s total bailout funds are actually going to these bonuses for executives – based on the most recent payment of $30,000,000,000 it’s a mere 55 basis points, and it’s even less if you factor in all the money they’ve received – or anything else relevant. (Don’t know what a basis point is, you rube? Click here.) What’s really scary about this component of the situation is the fact that such widespread benightedness actually blinds people to the simple facts. Worse, it allows them to be manipulated by those whose ineptitude led to this outrage. That manipulation could then lead to adulation and appreciation of the men who so swiftly squandered the poor sap taxpayers’ money in the first place. And that could certainly lead to more failures of basic fiduciary responsibility that create the need for erosion of liberty, and the increased influence of those who, despite causing the problems, are consistently and repeatedly seen as the problems solvers and saviors. Oh, what a little education would do. And oh, how easy it is for an ignorant populace to be duped. But we could start before education. We could remain collectively ignorant and still solve this problem. All we would have to do is think a little or ask a question. That would be a start.