Who Is Outraged?
So let’s understand this.
The government precipitates a fiscal crisis by
1.) Authorizing/encouraging banks to make bad real estate loans: President Clinton with the help of both Repubs and Dems in Congress;
2.) Repealing Glass Steagall: President Clinton, egged on by Senator Phil Gramm and with the help of both Repubs and Dems in Congress;
3.) Fending off all oversight and regulation of taxpayer-backed Fannie and Freddie: Congressman Barney Frank, all by his little self.
[Other/overlooked failures cheerfully appended.]
The government – one Republican president, one Democrat president and lots of Repubs and Dems in Congresss – then tries to fix the problem it created by shoveling massive amounts of our tax dollars out the door, much of it without strings or conditions (by the way, why didn’t regulation-adoring Democrats scream bloody murder about this at the time? but this is intended to be a bi-partisan/anti-partisan post), in an effort to correct market and other forces that need to work themselves out “naturally”. Side note: painful as that would be, it would be much less painful in the long run than dismantling what remained of a capitalist economy and converting to … something else, whatever that would be.
Yet for the last couple of days, Congressman Frank, the junior Senator from Rhode Island and other federal officials have been very indignantly directing outrage at the private corporations involved for distributing bonuses that they (our elected officials) facilitated?
Getting out the calculator here … Hang on … Yup, trillions of dollars wasted on bailouts and stimuli is a larger amount than $165 million wasted on unearned bonuses.
I agree it is outrageous that hard earned (and not yet earned) tax dollars have been distributed in this and other irresponsible fashions. But with their high dudgeon pronouncements, aren’t our elected officials really saying,
Pay no attention to the trillions we’ve spent like sailors on shore leave. Look! Look at those millions being spent over there!
In short, how can this dramatic reaction by our elected officials be viewed as anything other than a vigorous attempt to distract us and deflect blame from themselves?