Of AIG, Earmarks, & Accountability

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Mar 16, 2009 10:13 PM
Quite rightly, President Obama (and the rest of America, for that matter) are incensed at the news that AIG has paid out bonuses, using TARP (that is, taxpayer) money that was approved on the Obama administration's watch.  There is no excuse for such waste and arrogance (and, frankly, incompetence on the part of the administration; shouldn't there have been certain conditions placed on the payout?).

But before the President rides too far on his high horse, it's worth noting that he just signed into law an omnibus spending plan riddled with thousands (and billions of dollars worth) of earmarks.

And what exactly are earmarks but a species of political "bonus" for legislators, financed -- like the despicable AIG bonuses -- with taxpayer money?  If it's wrong for AIG to pay bonuses with taxpayer money given its poor performance, isn't it just as objectionable for politicians to do the same thing (or is someone really going to argue that they have performed so well that they've "earned" their earmarks)?