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Friday, July 31, 2009

Obscenity in the Times

Remember the story that your parents used to tell you about what America stands for? I love my country, but after reading this kind of report week after week, in good conscience I've got to tell my kids a different version.

Comments (10)

Can't we just tax all that bonus money back to the federal treasury (or state coffers, for that matter)? Could a tax law be written to tax such "performance" bonuses above a certain amount, such as $100,000, at a 95% rate?

These guys get paid enough as it is. The bonuses are ego rewards in the same way baseball players demand astronomical salaries based on what comparable players are getting.

The absolute brazenness is amazing. Failing, government-indebted companies handing out bonuses like that in times like this? It's corrupt, crony capitalism at its worst.

Those financial sector companies are practically daring us to impose a punitive tax on lavish bonuses, as the commenter above suggested we should. But too few in Congress have an interest in opposing the super-wealthy class, and too much of the public still believes in the ridiculous fiction that people who make a lot of money automatically deserve it.

It's a sick situation: the great political union of the rich and the duped.

When this kind of money is being paid out, it's almost certain that somebody else is being cheated. Anybody who thinks otherwise is denying the truth in order to benefit personally at the expense of others.

People in this strata are living such extravagant lifestyles that if they don't get that kind of bloated income, their golden house (or, more likely, houses) of cards is likely to topple. Most (not all) of the uber rich completely lose their perspective. They do not live in the real world. They become angry when they don't receive what they consider they "deserve."

In the latest issue of HARPERS, the editor of a magazine devoted to the owners of private jets, advises his subscribers not to allow themselves to be shamed into not spending lavishly while others struggle. He cites the "trickle down" effect and lauds the jet set for providing an economic boost that will save the rest of us.


The arguments for government sponsored bailouts stunk from the beginning; and the results we are getting haven't changed that.

The simplest solution: no more bailouts. Let those businesses fail as they should have.

It's never too early to tell your kids the truth about what America really stands for.

... or for us to inform ourselves.

Speaking of bailouts and giveaways: Am I alone or does anybody else think the CARS "cash for clunkers" program was about as well thought out as the digital conversion and airport security?

When I see the news stories showing already flush Americans trading in one oversized SUV for another the same size or larger and getting taxpayer money to do it I want to scream.

When I see the news stories showing already flush Americans trading in one oversized SUV for another the same size or larger and getting taxpayer money to do it I want to scream.

For SUVs (called "category 1 trucks" in the program), the new vehicle must have get at least 18 mpg. Additionally, in order to receive the full $4,500 credit, the new SUV must get 5+ mpg more than the old SUV (2-5 mpg more yields you a $3,500 subsidy). Now, I think the requirements ought to have been more stringent (and there is a move by Feinstein and others in the Senate to make them more stringent if the program is extended), but at least there is some fuel economy gain in the exchange.

It isn't for the sake only of "conscience" nor only in these (banking? finance?) matters, that you ought to tell and your kids ought to hear otherwise.

It is totally necessary to represent the truth, which is entirely otherwise in this country where now everything politically said is myth and (false) image.

For instance the dollar: All image, no substance behind it.
Defense (military-industrial): All image, no substantive threat to defend against and what is done is no defense for what threats could be.

If you don't talk to your kids about truth, somebody else will. And then the kids disrespect you for not telling them.

That is the disrespect brought on by propping up and maintaining the status quo myth of lies. That's the same reason newspapers and TV are widely and strongly disrespected.

There's often little gain in fuel economy and in most cases, those trading up would have been able to afford to do so anyway without taxpayer assistance.

The Atlantic recently wrote:

"The program is designed to help the ailing car industry and the environment by rewarding consumers who want to trade up for an environmentally friendly car. But C4C is much easier on SUV buyers than car buyers. Let's say you want to trade up for either a car or an SUV, both with a 2 MPG improvement. The SUV will qualify for a $3500 rebate. The car won't. So we're still paying people to choose SUVs with worse mileage than cars, even after Detroit's implosion. What's worse, Michigan lawmakers are trying to make it even easier for buyers to trade up for SUVs with the next $2 billion batch. Subsidies distort the market, but a subsidy designed to crystallize Detroit's backward SUV-centric default is a stupid investment in the environment, and a terrible investment in the long-term sustainability of General Motors and Ford."

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