The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Nothing to See Here

Ed Koch , a past Mayor of New York City and one of the very few politicians with a national profile who has some semblance of both intelligence and integrity, comments on the continuing debacle that is TARP and our collective econonmic collapse:
The average citizen is terrified about the future and does not fully comprehend the implications of all of the bailout money - trillions of dollars - that is being handed out to the business institutions. Those in charge of the carnage are telling the American people that we do not have the right to know how or where those trillions will end up. Because of public outrage over A.I.G., which has received $170 billion in bailout funds, this week A.I.G. released a partial list of the companies receiving TARP money, a list that includes Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Bank of America and Wachovia. While the payments are apparently legitimate, the attempted cover-up was infuriating.

When Koch suggests that “The average citizen is terrified about the future and does not fully comprehend the implications of all of the bailout money,” he has it only half right. It appears that no one, from Barack Obama to Tim Geithner to our “leaders” in Congress have the slightest idea of what’s going on. Their mantra, it seems, is to throw gargantuan sums of money at a problem that is ill-defined in the hope that it will somehow get better. Irresponsible, greedy executives are rewarded for their incompetence while future generations of Americans are being saddled with crushing debt. It is, to be blunt, a travesty. And it’s incredible that the MSM and the general public is as sanguine about it as they are.

The Obama administration is moving in far too many different directions (vectors) to be effective with solutions for any single problem. Heck, I’m beginning to think they don’t even understand the problems, relying instead on ideological memes that have little basis in reality.

The President’s adoring supporters seem oblivious to the dangers of printing trillions of dollars in an effort to fix the economy, fix health care, and fix education, to name only a few. No matter that trillions have been frittered away over the past six months. Spend trillions more! Why not?

Koch has it exactly right when he states:
Where are all the blowhards in Congress who tell us they are protecting the public? Why don't we have a committee comparable to the committee that examined and publicly reported on 9-11? The devastation to the U.S. economy and individual Americans is enormous. Surely this self-inflicted debacle requires an honest reporting on how it happened and who was and is responsible in public office and in the private sector.

A non-Congressional blue ribbon panel should be appointed by the president forthwith while memories are fresh. TIME magazine recently identified 25 people who the magazine believes bear culpability. I have no doubt there are many times that number who, at the very least, deserve public identification and some who should end up in prison. Let's hold the thieves and their enablers accountable.

The answer to Koch’s question, I think, is that too many members of Congress are culpable in this disaster. Too much political money was funneled to the heads of banking and other oversight committees in the years before the crash. So our “leaders” prefer not to investigate, There’s nothing to see here, they imply, just move on.

It’s time for the public to get angry—really angry—and to let the “blowhards in Congress” know it. Its time for the public to recognize that even an intelligent, charismatic President must expected exhibit more fiduciary responsibility than the executives who mismanaged AIG, CitiGroup, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America and Wachovia. So far, he has not done so.

Addendum (3/17/09):
Those of us who expressed some reservations about candidate Barack Obama suggested that he was, at his core, a proponent of big government and a believer that government was the solution to most, if not all, of our problems. As the months pass it, the President has done little to dispel that concern.

Barack Obama likes to conjure the words and images of Abraham Lincoln in his speeches. He might be well served to heed the words of another great president, Thomas Jefferson: “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”