Saturday, March 21, 2009

More on the printing of money, and the AIG bonuses

This is a partial repost of of a Cato Institute document:

Sparked by outrage over the bonus checks paid
out to AIG executives, the House approved a
measure Thursday that would impose a 90
percent tax on employee bonuses for companies
that receive more than $5 billion in federal bailout

Chris Edwards, Cato's director of tax policy
s tudies, says the outrage over AIG is misplaced:

While Congress has been busy with this particular inquisition, the Federal Reserve is moving ahead with a new plan to shower the economy with a massive $1.2 trillion cash infusion–an amount 7,200 times greater than the $165 million of AIG retention bonuses.

So members of Congress should be grabbing their pitchforks and heading down to the Fed building, not lynching AIG financial managers, most of whom were not the ones behind the company's failures.

Cato Executive Vice President David Boaz says
this type of selective taxation is a form of

The rule of law requires that like people be treated alike and that people know what the law is so that they can plan their lives in accord with the law. In this case, a law is being passed to impose taxes on a particular, politically unpopular group. That is a tyrannical abuse of Congress's powers.


The Cato people are a good reference for me... Their publications are well thought out and clearly written. Often, the mainstream media overlooks certain details and other sources must be consulted for alternative viewpoints.

The act of injecting a trillion dollars into the system would have to have an impact on Price. In fact, our old standard, gold, skyrocketed.

Here is what happened to GLD, a gold ETF...

As the value of the dollar is deflated through dilution, everything that is based on the dollar is also. Our homes, our investments, and our paychecks, all devalued.

Now, if the reaction to this cash injection is inflation, all of us will find ourselves in higher tax brackets and thus pay more for a lower standard of living. That is the reason smart investors moved out of dollars and into other types of investment vehicles, i.e., gold.


While this $1.2 trillion thing is going on, the government and news is focusing on the AIG $165 million thing.


While considering the preponderance of digits in the recent flood of dollars. perhaps the AIG thing still deserves some attention. It is rather outrageous that public funds have been converted to government funds, and then converted to corporate profits, only to be converted to personal bonus checks. That was a huge oversight by those entrusted to guard our taxes.

Didn't someone once say: "To you - he’s Mr. Vice President, but around the White House we call him ‘the Sheriff’- because if you’re misusing taxpayer money, you’ll have to answer to him.”

This is a mess!
The government does not really seem to be in control of the economy or its self.
With that, how can anyone expect the economy to improve?

AIG Bonus Update:
I just received an email from Michael Steele the RNC Chairman:

"It was a mystery all week how this happened. No one could seem to figure it out. But then... it leaked out that Democrat Senator Chris Dodd snuck a provision into the massive spending bill that allowed the bonuses to happen. Dodd denied it at first, then changed his story and now admits that he did it, but says he did it at the request of "Administration staffers". Finally, the Democrats have been forced to admit that they allowed the AIG bonuses to happen."

Hmm... What did Senator Dodd say about it?
"Dodd said he agreed to the Treasury Department's request, which made the limits apply only to future bonuses. Dodd's provision, as originally proposed, operated retroactively, meaning that it would have applied to any firm, such as AIG, that benefited from the first wave of federal assistance."

Hmmm... What did the Treasury Department say about it?
"As pressure mounted on AIG employees to return the bonuses, new details emerged yesterday about what the Fed, the Treasury Department and the White House knew regarding the payments and when. AIG executives said the Fed was informed three months ago by the company that it would pay $165 million by March 15 to employees working at its most troubled division. The Treasury and White House said they learned of the payments from Fed officials only days before they were due…"

Hmmmm... What did Tim Geithner say about it?
"Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner admitted that he was the one who urged Dodd to make the changes. "

Hmmmmm.... What did Obama say about it?
"President Barack Obama declared today (3-16-09) that insurance giant American International Group is in financial straits because of "recklessness and greed" and said he intends to stop it from paying out millions in executive bonuses."

Hmmmmmm.... What was it that Barney Frank said?
"Congress should rewrite a Depression-era law the Federal Reserve used to give AIG its initial government bailout."

Huh? Excuse me Barney, Didn't Geitner accept responsibility? Shouldn't someone in your position be on top of the facts? Oh.. I get it... this is a Red Hering argument so you might deflect attention away from the truth.

Hmmmmmmm... What did Joe Biden say about it?
"It is no wonder that when earlier this week Vice President Joe Biden told local officials in Washington that he was "serious, absolutely serious" about policing wasteful spending in Washington, he was met with the only rational response his audience could muster: laughter."

Hmmmmmmm... What did Robert Gibbs say about it?
"White House press secretary Robert Gibbs attempted to deflect blame for the AIG bonus scandal away from the Obama administration by reminding reporters that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner inherited a bad situation and had to make the best of it when he took over from the Bush administration."

OK. So what was the Bush policy?
"Despite their deliberations at the time, the Treasury and Fed officials, which were part of the Bush Administration, eventually decided to restrict compensation on just the top 75 company executives".

And Pelosi?
"Pelosi said that House Democrats had been out front for months on the idea of cracking down on bonuses and executive compensation at firms that take federal money. "The CEO compensation issues were completely resisted by the Bush administration, so we are sweeping up after them," she said.

But what about the economic stimulus bill, which included language that permitted the AIG bonuses to be paid? Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) is in hot water after admitting that he amended the bill to allow the bonuses, though he says he did so at the request of the Obama administration. The point, Pelosi said, is that the House had nothing to do with it."


GeWhiz! Thats a lot of finger pointing. Who would want to invest at a time like this?
Sorry Brian, The best we can hope for is a steady paying job if you can't keep a continuous eye on the market's activity.

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