Posted by Meg | Posted in Barney Frank, Big Issues, Chris Dodd, Democrats, Economy, Editorial, Global Crisis, Harry Reid, Links, Must See, Nancy Pelosi, News, Obama, Socialism, Stimulus Bills, Taxes, Transparency | Posted on 25-03-2009
What happens when you make brash generalizations? You make yourself look like a fool. What happens when you make generalized assumptions about an entire group of people? You betray your own prejudices.
That’s what I believe has happened – among other things – with the vilification of generalized, anonymous, faceless A.I.G. “Executives”. Certain members of Congress, along with the Attorneys General of various states, would have us believe that every executive who ever worked at A.I.G. is directly responsible for all the credit default swaps that landed them and the American economy in such turmoil. Furthermore, not only is it every executive’s fault – regardless of whether they were even in the same departments that handled those credit default swaps or not – all of those executives are also totally heartless, greedy, disgusting bastards who deserve to die for so blatantly disrespecting and victimizing the tax-payers by doing something so wrong, so dastardly, so disgusting as… receiving payment for their hard work, as dictated by contracts signed by those in charge, both at A.I.G. and in the Federal government. If we believe what we’re being told by the likes of Barney Frank, *every* executive is a criminal who deserves to be “named and shamed”, who deserves no sympathy for the death threats they and their families are being subjected to, and who ultimately deserves the first ever retroactive, personally targeted, over-the-top, 90% taxation that was just enacted by Congress, despite the fact such taxation legislation so blatantly violates the Constitution (another contract that no one seems to hold must esteem for these days.)
This is another rash generalization. Not only does it make those who make such generalizations look like fools, and not only does it betray their prejudices, but good people who have done absolutely nothing wrong are being hurt in the process.
Oh, and we, the American people, are also being hopelessly distracted from much more important and pressing issues.
This point is beautifully illustrated by none other than one of those awful executives from A.I.G, Mr. Jake DeSantis. He’s taking an awful risk revealing his name, but I believe that what he has to say is important. After all, didn’t our parents teach us to walk a mile in another man’s shoes before we criticize them? And no, not just so that when we do criticize them we’re a mile away and we have their shoes. No, no, the point is, we need to look at both sides before grabbing our pitchforks and running people out of town who may be completely and utterly innocent. Mob rule isn’t the answer here; reason is.
So for the sake of reason, I beg you to take a look at the letter of resignation which Mr. Jake DeSantis sent to Edward M. Liddy, the Chief Executive of A.I.G. It explains a few things from the point of view of the executives that we’re all being riled up to hate.
Before any of us say another word about these executives, I wish we’d all calm down for a minute and think about a few things. First, contracts should be sacred and the government has no right to interfere with them, especially with regard to contracts that they themselves agreed to.
Secondly, before we let mob rule trump our reason, perhaps we should ask ourselves, who is it that’s trying to get us to behave like a bunch of vicious, thoughtless, violent rioters in the first place? Perhaps then we might have a better idea about what really went on here, and who’s really to blame. Not some faceless, nameless, villain of an executive, but some politicians who didn’t even bother to read the biggest, most expensive bill in the history of our country before they voted for it. They’re the ones who signed a contract before reading the fine print (hell, they didn’t even let us read it!) If that happened to us, the little people, we’d be the ones to blame. We’d be the ones with our credit ruined and our possessions being taken away. Yet Congress is trying to shift the blame and attention onto others, hoping they’ll get away with something tremendously stupid – which, by the way, we’re currently paying the price for. Congress entered into this contract, a contract which simply stated that executives – like any other employee of a company – should be compensated for their work. Whether the Congressmen and Senators now feel that compensation was too high, it’s too bad, so sad. It’s their fault for not reading the fine print. So hold them responsible, not the people who simply got paid for doing their job. If that contract can’t stand, if the government can interfere in that contract, then who’s to say they can’t interfere in one of yours? Who’s to say you won’t be the next villain to distract the people of America from yet another of Congress’ sins? Walk a mile in the shoes of those executives before being so quick to judgment, then maybe you’ll understand why this entire situation is so entirely wrong.