We are a nation surrounded by cream-filled donuts, and we’re determined to eat every one no matter how much it hurts us.
We’re overindulging not in fat and calories, but in anger. Pent-up frustration has combined with Obama-fueled empowerment, and we can’t stop ourselves.
The latest chapter is AIG bonuses. Understand:
1) AIG was contractually obligated to pay $165 million in bonuses. Our liability for nonpayment, now that we are the owners of the company, would far exceed the bonuses paid out.
2) We need some AIG executives to stay at the firm if, as taxpayers, we are to have any chance of seeing our money again. We have $170 billion tied up in the company, and we need insiders to sort out its complex transactions.
3) AIG’s mistakes were far from unique. Millions of people who took our home equity loans, obtained mortgage loans, developed real estate, built houses, invested in real estate and bought shares in banks made the same mistake. We did not expect housing values to decline.
4) New York A.G. Andrew Cuomo is grandstanding and abusing his authority, and President Obama isn’t doing much better.
5) It is not AIG’s fault that it was “too big to fail.” We did not bail the company out as a favor, but to save an economy that relied too heavily on too few businesses. We should have regulated, but we didn’t.
We all need to chill out. Rather than fueling the flames, our president should blaze a path toward wisdom.