The Great Grab is on: American government is a treasure chest where anyone who needs cash – and has political clout in Congress – can reach in and help himself. Take shell-shocked CEOs facing Christmas without bonuses (which sounds a lot like bankruptcy to them).
Like GM: Consumers are spending less, buying fewer cars, so GM’s cash is dropping and a congressional bail-out is the cure. But wouldn’t you be more impressed if GM had first announced it was cutting its executives’ salaries – even if it was just the executives making over $1 million – to help itself stay afloat? Granted that would have been unfortunate but wouldn’t it have also made common sense? Instead what America’s battered executives want is relief from their pain and they have turned out to be phenomenally successful getting it. Congress has saved AIG, Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Citigroup, GM, Ford and Chrysler – and spent a trillion dollars.
And the governors are learning from the CEOs: They have asked Obama to give them $138 billion to ease their pain. Back in October earmarks were taboo. Now Governor Schwarzenegger wants $28 billion for projects for the folks back home in California. So what in Washington has changed since Obama got elected?
Here’s one definition of the difference between a banker and a congressman: A banker loans money meaning to get it back; a congressman loans it based on politics, and the Democrats in Congress, oddly enough, have turned out to be the best friends big business ever had.
The Great Grab is on and when the smoke clears we’re going to have a Democratic Congress running the biggest corporations in America. But what if Barney Frank’s administrative genius can’t turn GM around?
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