Monday, March 30, 2009

tar and feathers for everyone

Why are popular conservatives up in a tizzy about AIG and the likes? Bonuses never seemed to bother them before. In fact, the AIG bailout began under the bush administration.

But now, the fox news pundits are ranting and raving at every turn, suddenly they are all overcome with populist rage. Apparently when taxpayer money is involved corporate greed is suddenly a no-no. But shouldn't it always be a no-no? Wouldn't this crisis have been prevented if corporations were regulated? If capitalism wasn't just allowed to do what it will and  corporations didn't put short-term profits ahead of long-term progress ? Why is it all the rage for republicans to rage now.

In the upcoming weeks, Republican groups are planning to run a slew of attack ads based on AIG bonuses.  Some of the criticism is warranted. Yes, Chris Dodd and the Obama administration made mistakes with the package, and they took responsibility for them. But, I for one, think the discrepancies between executive pay and the pay for average american workers is always an issue, not just an issue during the recession. When you turn populist rage toward singular government actions, it distracts people from raging about the inequities that always exist. The American people being ripped off, while corporations profit, isn't an entirely new phenomena.

So what's the deal? Are Republicans really infuriated by executive bonuses or as Bruce Reed's points out in his latest slate article on lemon populism,  are conservatives just trying " to poison the well on government action". I have to go for the latter. 

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