Monday, March 30, 2009

Robbed with a fountain pen

Yes, as through this world I’ve wandered
I’ve seen lots of funny men;
Some will rob you with a six-gun,
And some with a fountain pen.
— Woody Guthrie

True in 1939; true today.

We’ve been pencil-whipped half to death by a bunch of cons. Armed robbery is honest work compared to the financial machinations that have left us shoveling our good money after bad.

Over the past two weeks I’ve heard over and over that we just need to get over the AIG bonus flap. Sure it stinks, the argument goes, but the principle of contract is more important than sticking it to greedy bums.

I don’t buy it. Yes, in the great scheme of things, it’s a small amount of money. But we should be angry — angry at what this represents.

An awful lot of people are sick of playing by one set of rules while fat cats and politicians seem to play by a whole other set of “rules” that make sense only on the other side of the looking glass.

People are outraged because the idea of people getting bonuses when they’ve run their company into the ground is outrageous. Who agreed to these contracts? Why did Treasury release bailout funds knowing that they were in place?

There’s also a major-league double-standard at play here. The same folks who say we have to get over the AIG (and other) bonuses will tell you that the auto industry simply has to get rid of its (contractual) labor burden.

That may well be true, but it kinda makes the “a contract is a contract” argument stink like week-old fish.

Jim Cornelius, Editor

1 comment:

  1. Jim,
    This blog post was from about a week ago, but I think it is still relevant:

    Technically, they might be able to reinflate the bubble, or inflate a new one, but I am not so comfortable with billions of dollars going to the people that got us into this mess.