Here we are. People are outside the homes of the employees of AIG; if it were the 1830s, they would be burning torches. Our President and his cohorts have succeeded in creating massive mobs of their supporters outraged against this organization. I agree, AIG has deserved trouble, and I too am absolutely sickened by the TARP bailout. That sickness does not give us right or reason to threaten their employees and their families.
I have to ask all of the outraged, vengeance-seeking folks to stop and reason for a minute. If you were in possession of a signed contract from your employer that guaranteed you income, would you expect it? Be realistic in your answer. If you say anything other than "yes", I would suspect that you are dishonest. It does not matter one bit if the amount is $20, or $2,000,000. Contractually owed is just that. The contract is the basis of law in our nation. Don't get caught up in the hype. Don't let the term executive get caught in your mind.
I was once considered an executive, and believe me, I had absolutely no power to steer the organization for which I worked at the time. For all we know right now, executive could mean executive assistant, which we all know means secretary. I apologize to all of the secretaries who may be reading. It has always been the policy of political advocacy groups of all types to create an enemy term that places us against them.
Tocqueville spoke of a paternal government taking over in America, and we may be there. I believe Barack is seen by many in our nation as the ultimate father figure, and what he and his cabinet say is taken as blind truth. Citizens, I am afraid, are acting far too much like children of the government, looking to Washington for the answers. This is scary. There are many historical references to look upon to see where we may end up.
It has been said the demise of the Roman empire was in great part due to the "egg syndrome". The Romans had a hard outside shell (government), and a soft (population) inside. The population of Rome had become very much non-Roman, and multiculturalism was the rule of the day. They were the greatest power on the face of the planet, and could not fail. We all know what happened.
When mob rule took over in France, their citizens got the guillotine. The government was used as a tool to remove enemies. There was no congruent thought that kept the nation together. Religion was scattered and suspect, as it is in America now: the us versus them mentality reigned over the populace.
The Nazi regime in Germany also succeeded in creating mobs against a single class of people. The world got a war out of that one, too. Much of the hatred came shortly after the hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic (Germany from 1918 to 1933). There are more than a couple theories about how the inflation came about, however, one thing is for sure, the inflation came at the end of a tremendous amount of government spending. We probably all remember seeing the pictures of Germans with wheelbarrows of money waiting to buy a loaf of bread. With this economic situation in place, all it took was one more action by a member of Jewish society, and the Nazi Government and their mobs had the excuse they needed for the night of the broken glass, or kristallnacht.
This isn't necessarily the case in America, but it is historical reference to possible results regarding today's news stories. It has been reported that a labor union-sponsored bus tour of the homes of AIG employees is being planned. Nothing like allowing potential criminals the perfect means for casing the residence where they intend to inflict ill will. Senators are calling for the suicide of people who took a bonus. This is completely unacceptable behavior for an elected official.
With retroactive tax laws not necessarily being susceptible to ex post facto rules, the leaders, in their infinite wisdom, are attempting to tax it back. A very slippery slope has been created with the passing of this initiative. We can only hope the Senate is wise enough to understand the implications of this action. Creating a precedent for future acts is usually not a good thing when it comes to American government. For any that may disagree, just look back at the Homeland Security Act. It was an absolute outrage to the Democrats when President Bush signed it. It was "destroying our Bill of Rights." Now that their guy is in office the chatter isn't nearly as loud. It is still a terrible law, and it did erode our liberties as citizens, but the clamor to remove it has subsided.
The TARP money is spent. It's not going to come back any time soon. Real outrage should have happened prior to the money leaving the treasury. We each own a little bit of the situation we are in, regardless of whether we are fiscally responsible or voiced an opinion against the bailouts and spending. Each voice could have been louder. There could have been one more letter to the editor, or an additional e-mail to a representative. Those people who bought the outrageous mortgages knew in their souls they were going out on a limb.
Apparently, it would have fallen on deaf ears. That being the case, there is one clear option, these employees (which is what elected officials are at the end of the day), need to be fired. Political affiliation doesn't matter. It is time for these power hungry thieves to go away. The message must be clear when we tell government officials they work for us. If a Senator or Representative voted for even one of these "recovery" measures, they deserve that reminder. Our memory needs to be longer than a two-and-a-half minute commercial break because many of these people won't be up for reelection for several more years.
We, as a people, need to come to several conclusions. First, we do still live in the greatest nation on earth. We have the means to do whatever it takes to correct our course. We simply need to step back, put differences aside, and do the right thing. History is our greatest teacher; greed at the expense of others is our greatest adversary. We have to create our own personal economy. Taking from one to finance another does not work.