One of the more familiar sayings in politics is "don't get angry, get even."
The anger caused by using millions in taxpayer bailout money to pay "retention" bonuses to current and former AIG employees and to fund banks that mostly won't tell what they did with the money is an object lesson for all of us. It offers taxpayers an opportunity to "get even" with those who have violated the U.S. Constitution, helped put our nation in peril and spent us into economic servitude to the Chinese.
President Obama has said he is angry, too, but he wants that anger to be "channeled" so that it might do the most good. I agree with the president. But where should that anger be channeled? The president wants to channel it in ways that will create more government regulation of banks. The New York Times reported Sunday that the president "will call for increased oversight of executive pay at all banks, Wall Street firms and possibly other companies as part of a sweeping plan to overhaul financial regulation."
Is that the best way to channel our anger so that it will do the most good? Should Congress and the regulatory authorities, which have failed so spectacularly and at every level (and in both parties), be allowed to manage and repair the financial damage they helped cause? Can they be trusted with even more power to invade private industry, overrule stockholders, and effectively run more and more companies? This is what totalitarian societies do, isn't it? The answer isn't more laws; it's enforcing the laws already on the books. The solution can be found in proper oversight, not in overlooking transgressions.
Those busloads of people who last weekend descended on Connecticut neighborhoods where AIG executives live were in the wrong place. And by the way, who ordered up that little charade and media opportunity? It sounds like something MoveOn.org, or some other left-wing political outfit might do in order to divert attention from the real culprits, who are located a few hundred miles south in Washington, D.C.
Next week, millions of tourists will begin the annual ritual of visiting Washington to see the cherry blossoms bloom. They might wish to organize a bus ride up to Capitol Hill and make their blooming idiot senators and congresspersons feel their wrath. Then they should go home and organize tea parties and anything else that will unite them with others in the fed-up community, and then vow to throw these bums out come the 2010 election.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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