Diana West
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Congratulations, American taxpayer. Finally, something has roused you from the stupor, the torpor, the catatonia of lingering Obamania.

It was those bonuses. Those AIG bonuses of $165 million. Because that's your money, your millions of dollars paid out to the same incompetents who got us into this mess, right? Sure. But you're on the case now. You're on top of it. Gave your representatives in Washington a piece of your mind, too. Nobody fools the American taxpayer like that and gets away with it, right?

Sigh. Dear American Taxpayer: If only you knew how easily you have been gulled, played like a greenhorn, a rube, a Madoff mark. This $165 million scandal may have unleashed the first genuine feeding frenzy of the Obama administration, but it is a distraction, a sideshow, a smokescreen over what is really going on: namely, the Bush-initiated, Obama-Pelosi-Reid-led incursion into the private sector designed to nationalize the workings of the economy in order to take over, capture and enslave enough of the free market to transform the fundamental character of this nation. Remember what our 44th president said back in 1995: "In America," he told the Chicago Reader, "we have this strong bias toward individual action. You know, we idolize the John Wayne hero who comes in to correct things with both guns blazing. But individual actions, individual dreams are not sufficient. We must unite in collective action, build collective institutions and organizations."

That is exactly what's going on behind the $165 million smokescreen -- truly, a masterpiece of misdirection. I have no reason to believe it was planned, although I am open to suggestion. After all, it is notable that the nearly $4 billion in Merill Lynch bonuses, doled out just before the dying firm's Jan. 1 takeover by Bank of America (which received bailout funds partly due to the takeover), failed to churn the same national waters.

But I digress. Up in arms about the AIG bonuses, the body politic remains calm, cool, practically collected about the trillions of taxpayer dollars Obama & Co. are drawing on to buy out the economy, expanding the population's dependency on Biggest Government in the process. There are simply too few of us seeing red, for example, over the surprise Federal Reserve decision (announced this week at the height of Bonus Rage) to pump another $1 trillion into the economy, money the International Herald Tribune said the Fed "will create out of thin air."

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Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).