Archive - Nov 13, 2008

Pitchforks And Guillotines

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Memo to the bailout engineers: YOU ARE DUMB.

Let's say, just as a hypothetical statement, that you have a whole bunch of people who thought they were rich for years. So they acted like they were rich. And then they found out they weren't rich anymore, and they hated it. And their crankiness was, due to the fundamentally insane nature of modern economics, ruining things for the rest of us.

Of all the possible solutions to the problem at hand, the worst possible solution to the problem would be to wheel up a giant truck of money to the greedy bastards, tell them they can take what they need, and put no restrictions whatsoever on how they spend it, trusting them to take the money and do things that will benefit society, like lend it to people who make things so that they can keep paying people to make things.

But as SOME OF US learned from Iraq, unaccountable, unmarked truckloads of cash is pretty much the only solution the Bush administration has for any problem. And just like in Iraq, it's working out very well for the people who showed up with big fucking burlap sacks when the truck pulled in, and everybody else gets to go to hell.

So first we got the news that AIG went and threw a half-million-dollar party right after it got its first round of government bailout money. Then we learned that instead of using the Hank Paulson $700 billion magic money to start moving cash through the economy again, companies were taking the bailout money and issuing dividends to stockholders and bonuses to executives with it. And whatever they had left apparently got used to buy other failing banks. Fucking awesome.

But wait, it gets better! Guess what our supposed financial savior and his underlings were doing while they wrangled $700 billion out of a panicked Congress? You're going to love this. They issued a five-sentence notice repealing an obscure part of the tax code. Now, those of you with a basic Schoolhouse Rock understanding of civics may think that this is a completely fucking illegal power play by a conservative administration who'd tried for years to get this tax break passed but couldn't because, well, it's a $140 billion giveaway to financial institutions and everyone knew it.

That would apparently be a naive view. The Washington Post reports: "Andrew C. DeSouza, a Treasury spokesman, said the administration had the legal authority to issue the notice as part of its power to interpret the tax code and provide legal guidance to companies." Speaking of things we've learned the hard way over the last eight years - when the Bush administration "interprets" a law, it means it's decided to break it. You know. Like with torture.

And to add insult to injury, on Tuesday, ABC caught AIG throwing ANOTHER FUCKING PARTY, this time in Phoenix. And CEO Edward Liddy*, using the platinum-plated testicles he bought with the proceeds from his first burlap sack, went on CNN and actually claimed that the reason they didn't have any signs identifying it as an AIG retreat was that they were "tightening their belt" just like American taxpayers. Which is a very strong late entrant in the Worst Fucking Excuse Of The Year contest. And in an election year, that's an amazing feat.

None of this shit is surprising. It's standard operating procedure in the American bastardocracy. So over the next couple of months, when we talk about handing over further billions of dollars to an American auto industry too stupid to realize you can't sell gas-guzzlers to people who can't afford to fill them up? Maybe we should attach some serious fucking strings to the money for a change. And remember that all of this is happening because we abandoned two time-tested tools of economic management: pitchforks and guillotines.

*Edward Liddy, G. Gordon Liddy, Elizabeth "Liddy" Dole... fuck Minority Report, maybe we should just lock up all the Liddys just to be safe.