Final note on AIG (hopefully…)

2009/03/20

Came across this CNN article this morning; sounds alot like what I was thinking of when this issue first came up…

WRT the posts from this past week, I don’t think I’ve got anything else to add at this point, since I’ve already covered the main points (ex post facto, bills of attainder, due process, et al). Alas, it appears that Congress is dead-set on getting its pound of flesh from AIG’s bonus recipients, regardless of the implications of their actions. [1] Hopefully, the Senate will see reason, rather than blindly stumbling forwards. I would like to see this go quietly away, but I am not hopeful that this will be the case.

All week, I have been hoping that the political machine will slow down and think about what they’re trying to do; they would do well to heed the following advice:

“…think calmly and well upon this whole subject. Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time. If there be an object to hurry any of you in hot haste to a step which you would never take deliberately, that object will be frustrated by taking time; but no good object can be frustrated by it.” [2]

This is a situation where speed, as the President has been fond of calling for, is not absolutely necessary. We would do well to catch our collective breath, and look at the situation carefully, before committing to a course of action that we may later regret. In the interest of national stability and recovery, we really should move on; there are far bigger problems that require our immediate attention than this farce. [3] Sadly, most of those with the loudest voices among our elected officials seem to be nothing more than consummate opportunists, alternating between advancing their own interests at one moment, and blindly obeying the urgings of populist sentiment the next. It should not be so [4], and I hope that we will eventually overcome this impediment to good and rational governance.

Notes:

[1]: CNN Article, 19 March 2009

[2]: Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address, 4 March 1861. (Note: the emphasis marks exist in the transcribed copy of this speech, as published in The American Reader, Diane Ravitch (ed.), so I assume that Lincoln emphasized these words as he spoke, but I cannot verify this, apart from the text that I have at hand.)

[3]: CNN Interview, 20 March 2009; Representative Paul makes some excellent points. I don’t agree with all of his policy positions, but he does a good job of pointing out that this whole bonus situation is really beside the point. Again, its a distasteful situation, but in the grand scheme, $165,000,000 is less than 1% of the over $170,000,000,000 in total bailout funds that AIG received (0.097%, to be precise). And all of this, even the money AIG received, pales in comparison to the $1,500,000,000,000 that Congress has authorized for “economic recovery” thus far. Is it just me, or does $165,000,000 seem just a little trivial in this kind of environment?

[4]: Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist, Number 71: “The republican principle demands, that the deliberate sense of the community should govern the conduct of those to whom they entrust the management of their affairs; but it does not require an unqualified complaisance [sic] to every sudden breese [sic] of passion, or to every transient impulse which the people may receive…it is a just observation, that the people commonly intend the PUBLIC GOOD. This often applies to their very errors…when occasions present themselves in which the interests of the people are at variance with their inclinations, it is the duty of the persons whom they have appointed to be the guardians of those interests, to withstand the temporary delusion, in order to give them time and opportunity for more cool and sedate reflection.”

[5]: WRT note [4] above, I should point out (lest I be accused of partisan bias) that the “republican” principle Hamilton refers to is the original sense of the word, and not to the modern political party of the same name. Despite what the politicians and pundits commonly claim, we do not, in fact, live in a democracy; our nation is a federal republic (this is actually not just a matter of semantics, but I’ll expound on that at a later time). In this case, the term ‘republican’ refers to the representative nature of our elected officials, i.e. we elect men and women to act as our representatives in our national government. As such, the form of our government is correctly described as ‘republican’, as we currently live in a Republic. So, don’t go getting all worried that I’m secretly trying to promote the political party; I’m still of the opinion that the Republican Party is a freakshow of nearly epic proportions.

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One Response to “Final note on AIG (hopefully…)”


  1. […] See note 4 to this post. Posted by seeker312 Filed in Current Events No Comments […]


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