Stimulate the economy by buying torches and pitchforks
Read this article on the increasing number of American families forced to live long-term in motel rooms, if you can make it through without bursting into tears.
In the evening, the smell of pasta sauce cooked on hot plates drifts through half-open doors; in the morning, children leave to catch school buses. Families of three, six or more are squeezed into a room, one child doing homework on a bed, jostled by another watching television. Children rotate at bedtime, taking their turns on the floor. Some families, like the Malpicas, in a motel in Anaheim, commandeer a closet for baby cribs.
Now contrast it with this article, on AIG’s insistence that it is obligated to spend more than $165 million of its most recent bailout funds on bonuses for its top executives.
A.I.G., nearly 80 percent of which is now owned by the government, defended its bonuses, arguing that they were promised last year before the crisis and cannot be legally canceled. In a letter to Mr. Geithner, Edward M. Liddy, the government-appointed chairman of A.I.G., said at least some bonuses were needed to keep the most skilled executives.
“We cannot attract and retain the best and the brightest talent to lead and staff the A.I.G. businesses — which are now being operated principally on behalf of American taxpayers — if employees believe their compensation is subject to continued and arbitrary adjustment by the U.S. Treasury,” he wrote Mr. Geithner on Saturday.
Hmm, you know, it’s not a stretch to believe that it was AIG’s “best and brightest talent” who helped get us into this bucket of syrup, so y’all have to excuse me if I’m not too sympathetic to Mr. Liddy’s plight. Neither is Barack Obama or Andrew Cuomo–Obama has asked Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to pursue any legal avenue necessary to prevent the bonus payout, while Cuomo has threatened AIG with subpoenas if they don’t provide him with details on who is slated to receive the bonuses and how much they’re expected to get. It’s doubtful that any subpoenas will really be issued, but it’s nice to know that the jaw-dropping audacity of AIG in insisting that their hands are tied in using millions of taxpayer dollars to provide incentive pay to executives is not going unremarked upon. They need to shell out huge chunks of cash to keep their staff from quitting? Here’s an idea: LET ‘EM FUCKING QUIT. Maybe they can move on and wreak havoc on another company, one that won’t take billions of dollars in government funds to keep them from going under. Maybe they can really do the country a favor and drive their Lexuses off a cliff somewhere.
If these people had any shred of decency they’d either turn down the bonuses, or, even better, put them towards a charity, perhaps a charity that will help people like those in the first article find a decent place for their families to live. My father lived in a motel for a couple months when I was a little girl, when he was temporarily separated from my mother. Let me assure you, it’s about as depressing as you can imagine. This ain’t Eloise at the Plaza, folks, a motel isn’t safe, suitable long-term housing for anyone, let alone children. In Atlantic City, my hometown, the back of a motel was used as the dumping grounds for victims of a suspected serial killer back in 2007. They’re often populated by junkies, hookers and other sketchy individuals. And yet families are forced to lay their stakes down in them not just for days, but weeks, months, possibly years, living in one tiny room, no privacy, no proper cooking facilities. And AIG is “obligated” to pay out millions of dollars in bonuses, to executives who likely make more money per year than most of these families will ever hope to see? I just, I–