The AIG distraction

We are as outraged as anyone about the unconscionable bonuses paid to AIG executives who helped bring the company down. But we quickly are becoming just as outraged with a Congress that fritters away valuable time grandstanding about the AIG bonuses.

Yes, they were an affront to taxpayers, who own most of AIG. And yes, we wish the recipients would pay them back. That would be the right thing to do. But it’s not likely, and so be it.

Congress, on the other hand, has spent countless hours for the past 10 days doing nothing but have various members tell us they never supported TARP and they never would have supported legislation that allowed the bonuses to be paid.

Rep. Barney Frank wants the names. The names!

Yes, that will solve our problems. Just get the names of the people who got the bonuses, then the economy will heal, at once.

Congress has pointed fingers everywhere except where it should. Congressmen should point right at themselves. They created the conditions that allowed AIG to issue bonuses after receiving $170 billion of our money. They are the culprits.

If one must have some names, take these: Sen. Chris Dodd and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. It’s clear now that they are the ones responsible for deleting a safeguard from TARP that allowed the bonuses. Pillory them if you must. They deserve it, Dodd in particular. He has trouble remembering from one day to the next what his role was. One day he says he had nothing to do with it. The next he says, well, yes, he did, but he did it only because the Treasury Department asked him. Sure.

It has become nothing more than a sideshow — as outrageous as the bonuses. Congress should get on with more important work.


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