Thursday, October 09, 2008

God have mercy on us all. . .

Just how far off the mark can we get?

By now we've all heard, seen and/or read reports about the weekend junket attended by AIG executives that ran up a tab of $442,000 after the recent federal bailout of the failing company to the tune of $85,000,000,000.

Here's how The New York Times reported the event:

One particular point of contention during the hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was a weeklong retreat that a life insurance subsidiary, AIG General, held for its top sales agents at the St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, Calif., only a week after the government extended its $85 billion loan last month.

The $442,000 in expenses for the week included $150,000 for food and $23,000 in spa charges, according to documents obtained by the committee.

Joe Norton, A.I.G.’s director of public relations, said in an interview that the event had been scheduled last year, though he did not know whether executives had considered canceling the retreat after the bailout.

Read the entire story here.

I'm sorry, but we've got a problem when. . .

. . .it's really okay to give incredibly rich people enormous amounts of money and luxury experiences, but it's not at all okay to give very, very poor people money or access to the assistance that they need simply to live.

. . .we are outraged by the urban myth of the "welfare Cadillac," but we find it easy to turn the other way when we consider the price tag for runaway, out-of-control greed at work in the center of our public square.

. . .mega-rich executives command exorbitant bonuses and severance packages in the millions of dollars, but children living in make-shift, substandard housing don't have enough to eat, proper clothing to wear or decent neighborhoods in which to grow up. [Yesterday, I toured a friend through a neighborhood in Dallas where the average annual household income is just above $10,000.]

. . .the ultra-rich and powerful so completely control the national political and policy agenda that over the course of three presidential and vice-presidential debates the subject of the national disgrace of poverty and what to do about its various manifestations has not come up even once in a question and neither party has addressed the subject in any meaningful manner at all.

Yes. We have a major problem as a people.

May God have mercy on us all.



Chris said...

Larry, off the subject, but you said a while back that ACORN cared about the same subjects you cared about.

Would you like to revise your opinion? They have always been a corrupt organization and Obama's prints are all over it.

I have been traveling out West so I had to catch up.

Larry James said...

Chris, could you point me to the exact comment that you have in mind. I don't remember commenting on the work of ACORN. We haven't had much contact with them here, but my understanding is that they do community organizing, something we have found positive in renewal efforts of distressed communities.

Anonymous said...

This incident shows a staggering lack of judgment. Talk about fiddling while Rome burns! I remember a story from the heady days of the late 90's about some English investment bankers who celebrated the closing of a big deal by spending over $100,000 on dinner at an elite Paris restaurant (including single bottles of wine costing over $10,000). Perhaps because the English have a sense of propriety (and shame), they were fired for it. And that was when things were booming. American execs on the other hand spend $442,000 while their company is falling apart, and are likely unapologetic. Something is indeed wrong!

Daniel Gray said...

Utterly disgusting...

And we claim that the poor are the ones who need financial education. I don't know any poor people who have a major financial crisis in their families and then proceed to go run up massive debt on lavish vacations and other stuff. Perhaps we need to rethink who needs a better understanding of financial responsibility in this country.

Fajita said...

I recall the day when the House did not pass the initial "bailout" package and whatever news show I was watching had an audio clip of angry Wall Street traders calling politicians "idiots" for not passing the bill.

They were literally angry that they did not get a trillion dollars to loosen up their credit issues. Like some one owes them a million dollars because they made terrible finanacial decisions!!!

It would appear that tight money situations and financial insecurity is a human problem, not just a "poor" problem. My how the tables have turned.

I wonder how many people are too poor to be impacted by the Wall Street economic melt down - not because they are insulated from it, but because it just couldn't get any worse than it is ALWAYS for them.

When poor people don't have enough money, they need to quit being lazy, get a job and access the American opporuntity, BUT when rich people don't have enough money (by their standards), we must rush them as much as they claim to need.

I know I am generalizing and it is not totally fair, but the bizarre stroy on the ground here is that it seems their is much more interest in keeping the wealthy wealthy and the poor can fend for themselves.

And to your point, a half million bucks for pampering fat catson taxpayers tab is nothing short of thievery.

Breathe. End of tirade.

sayeretmatkal said...

It's called a "bailout" when it's for the wealthy. It's called "welfare" and "socialism" when it's for the poor.

Chris said...

That would be Oct 2, 6:38AM


Anonymous said...

For those of you who don't have the time to look it up, here's the quote Chris is referring to:

"I haven't had any direct experience with ACORN, but I do know they care about the same individuals and communities that I care about."

It's buried in the middle of a paragraph about CRA requirements.

Some people have too much time and too much paranoia to be worth talking to. IMHO.

Daniel Gray said...

Chris - you failed to read the whole story about ACORN. ACORN has internal checks on their voter registration to prevent fraud. The repeatedly turned in fraudulent registrations to the state election commission, which chose not to respond to the problems. They had two meetings over the summer with the officials, who again ignored their requests. Now all the sudden they raid the office? Sounds like a purely political stunt to me.

Amy Boone said...

This is nothing short of nauseating. I have been so stunned over these shenanigans I don't even know what to say. I, too, have noticed virtually NO MENTION by either candidate for issues of poverty. This only puncuates the depression I have about this election.

Justin said...

Its disgusting that these executives would do this. There's no excuse.

However, don't forget, there are some of us who are just as vehemently against corporate welfare as they are for any government handouts. Spending money that the country doesn't have is a major major problem. I'd prefer they didn't do it at all, but that's the cards we've been dealt.

However, don't forget which party voted overwhelmingly against the bailout, and which party voted for it. The problem is not one party or another... the problem is what the role of government is. Is it to save us from any possible bad thing that could happen in our lives, or is it for setting up the situation that gives people avenues for making a living.