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Michelle Malkin
Michelle Malkin
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Look Beyond the Bogus Bonus Smokescreen


"We will hunt you down!" thundered Colorado Democratic Rep. Jared Polis during the AIG bonus demagogue-a-thon on the House floor Thursday. "If they're not going to give [the bonuses] back, we're going to take them back," growled Alabama Democratic Rep. Artur Davis, who vowed to recover the taxpayers' "ill-gotten gains" from rogue corporate executives. House Republicans pressed the Democrats on who knew what and when regarding the AIG bonus protections included in Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd's now infamous amendment to the stimulus bill. Rep. Barney Frank shrieked about the Bush administration's culpability. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi smugly patted Democrats on the back for "protecting the national interest."

I ask you now to turn away from the bogus bonus smokescreen over $165 million in taxpayer-backed compensation packages for AIG employees. It is a pittance compared to the gargantuan spending spree happening right under our noses. The AIG bonus price tag amounts to one tenth of 1 percent of the total AIG giveaway ($85 billion in September, $37.8 billion in October; $40 billion in November; $30 billion in early March), which took place with the assent of a Republican administration, a Democratic administration and the congressional leadership of both parties.

Taxpayers might be less skeptical of the born-again guardians of fiscal responsibility if these evangelists were actually practicing what they preached. While the Obama administration now issues impassioned calls to stop rewarding failure, they moved Thursday to dump another $5 billion into the failing auto industry. That's on top of Thursday's announcement by the Federal Reserve to print $1 trillion to buy Treasury bonds and mortgage securities sold by the government — which no one else wants to buy.

Financial blogger Barry Ritholtz tallied up $8.5 trillion in bailout costs by December 2008 between Federal Reserve, FDIC, Treasury and Federal Housing Administration rescues (not including the $5.2 trillion in Fannie and Freddie portfolios that the U.S.

taxpayer is now explicitly responsible for). Then there's the (at least) $50 billion proposed by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in February to bail out home owners and lenders who made bad home loan decisions, which would be just a small sliver of the $2.5 trillion he wants to spend on the next big banking bailout, which would draw on the second $350 billion of the TARP package over which an increasing number of Chicken Little lawmakers are having buyer's remorse.

Phew. We're not done yet: As AIG-bashing lawmakers inveighed against wasted taxpayer funds and lamented the lack of accountability and rush to judgment that led to passage of the porkulus bill that mysteriously protected the bonuses, the Senate quietly passed a $10 billion lands bill stuffed with earmarks and immunized from amendments. GOP Sen. Tom Coburn, fiscal conservative loner, pointed out that none of the provisions for special-interest pork projects — including $3.5 million in spending for a birthday bash celebrating the city of St. Augustine, Fla. — was subject to public hearings. That's on top of the pork-stuffed $410 billion spending bill passed two weeks ago.

Oh, and did I mention that the House passed a $6 billion volunteerism bill (the "GIVE Act") on Wednesday to provide yet another pipeline to left-wing advocacy groups under the guise of encouraging national service?

Also coming down the pike: the Obama administration's "cap-and-trade" global warming plan, which Hill staffers learned this week could cost close to $2 trillion (nearly three times the White House's initial estimate) and the administration's universal health care scheme, which health policy experts reported this week could cost about $1.5 trillion over the next decade.

It is no wonder that when earlier this week Vice President Joe Biden told local officials in Washington that he was "serious, absolutely serious" about policing wasteful spending in Washington, he was met with the only rational response his audience could muster: laughter.

Michelle Malkin is author of "Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild." Her e-mail address is



3 Comments | Post Comment
Obviously the DC spending cult just keeps its own life growing and, also obvious, "we the people" keep on paying for it! One day I hope "we" wake up and decide enough honestly IS enough. But I'm certainly not holding my breath.
Comment: #1
Posted by: bill s
Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:06 AM
Re: bill s;... Come on, Bill... Hold your breath until you turn blue; red and white too...I wish you would read what follows that 'We the People'....It might open your eyes to the legitimate obligation of government....It says nothing about going to war for capitalism, or selling our national property to capital when capital will not support the government, or the people with it....Where does it say that we the people have to prop up the economy when reason says all economies must support the population???Look at the way those crooks run down socialism, and then run to the socialists for money to fund capitalism...There is no excuse for this nonsense, and the people can see through it, that in keeping the bankers in business the government is only keeping parasites in business... We will fail, and they will own us, but the government will not let them fail...Who will keep the government in business once they lose the trust of the people???The banks are broke.... The government is broke, and the people are broke...Can you believe this is true??? Because I see that one of these three is lying through their teeth... The rich own everything, but cannot liquify the economy, and giving them money which they refuse to pay back only makes their ownership more complete... We the People have to get rid of them the government...But if we try to keep this economy it will corrupt any government we will form...We have to get rid of both together...We have to take the wealth of this land back...It does not matter as a practical fact if property is in public or private hands...Who ever holds it, the land must still support the people... We cannot all run into the ocean like so many lemmings to please the rich... We have to make certain our government, new, and not old government; will follow the goals of the preamble of our constitution... All the rest can be safely trashed, and re written....Capital is just one ideology that has dragged our government off course..There is nothing wrong with our goal, but everything wrong with the rut we are stuck in trying to get there.... Thanks...Sweeney
Comment: #2
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:48 AM
Ma'am;... The people you call demagogues are only responding to the fact that to the people, laws must be just and moral to be legal... Too often, government has gotten away with writing laws that are not just; and in this instance, with these bonuses; the people realize that the contracts are unjust to the people, and so, cannot be legal...It is a terrible thing when the people grow tired of their leaders misleading them, and then have to take the goverment by the nose...Mr. Obama called the affair a tizzie...Sworn to uphold the laws, he does not feel at liberty to judge the laws...And so, with a binding contract, he decides not to hazzard the government's money on a cause that is clearly bound to fail in the courts...What he does not realize is that the power of government to make laws to suit some particular class and punish another particular class has given the government the power to make laws having no part of justice...What is law when it has lost the trust and support of the people??? What is law when only the coercive power of government to punsih or reward gives it force???Mr. Obama has his education in the form we call law; and it is the rare individual who can see beyond the form in which he is fashioned...The people are beginning to see law from an entirely new perspective, where every injury done to them and to their society was quite legal, and not one bit Just....We know out of instinct, if nothing else, that we cannot live without justice; and that even the wanting of justice makes our lives miserable affairs... Justice is the genus, said Abalard, and Law is a species of justice.... This the people know: that for law to be law it must also be justice...The congress does not want to demagogue... The people are leading them by the nose... The people are beginning to lead their leaders...Who knows where they will go???Who can hide from the people the fact that the public purse, and public property, and the whole structure of law and government has been turned to making a single class bloated rich while the poor watch it all like so many scared scare crows...This is our land, and who ever has the trust of ownership; that land must still support this people...In addition; this country, and this world has only always had one true law, and it is the will of the people... And no matter how often law has been made to serve the masters, it must inevitably be returned to the service of the people...Demagoguery will not save the government from the wrath of the people....They better watch well to not tick the people off worser yet....Thanks...Sweeney
Comment: #3
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Sun Mar 22, 2009 9:24 AM
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