Friday, February 6, 2009

The high and mighty...

Photo credit: Spiegel Online

Of late the public has been regaled with visions of politicians chastising others they hold responsible for the current state of economic distress of our country. For example, SEC commissioners, bankers, Wall Street tycoons, etc. have all been loudly and publicly chastised for their short-sightedness, failures, and other errors of commission and/or omission... However, one never sees the 'ruling political classes' actually taking a look at themselves or engaging in any soul-searching re possible shortcomings of their own. Quite the opposite. In fact very often it is the politicians making the most noise that are those who have played the biggest role in this denouement.

The failure to take responsibility starts at the top. President Obama recently said, “I found this national debt, doubled, wrapped in a big bow waiting for me as I stepped into the Oval Office.” Hmm, didn't he have an opportunity to vote on every piece of tax raising and expenditure legislation the last four years while he was in the Senate? A similar lack of willingness to assume any responsibility appears to permeate the fiber of all our politicians.

From 'GOP Opposes Pay Limits On Bailed-Out Bankers.'

"One House Democratic aide quipped that bankers should be required to jump through some of the same hoops that welfare recipients are, beyond a simple salary cap. He suggested making bankers fulfill a strict work requirement and submit a time sheet, signed by a supervisor -- perhaps the Board of Directors -- in 15-minute intervals, proving that they worked 40 hours each week. Only certain activities would count, as is the case with TANF recipients.

"That three hour jet ride to get to the meeting in Chicago doesn't count. Reading the Wall Street Journal is also not a countable activity. If they fail to do this once, you cut them off of TARP funds. If they fudge the time sheet, you charge them with TARP fraud and make them pay back any government money they've received," the aide joked. "I'm sensing a legislative opportunity."

OK, the point that we have different rules for the poor and for the rich is absolutely on point and inexcusable. Of course, the weak point to this argument is that it wasn't the Wall Street types (or even just the Republicans) that brought about this state of affairs, it was the politicians of both parties. But, as per usual, the trick is to denounce these harsh rules as if they just came into being by themselves i.e. take no responsibility.

This blogger believes that it would be a good idea to extend this to the political class that runs this country, and who arguably bear as much, if not more, responsibility for the sad state of affairs as the reviled bankers... How about our representatives and senators also having to fulfill a strict work requirement, proving documentation of their workload. Only certain activities would count! Fund raising, limousine rides, self-congratulatory speeches, scratching another pol's back, engaging in quid pro quos, etc. would not be countable activities. If they engage in any of these or similarly proscribed activities they can be charged with fraud and made to pay back all government money they have received (i.e. their salaries). After all, what's good for the goose...

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