Tags: AIG | Obama | Congress

Winning Ideas Rare in D.C., but Losers Abound

Wednesday, 18 Mar 2009 04:32 PM

By John LeBoutillier

All the political and financial shenanigans going on these days make it hard to pick a winner, but the losers are piling up higher than executive bonuses at AIG.

Here’s my tally:

1. Biggest disgrace of week: It’s not the AIG bonuses (more on that below). No, President Obama’s inane and insane plan to force our wounded vets to pay for their health care through their own insurance, in an effort to save $544 million in this year’s budget, will go down as the most lame-brained idea floated in DC in a long time.

It will not make it through Congress. Fortunately, the organized veterans lobby will kill it.

But the bigger issue is how Gen. Eric Shinseki, who is Veterans Affairs secretary, and the president could agree to this plan.

If ever there was a legitimate function of government, it is to provide medical care for our soldiers. It is part of the social contract made when you agree to serve.

What were they thinking when they came up with this idea?

2. He can't swim with sharks: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is in perilous water way over his head. He is not up to this job. It is obvious. It began with the revelation that, along with not paying his taxes, he also tried to write off the cost of his kids’ sleep-away camp.

He is President Barack (Abe Lincoln) Obama’s Gen. George McClellan, the young Union Army officer Lincoln hoped could win the Civil War for him. Instead, it became obvious that the general, like Geithner today, simply was not capable of taking on such a monumental task. He diddled and did nothing for the first two years of the years of the Civil War.

President Lincoln finally was persuaded to make a change. But those were wasted years. And it still took the Lincoln administration another year until it finally found the right man, U.S. Grant, who then stormed through a weakened Confederacy and won the war.

The Obama administration needs to get rid of Geithner, although that will not happen for at least a year because of the political embarrassment, and find a powerhouse figure to re-inspire some confidence in the Obama program.

3. The latest cause du jour: Even though the AIG retention bonuses apparently were agreed to a long time ago, their revelation created a maelstrom because the American people have had it with massive government bailouts and the correspondingly huge Wall Street bonuses for executives who seem to be ripping the taxpayers off while doing a lousy job.

And the president and Congress are all scrambling and falling over themselves to deny responsibility for these bonuses.

This illustrates why the U.S. government cannot and should not be running companies.

These huge bailouts have opened Pandora’s box, and the result is that Barney Frank and Chuck Schumer hope to micromanage the paychecks of corporate executives.

A big, big mistake.

4. Members of Congress care only about today: Yes, they are hot to trot about the AIG bonuses now. But in a week, they’ll be off on some other issue - and today’s white hot issue will long have disappeared in the rear-view mirror.

That is one of the (many) things wrong with Congress: Senators and representatives are into today’s headlines, period.

Actually digging in and solving a problem?

Forget it!

5. Congressional hearings: Do you wonder why they are called that? Because the senators and representatives do all the talking, and everyone else has to hear them!

The witnesses are mere foils for our elected officials.

6. Outrageous suggestion: The very idea that AIG bonus babies should consider committing suicide is outrageous. It shows how over-the-top Washington has become when it comes to the economy.

Who can take these clowns seriously when they talk like this?

Where are some grown-ups?

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