It it starting to appear that, if the Senate can’t first head it off at the pass, President Obama will not allow Congress to vent its anger through the tax code and pick the pockets of the weasels at AIG who accepted huge bonuses from the company they helped destroy.
I don’t know this for sure, its just my take on his 60 Minutes interview aired tonight, coupled with the perception that cooler heads are prevailing, and that in the rear view mirror the last week is looking more like a collective hissy fit than responsible government or intelligent public policy.
In today’s NYT, Thomas Friedman likens our actions to a those of children home alone. I don’t totally agree with his solutions, but he certainly gets props for bravery. Even the appearance of standing up for the AIG bandits paints a bullseye on your back.
The problem: this is a world crisis of confidence, and we are beholden to a lot of people who made this mess to help us get out of it. We knew or should have known they were greedy pigs when we let them build this house of cards, but nobody in power wanted to stop them because on paper the rich were getting richer.
Now all of a sudden we’re surprised that they’re greedy and we’re angry that they know where all the bodies are buried. Like Bernie Madoff and tens of thousands of other criminals who have information that will solve quandries, they have us beholden to them. At least for the short term.
When our country was attacked, we took great pride in a president who turned that into political capital, standing on the wreckage of our biggest financial edifice and vowing to exact a pound of flesh. But we now realize we took our anger out on the wrong people, and in the end we only made things worse.
Now a new president is standing on a financial wreckage while politicians around him demagogue the American people into demanding a pound of flesh yet again. This time it appears we have a president smart enough to realize that immediate visceral reactions may feel good today, but in the end they just make things worse.