Let's take back some 70 odd bonuses and fail on all sides to see the systemic disease that got us here: short-term thinking and the lunatic need for a profit statement this quarter considerably larger than the last.
The mystery over who killed a provision in the stimulus package that would have curtailed bonuses at bailed out companies is a disturbing D.C. whodunit. But even more disturbing is what it reveals about how our government is run.
The fascinating thing about this Wall Street greed is that it is so deeply ingrained that neither the bankers themselves nor our economic leadership understands just how disgusting and dangerous it is.
What Geithner is doing right now is similar to how a magician works. First he gets your attention on one thing "look, outrageous bonuses at AIG", then he does his trick while you're watching what he wants you to watch.
No one can blame the Obama Administration for apparently misreading the level of public rage toward AIG executives, who have collected millions in bonuses while racking up billions in taxpayer bailout money.
It's time for back to basics. Capitalism In Crisis 101. It's crazy that we're this far into the crisis and it needs to be explained, but that's the situation we find ourselves in. Paging Professor Obama.
There is nothing forcing banks to participate in the program. And that is the real problem. And there is a big reason keeping the banks from participating: finding out that various assets aren't worth anything.
I've never been a fan of Tim Geithner, but only today have I gotten to the point where I think it's clear he needs to be fired. Why? He's proven he is either lying to the public or totally incompetent.
The indignation over AIG will serve a useful purpose if it focuses public attention on the much larger issue of the failure of the entire approach that Tim Geithner and Larry Summers are using to rescue the banking system.