Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 June 2019 July 2019 August 2019 September 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Discordant Lines

by digby

Yesterday, Rahm Emmanuel was quoted saying that the AIG bonus scandal was a distraction and today David Axelrod says,“people are not sitting around their kitchen tables thinking about AIG, they are thinking about their own jobs.”

I don't think this is correct. I have personally heard people talking about this all over the place. Tune into any radio show --- and not just talk radio, but regular music shows --- and it's being discussed. The polls show that people are outraged. I know that Emmanuel and Axelrod aren't stupid so it's surprising to me that they would fall into the trap of minimizing something that has clearly become the symbol of the wealthy fat cats continuing to exploit the average person even after they wrecked the economy. It's remarkably tone deaf.

I know that it's unpleasant to think about all the hatred pouring forth against wealthy, powerful people. It could, after all, very easily spill over into the political class, who are ... wealthy powerful people. But you can't deal with it by acting as if it isn't happening.

To his credit, Obama has been saying the right things although the Republicans are reaching back to the campaign to try to resurrect the inexperienced celebrity charge and imply that Obama isn't working hard enough (which is rich considering the last president.) I don't honestly think people see it that way, but if they get the impression that he is being dismissive of the anger at AIG, it might be problematic.

Meanwhile, you have the press giving unctuous jerks like Mike Pence hours to flounce about superciliously pretending to be shocked by the rapacious Wall Street greedheads when just a couple of months ago they were saying any socialistic meddling in the magical goodness of private enterprise was tantamount to treason. It's quite the show.

Not that the Democrats are doing any better. Charlie Rangel and Norah O'Donnell just did a full Saturday Night Fever-worthy version of The Hustle in which they both huffed and puffed and danced around each other pretending not to know what the other was talking about. It's quite clear that the Dems are protecting the administration --- and the media knows it. But everything is putting on an act --- the press "insisting" on knowing who put the carve out in the bill and the Democrats responding as if they speak a foreign language and are getting a bad translation.

The whole thing is lame. The specific reasons for protecting the bonuses is still unknown, but we know they did it. At this point it's seems to me that the most logical supposition is that the Big Money Boyz are extorting the US Government, threatening to take the house of cards down with them if they don't get a payoff. Either that, or the Fed and the administration actually believe that the alleged masters of the universe who destroyed the financial system are in great demand at other companies somewhere and will leave the US government without the "skills" it needs to lead the economy out of the crisis if they aren't compensated with million dollar bonuses. And if they actually believe that we are in bigger trouble than we realize.

Update: Jane Hamsher details more of the same in this post. She cites a Roll Call article (subs req.) in which it's revealed that the banking lobbyists are swarming the hill trying to derail any restrictions on compensation. She notes that the lobbyists stand to personally gain from many of these bonus plans, which may explain why they are so energetically engaged.

But there's also a passage in the article that supports the "gun to the head" theory:

The swelling anger on Capitol Hill comes as the Obama administration is expected to roll out its plan to purchase toxic assets from the banks in a public-private partnership.

But any move to slap bonus restrictions on private investors that are part of the partnerships could scare them off, lobbyists said.

“If there is any hint that people investing in [Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility] are subject to those rules, they won’t raise any money,” said Ken Kies, a tax lobbyist and managing director of Federal Policy Group.

And to think we liberals were called treasonous when we opposed the invasion of Iraq. These people are not only unpatriotic, they are running a protection racket.

These asses can't compromise for a short period of time to stabilize the system that's made them millionaires and will make them even more money in the long run unless they can turn an immediate profit at it at taxpayers expense? While the average American worker is losing their jobs and homes, foregoing raises and health care and being asked to dramatically lower their expectations? They're sewing the seeds of their own demise. By being so recalcitrant about these bonuses, they may be making it impossible for Obama to maneuver short of nationalization. That's fine with me --- but I don't think that's what they want.

These people are believing their own hype. Apparently, they think they actually produce something when, in fact, they are simply deal makers, middle men, gamblers and paper pushers. Those things are often useful and always present. But the idea that they are indispensable may be just a tad overstated. And they may just find that out.