This week, the President waxed highly indignant that American International Group (AIG), Inc. gave out some $165 million in contractual bonuses after receiving more than one-thousand times that amount, some $173 billion, in taxpayer-guaranteed bailouts.
Unfortunately for the White House, the whole episode ultimately has unwittingly turned into a net negative for the president. It's an irony, and one that could prove quite damaging in 2010.
The New York Times' Adam Nagourney laid out the beginnings of the Great Bonus Scam just on March 15th in some detail in his piece, “Bracing for a Bailout Over Wall Street Bailouts,” writing that “The administration's sharp rebuke of the American International Group on Sunday for handing out $165 million in executive bonuses… marks the latest effort by the White House to distance itself from abuses that could feed potentially disruptive public anger.”
At first the feigned outrage was nothing more than a contrived red herring to divert and deflect public outrage over bailouts away from government that gave undeserving bailouts onto the undeserving firms that gobbled them up.
Only Mr. Obama forgot to wash the pungent scent of the herring off his hands before posturing and preening at the podium. And, instead of throwing off the trail, once the hounds were done ripping the red herring to shreds, they showed up back on the doorstep of the White House, itself.
What they discovered was the fact that the President had actually signed the legislation—the $787 billion “stimulus”—that guaranteed that the controversial contractual bonuses would be paid. What's worse was the admission by Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) that he inserted the amendment at the explicit direction of Mr. Obama's Treasury.
To be fair to the President, it is possible that he still has not read the 1100-page bill that he made law. So it not altogether surprising that he is the first president to denounce his own legislation—only a month after enacting it. Bravo.
Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here