So Congress is debating, as are pundits, as are my friends and neighbors, about how best to rescue the economy. (The best option, a way-back machine that returns us to pre-Reagan and puts deregulation into context, has been shelved for some bogus lack-of-technology reason.)
Obama says spend money on the things we’re gonna need anyway—roads, wind farms, education—and in so doing, put people to work. Republicans say cut taxes (since that worked so well to this point…do they somehow think that tax cuts when the government is already bringing in, like, zero dollars, is going to help anyone but gazillionaires?)
You know what I say? I say spend the money, sure. Cut taxes on the lower class. And move the tax bracket *up* for anyone who works for a failing financial institution and got a bonus. If they took bailout money and got bonuses, make them pay 100% taxes. That’s right. If you get a bonus, you give back your entire salary including bonus. Because you know what? You’re lucky to still have a job, you economy-ruining f—ers. That Merrill Lynch yahoo who said he had to give bonuses to his best performers is a jackass. If you had any best performers my entire retirement would be worth what it was in May. And yet, he’s offering us the best way out of the crisis. Sure, pay extra to those who screwed up the economy, the international banking industry, and the world in general. Give them a bonus. Then we the taxpayers get to keep it all. Every bloody penny.
Ditto executive bonuses for anyone involved in mortgage-backed securities, subprime mortgages, or other banking shenanigans. They can all make the check out the the Internal Revenue Service so we can pay for those roads.
A Senator from Missouri wants to cap executive salaries for companies accepting federal bailout money. Ya think?!! It’s only now occurring to Congress that their blank check should have had some strings attached? Democrats tried for about twelve minutes last fall to get that as part of the no-strings-attached bailout. Remember when Paulson and Bernanke said that any limits to executive compensation would make it less likely for banks to participate in the mortgage bailout? Yeah. Did anybody else, at that time think, “Fine. Have it your way. Pay your CEO millions, and go bankrupt for all I care?”
I can’t believe the belated moral outrage. And I really can’t believe Guiliani telling the press that executives *need* big bonuses, because in his world, trickle down economics is more than just a disproven Reagan-era philosophy. Because CEOs who *only* get a few million base salary won’t eat out and New York will fall apart, Guiliani claims, but if they get their share of the $18 billion in bonuses paid in 2008, they will gladly hire underpaid workers to clean their houses, serve their food, and tutor their ignored kids. Folks, trickle down is a lie. Giving the exorbitantly rich *more* in the hopes they buy more crap and hire more workers just doesn’t work. Companies hire when people are buying their goods and services. Not when their CEOs are obscenely rich.
Of course we should cap salaries at any firm getting federal bailout money. Geezus, we should also roll back Bush’s gratuitous tax breaks for the wealthy because people who make more should pay more. Because it’s the right thing to do. Shut up with your “they need to eat out so people can work.” They need to invest in infrastructure, and they do that by paying their freaking taxes (which they don’t actually do since they have dozens of laws written so they can out of their taxes, while I pay mine.)
Take the bailout money back. Take it back. They used it poorly, they didn’t do what makes sense for the country. Take it back. Give them a timeout and move on to fixing science and education and roads, because that’s the shit that’s gonna produce jobs and a future economy.
I’d rather you bailout cops and teachers and people trying to get by than bailout corporations who made eggregious errors in basic business principles. Let ’em rot. But since you offered them money with no strings attached, you Congresspeople should have to pay those executive bonuses out of your own Congressional salaries. Talk about CEOS and CFOs working for a dollar this year…Congress should do that, too.