Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What Should Happen to Executives?

A recent headline read, "Senator suggests AIG execs should kill themselves." Now that is an attention grabber, so I read the story. Basically, Senator Grassley from Iowa suggested that AIG executives who received billions in federal bailout money and then awarded themselves $165 million in executive bonuses should follow the Japanese example and come before the American people, take a deep bow, say, "I'm sorry," and then either resign or commit suicide.

It seems to me the senator has some passion about his feelings towards the executives who accepted American taxpayer funds to reward themselves. Perhaps, some would say they deserve the bonuses. After all, they did find the money to bail out their companies. Don't they deserve it?

I am curious as to why anyone might be surprised at the actions of these executives. For is that not the nature of what they do? Are not they rewarded for successfully creating a profit for their company? This sort of reminds me of the fable of the Scorpian and the Frog. Scorpions will do what scorpions do (it's their nature) and people will do what people do.

So what can we do? Is there anything we can do? Are we powerless against greed, corruption, dirty politics, broken promises, and the like?


Anonymous said...

It amazes me how the politicians have made such a huge thing out of the use of .01% of the bailout money. Everyone knows the word "bonus" in the corporate world means "salary", and has little to do with performance. This is another example of human nature. As you said, "Scorpions do what scorpions do". Politicians do what politicians do. They blame others for their mistakes. It was the politicians who forced the banks to loan money to people who couldn't repay it, and caused the banks to collapse. It was the politicians who spent our (somehow they think it's theirs) tax money like drunken sailors, and now think they can get us out of debt by spending more. The sad thing is that so few "good" people want to run for office, because they know that 1) they would be so outnumbered that they probably couldn't get anything done, and 2) they would basically be sacrificing the rest of their lives, because the media would distort and destroy them.

agedwirehead said...

American citizens have chosen leaders who believe that only they can solve economic "problems" by their own "large" actions. Our leaders value the "wisdom" of the "economic leaders" of the world. Who are these people and what do they know?

Regardless of which economic model these fine folks believe in they play large with other people's wealth. (I use the word "believe" because it is their faith--all evidence is circumstantial, models are known to fail, and "scientific" experiments are impossible.) I believe that they also act with the following beliefs:

1) They act for the benefit of others who are not as smart, capable, or knowledgeable.

2) They deserve all the money they receive, but no one else does.

3) Those who are too involved in the "micro" economy are ignorant of the "macro" economy and must be excludes from any discusions.

4) All life is relative, all that matters is that others believe that you are "special" and give you free access to their wealth.

These beliefs vary not one whit from the Scribes and Pharisees of 2000 years ago, the courts of James or Alexander, or any of the Caesars.

I sat through a presentation on why a parish should should borrow 2.5 million dollars to build a new building. We were encouraged to vote for this with fake numbers written on a white board. Trouble was the numbers just didn't add up, and we had wasted hundreds of thousands on "fund raisers" . When the discrepancies were pointed out (there were about 2 million of them), we were told, "You just don't see the big picture: The Parish will fail if we don't do this!"

Charlatans are in the ascendancy these days. They come in all sorts of clothing and are in all walks of life. They tell us that they can solve our problem du jour, which they have created, but we must provide them all our money and any money our children or grandchildren might ever be able to make.

If I understand this correctly, this amounts to selling ourselves into slavery. In the Old Testament, one couldn't sell oneself into slavery beyond the year of Jubilee (7 times 7 years). We have no such limit.

I remember folks trying to pump silver iodide into clouds to "break the drought". They came to town acting "humble and intelligent" and took what we now see as "small time money" to drive a pickup truck around with a barrel in the back belching a could of silver iodide.

Today they want to sell us on the value of derivatives, a claim of man-made global climate change, that capital must be managed by the state, that they are very much smarter, more knowledgeable, and wiser than the rest of us.

They direct our attention from the transcendent God and tell us He is either non-existent, expressed in the collective of Nature, or described by a collective of all of mankind's spiritual and religious efforts (excluding, of course, any real reading of Holy Scripture.)

Life is a shell game in their eyes, and we are the marks. They take our attention off their theft of the largest single sum in history by getting us to focus on the supposed greed of some inconsequential group. Facts about the group do not matter, nor does the behavior or effort of members of the targeted group.

If we continue to allow these thieves to distract us with "class" destruction, we will never keep our "eyes on the prize". Do we even know what the prize is anymore?

The Layman said...

There is the old saying, "Never discuss politics or religion." Perhaps those two subjects are the Devils best thoughts. Many within our visible church think, "That's not my job, leave it to one MORE qualified." The politician thinks along the same lines, He says,"I don't know anything about huge financial matters, I'll leave the regulatory process to those who claim to be experts." Meanwhile the Deceiver is dancing at his own glorious party, as both types of 'Servants To the Public' can't help each other past the life discomforts he caused.

Anonymous said...

The Senator from Iowa is disingenous at best and lying through his teeth at worst. Those bonuses were included in the legislation passed by congress to give AIG the money, if fact the Obama administration insisted language be in the bill that would retain the bonuses. The Sec of Treasury lied to congress when he said he did not know about them and had to admit as much when Senator Dodd admitted the language protecting the bonuses was put in by the administration. The when it sees the light of day the congress and the President feign ignorance and send their henchmen to harass the people. I don't think anyone should get any bonus when the company is in the situation AIG was in, but the behavior of the congress and the President in this case is even worse.