The Kabuki Theater of AIG Outrage
Michelle Malkin – Wed Mar 18, 3:00 am ET
, wrote , and in the world of Washington, the curtains have opened on the most elaborate farce of the year. Welcome, taxpayers, to the Kabuki Theater of AIG Outrage — where D.C.’s histrionic enablers of taxpayer-funded corporate bailouts compete for Best Performance of Hypocritical Indignation.
… Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd, the corporate crony who is the largest recipient of AIG donations, is now leading the charge to tax the retention payments in order to recoup the $450 million the company is paying to employees in its financial products unit.
But Dodd, it turns out, was for protecting AIG’s bonuses before he was against them.
Fox Business reporter Rich Edson pointed out that during the Senate porkulus negotiations last month, Dodd successfully inserted a teeny-tiny amendment that provided for an “‘exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009,’ which exempts the very AIG bonuses Dodd and others are seeking to tax.” Pay no attention to what his left hand was doing. Dodd’s right fist is pounding mightily, mightily for the sake of the taxpayers.
If Washington’s newfound opponents of rewarding failure want to do taxpayers a favor, how about giving back their automatic pay raises? How about returning all their AIG donations? How about taking back all the bailout money to all the failed enterprises, from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to AIG, the automakers and the big banks? Barry? Harry? Nancy? John? Chris? Bueller? Bueller?
Exit stage left. The curtain falls.
Are there even curtains at kabuki performances?
BTW, as Glenn Greenwald notes, one of the central themes of this piece – that Chris Dodd was key to ensuring that these bonuses could be paid – is part of a falsehood-based smear campaign (UPDATE: Apparently not baseless after all…) (UPDATED AGAIN: Dodd “accepted responsibility” for agreeing to the Obama-Geithner plan to pay the existing bonuses… whatever!):
…here is a February 14 article from the Wall St. Journal on the debate over executive compensation limits:
The most stringent pay restriction bars any company receiving funds from paying top earners bonuses equal to more than one-third of their total annual compensation. That could severely crimp pay packages at big banks, where top officials commonly get relatively modest salaries but often huge bonuses.
As word spread Friday about the new and retroactive limit — inserted by Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut — so did consternation on Wall Street and in the Obama administration, which opposed it.
Can that be any clearer? It was Obama officials, not Dodd, who demanded that already-vested bonus payments be exempted. And it was Dodd, not Obama officials, who wanted the prohibition applied to all compensation agreements, past and future.
Ironically enough, Malkin’s own eagerness to repeat wingnut talking points is about as staged and scripted as anything on Capitol Hill, not unlike a certain traditional Japanese dramatic form. But I guess since she uses blogging software instead of the Senate floor, no appropriate cliches have arisen to describe the right-wing noise machine.
(Thx to M-Bone for pointing this out)
UPDATE: So Dodd did push to pay the committed AIG bonuses?