Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

January 30, 2009

Obama Nails It: The Prima Facie Immorality of Great Wealth

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 7:47 am

It’s his “malefactors of great wealth speech,” it’s what presidential moral leadership is and should be. It’s Obama denouncing as “shameful” the greedhead mentality that has broken the lives of people who believed in the work ethic and the American dream so the plutocrats could wallow in obscene wealth.(Let’s hear it for old-fashioned populist contempt. And yes the plutocrats have fed off the largesse of both parties.)

No we shouldn’t socialize or nationalize, but when your shamelessness brings misery to others — and your behavior provides the main argument against capitalism — it’s great to have a president who will speak for all of us and call you out with the contempt you so richly — so to speak — deserve:

“President Barack Obama issued a withering critique Thursday of Wall Street corporate behavior, calling it ‘the height of irresponsibility’ for Wall Street employees to be paid more than $18 billion in bonuses last year while their financial sector was crumbling.

“‘It is shameful,’ Obama said from the Oval Office. ‘And part of what we’re going to need is for the folks on Wall Street who are asking for help to show some restraint, and show some discipline, and show some sense of responsibility.'”

Go ahead and wallow, Wall Street creeps, that’s capitalism and I’m with Churchill in saying “it’s the worst system in the world–except for all the others.” There’s no law against it and I’m not advocating confiscatory socialism. But don’t expect us to applaud your billion dollar bonuses and your swinelike consumption when people all over the world — a billion live on less than a dollar a day — are starving and dying. And close to home people are losing their jobs, homes, and health insurance while you manipulate the financial system for your selfish enrichment and its ultimate self-destruction. No, there’s no law against it, but there is moral contempt. No we shouldn’t socialize or nationalize, but when your shamelessness brings misery to others and you display no evident self awareness of your destructive behavior, it’s great to have a president who will speak for all of us and call you out with the contempt you so richly — so to speak — deserve.

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116 Comments »

  1. […] the entire story here […]

    Pingback by Pajamas Media » Obama Nails It: The Prima Facie Immorality of Great Wealth — January 30, 2009 @ 12:05 pm | Reply

  2. Wow… I totally agree with your perspective on Obama. You articulate very well what has been in the back of my mind as unrecognized angst. The angst coming from I totally believe in capitalism but it is offensive how greedy some of those people are and then we have to bail them out.

    I am still not articulating my own thoughts well but you did a great job. Thank you for this post.

    Comment by Randy — January 30, 2009 @ 12:13 pm | Reply

  3. Are you kidding me. Ron, get a job. Work for awhile. Save a little. Then we’ll talk. Until then, keep your socialistic drivel to yourself.

    Comment by Gary — January 30, 2009 @ 12:15 pm | Reply

  4. “No, we shouldn’t socialize or nationalize…”…..but that’s his desire! Don’t help him!!

    Do you understand that obama’s GOAL to socialize and/or nationalize is what drives his “high road criticism” here?

    He will take something that is a general truth and use it as kindling on his favorite hate-America fire. Just because he is technically and morally speaking what is true should not be taken as truthful communication.

    Because of the current environment and speaking as someone who has never made more than $60M in a year, I will plainly say that since we still actually have PRIVATE BUSINESS in this country, what those guys did with their PRIVATE MONEY is their PRIVATE BUSINESS and Socialist Soetero can keep his filthy hands and opinions off it.

    I learned decades ago that when people who have more money than I have make significant investments with that money, THEY ARE THE PEOPLE WHO THEN GIVE ME A JOB.

    Come on. Let’s not help Barry by attacking free market capitalists. It’s just too blasted opportunistic on his part. He couldn’t care less about those specific chunks of money.

    Do you really believe that he and Michelle EARNED the millions they have received since he got in to politics? How much of THAT was bonuses of one kind or another? Until he starts talking about that, I really don’t need to hear his opinions of what others are doing with their OWN money.

    Unlike him, at least they are doing it with their OWN money.

    “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” –Margaret Thatcher

    Comment by Ann141 — January 30, 2009 @ 12:26 pm | Reply

  5. […] RonRosenbaum.com » Obama Nails It: The Prima Facie Immorality of Great Wealth. <– Go Read The Whole […]

    Pingback by The Prima Facie Immorality of Great Wealth : ETC: Everyday Thoughts Collected — January 30, 2009 @ 12:44 pm | Reply

  6. “‘It is shameful,’ Obama said from the Oval Office. ‘And part of what we’re going to need is for the folks on Wall Street who are asking for help to show some restraint, and show some discipline, and show some sense of responsibility.’”

    While, I agree wholeheartedly that the utter lack of shame and greed was disgusting… I have a hard time swallowing the sincerity from his royal highness who recently had a rip roaring, over-the-top-expensive inaug and left the mall a pig mess that looked like animals of a barnyard nature attended, keeps the oval office temp on high so he doesn’t have to wear his jacket and can relax in ease -n- comfort and recently dined and boozed on wagyu steak with cocktails.

    Yeah. He’s oozing with sincerity.

    Comment by Delia — January 30, 2009 @ 12:46 pm | Reply

  7. Capitalism – the system where government’s only function is to protect individual rights from the initiation of force or fraud – is the only moral system. We came close to capitalism in the 19th century when, among other things, we had free banking and the government did not issue monopoly fiat money.

    It takes virtue to create profits.

    Central banking, including government deposit insurance, has only bred recklessness in the (quasi-) private banking sector. The heads of the TARP banks are *not* capitalists but government lackeys who gain at the expense of the millions of honest, prudent bankers, stockbrokers, investors, and depositors.

    Until you can defend the profit motive on moral grounds, you may as well throw away your pen – because you’ll be impotent in opposing the left’s rising tide of statism. AFter all, comrade, you’re conceding their root premise, egalitarianism!

    Comment by Pat — January 30, 2009 @ 1:04 pm | Reply

  8. EXCEPT RICH TRIAL LAWYERS:
    ‘LEDBETTER LAW’ TO ENRICH ATTORNEYS
    Given the realities to the workplace today, this law is far more symbol than substance.

    http://greensrealworld.blogspot.com/2009/01/ledbetter-law-collateral-damage.html

    Comment by The Historian — January 30, 2009 @ 1:14 pm | Reply

  9. Oh wow, Obama’s such a leader. Takes a big man to call out this kind of thing, considering everybody in America is ticked off at the guys.

    Now, if Obama would call out gangsta rappers, his racist Pastor, his terrorist friends, football and baseball players with enormous contracts — now that might get my attention.

    Comment by Sara for America — January 30, 2009 @ 1:24 pm | Reply

  10. 1. Mind you own business nosy. Since when is other people’s compensation any of government’s or public’s business? I despise jealous liberal scolds.

    2. A good example of why all bailouts are a bad idea – the government now has their noses in business affairs they shouldn’t. There are already plenty of controls in place. If businesses overcompensate employees, profitability suffers, stock price drops, shareholders intervene through the Directors.

    3. Banks around the country were pressured by regulators to take federal bailout money even if they didn’t need it. Why?
    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/steffy/6087315.html

    4. “No we shouldn’t socialize or nationalize…” – then we shouldn’t be putting public money into corporations. Stop the bailouts and restore our free-market economy.

    Comment by Jarhead91 — January 30, 2009 @ 1:24 pm | Reply

  11. As long as you don’t mind a sickening dose of hypocrisy with your president’s high-mindedness. Can you say George Soros?

    Comment by Sissy Willis — January 30, 2009 @ 1:33 pm | Reply

  12. It’s time to make an important distinction: we should care less about these bonuses if they were rewarded via the success of the free market. It that’s the case, it’s merely a matter between those earning a living on Wall Street and their investors. To be brutally frank, it’s none of our business. But everything changes dramatically once it’s the taxpayer’s money funding these bonus checks! We are then granted the right to scream with moral indignation.

    Comment by David Thomson — January 30, 2009 @ 1:35 pm | Reply

  13. My goodness, these folks down on Wall st. gave Obama, and folks like Pelosi, Reid and Franks, hundreds of millions of dollars. Why don’t they gove that money back?
    The Nerve of the Democrats: Pelosi, Reid and Franks should be in jail. Not threatening people that actually work for a living. What nerve.

    The Democrats think that they give Americans an allowance.

    It is shameful, and chilling, to have the POTUS stand up there telling someone what their salaries should be.

    If there was ever any doubt that the Democrats are totalitarian Socialists, this should remove it.

    We are supposed to own the government, not the other way around.

    Comment by Marianne — January 30, 2009 @ 1:45 pm | Reply

  14. Forget the indignation – eternity is a very long time, and corruption of this magnitude has a home…the responsibility given to some requires accountability, eventually….

    Comment by Tom H — January 30, 2009 @ 1:47 pm | Reply

  15. and it is also “shameful” that Obama spent $150 million on his big party.

    Comment by amy — January 30, 2009 @ 1:52 pm | Reply

  16. Hear hear. Obama speaks truth to power.

    Peace.

    DS

    Comment by David S — January 30, 2009 @ 1:53 pm | Reply

  17. Does he really want to bite Soros’ hand? Not smart, O messiah.

    Oh. You were talking about those rich malefactors.

    Never mind. Carry on…

    Comment by Pee Wee Herman, Community Organizer — January 30, 2009 @ 1:55 pm | Reply

  18. But who are the bozos that gave them the bailout money? We should be out for the politicians heads.

    Obama ain’t eatin’ beans and baloney, where does his way above average life style fit into this equation?

    Comment by Anton — January 30, 2009 @ 1:58 pm | Reply

  19. Umm…..rich Wall Street malefactors like Rubin and Geithner? Yes, unconscionable. They should never be allowed have the opportunity to pillage again. I’m sure glad that Teh One will never allow those kinds of cretins anywhere near the levers of power again.

    Comment by Self-hating Boomer — January 30, 2009 @ 2:07 pm | Reply

  20. Obama is just trying to deflect attention away from the abhorrent stimulus bill and the Democrat money grab. What’s really rich is politicians like Obama lecturing on morality. What a joke.

    Obama’s desire to seperate nearly one trillion dollars from us taxpayers is the priority. Don’t be distracted frokm it by Obama’s cheap political theatre.

    Comment by RE — January 30, 2009 @ 2:10 pm | Reply

  21. True: It’s the greatest sinful accomplishment of Western Man. (Sin; Sweet sin; More wish they could sin this well).

    Comment by Cybergeezer — January 30, 2009 @ 2:15 pm | Reply

  22. “But who are the bozos that gave them the bailout money? We should be out for the politicians heads.”

    The leading “Bozo” is, of course, Barack Obama! He is simply trying to have his cake and eat it too. These executive bonuses are being funded by the taxpayers—and it is the fault of Obama and his “moderate” Republican allies.

    Comment by David Thomson — January 30, 2009 @ 2:19 pm | Reply

  23. There is no free market. Is OPEC a free market? Or IPOs at Goldman Sachs a free market? Money is what those with power say it is until their greed exposes them. The bailouts will fail and nationalization will be the only option.

    Comment by charliefinch — January 30, 2009 @ 2:26 pm | Reply

  24. Now that B. Hussein has his — rides around in Air Force One, is a millionaire thanks to government jobs and his wife’s affirmative action high-paying gravy job (“Remember that $300K salary that Michelle Obama had to “work twice as hard to get half as much” for? Her job was so critical that the hospital her husband steered millions to isn’t replacing her”), very nice Public Housing — it is easy for him to ask people who succeeded clawing their way up the pyramid to “show restraint and a sense of responsbility”. What a hypocrite! But then, anybody who paid the slightest bit of attention during the campaign knew this.

    Comment by J. Rockford — January 30, 2009 @ 2:38 pm | Reply

  25. “It is shameful. And part of what we’re going to need is for the folks in Washington DC who are asking for your votes to show some fiscal restraint, and show some discipline, and show some sense of responsibility.”

    Pot to the kettle
    01/30/2009

    Comment by Kevin — January 30, 2009 @ 2:38 pm | Reply

  26. 9. David Thomson:
    Correcto-mundo; Obama and his lackeys throw out this money with no conditions, and then get pissed if it’s not used as they intended. “We The People” are so screwed.

    Comment by Cybergeezer — January 30, 2009 @ 2:45 pm | Reply

  27. I just want what’s mine. And what was yours.

    Comment by George Soros — January 30, 2009 @ 2:50 pm | Reply

  28. “…and then get pissed if it’s not used as they intended.”

    It is comparable to the outrage of the sap who gives a derelict a few dollars for food. This kindly soul is convinced that the money will be used wisely. They are then hurt and bewildered to see this same street person entering the neighborhood liquor store a few minutes later. Such is life.

    Comment by David Thomson — January 30, 2009 @ 3:22 pm | Reply

  29. How, exactly, is this something we should applaud? It’s not as if that money was stolen from anyone. It came to their possession by a system that Obama and his cronies helped create. It’s like whining because Alex Rodriguez gets $35 million a year to swing a bat. It’s nothing but envy, and we’re allowing a clown of a president to codify envy into policy that instead of making most of us rich will bankrupt us all.

    Comment by AtheistConservative — January 30, 2009 @ 3:24 pm | Reply

  30. 19. David Thomson:
    Oh, Yea! You’ve had that experience too? That’ll teach ya.

    Comment by Cybergeezer — January 30, 2009 @ 3:35 pm | Reply

  31. Shameful,just shameful! When it Raines it pours, isn’t that right Mr.P.? I guess we can now consider that situation w/ ‘ol Franklin pay-to-play.

    Comment by quasar — January 30, 2009 @ 3:38 pm | Reply

  32. Now that is placid aggravation at it’s best.

    Comment by Fantom — January 30, 2009 @ 4:07 pm | Reply

  33. Most of the Wall Street guys gave huge bucks and voted for Obama and other Democrats. It’s an obsolete myth that the rich are primarily Republican. The opposite is now true.

    I also agree with certain other posters that we don’t really have “free markets,” but a monstrous hybrid that’s been around for several generations. How else do you think the fat cats felt comfortable demanding huge bailouts?

    Comment by Roderick Reilly — January 30, 2009 @ 4:27 pm | Reply

  34. careful David with what you say about giving money to the panhandlers… Ron might reprimand you in a new post about your altruistic duty as a citizen

    Comment by henrychinaski — January 30, 2009 @ 4:52 pm | Reply

  35. I also completely approve of the message that Obama sent, and as should be clear from past postings am no great fan of the One.

    I think in fact he didn’t express the thought nearly as forcefully as he might. He should have used some additional adjectives to amplify the ‘shameful’ description. And he should have demanded immediate repayment of ALL that STOLEN money. Sure he could not have enforced that demand, but as you say a virtual riding out of town on a rail is better than nothing, albeit distinctly inferior to the real thing in this case. Throw in a tar and feathering and I’m a happy camper.

    And I don’t care if he is a hypocrite, or that the weasels on Wall Street gave more to Democrats. The Republicans are associated in the popular mind with the corrupt plutocrats who CAUSED THIS WHOLE THING. It’s not a fair association but there it is nonetheless. What they should do now is support Obama in this critique and demand that restitution be made. Just because its ‘capitalist’ does not mean that it is ‘good’. And Wall Street as it now exists, is NOT a good part of the capitalist system. It’s the BROKEN, dysfunctional, corrupt, part. It’s the part that is slowly but surely killing the system off.

    Off with their heads. Faster,please.

    Comment by Dougf — January 30, 2009 @ 6:08 pm | Reply

  36. The most grievous sins of Wall Street are 1) the money they gave to Obama election campaign (for which, I suspect, they will soon be paying), and 2) the craven way in which they ran from the legitimate free-market comeupance they earned into the arms of the government.

    Comment by aramkr — January 30, 2009 @ 6:36 pm | Reply

  37. I remember reading elsewhere on PJ Media where the distorted Wall St profits/bonuses and the loss of mfg jobs overseas are an artifact of a monetary policy between the US, Saudis, Japan and the Chinese put in place during the Nixon/Kissinger era. Wherein we spend, the Japanese and Chinese make and the Saudi buy our debt. I’m not making excuses for Wall Street but until Americans understand what is happening the situation will continue to deteriorate.

    Comment by Mike Manges — January 30, 2009 @ 6:43 pm | Reply

  38. Greed is wrong unless you are Soros, the Google Billionaires, Steve Jobs, and anyone else who paid into the Obama slush fund.

    Comment by Thomas B. — January 30, 2009 @ 6:57 pm | Reply

  39. The original story on this is here:

    http://www.osc.state.ny.us/press/releases/jan09/012809.htm

    Note that the average bonus is about $112,000. In other words, we aren’t talking a few fat cats hauling off millions, but tens of thousands of employees collecting bonuses throughout 2008.

    Note this quote too:

    “The reduction in Wall Street bonuses will cost nearly $1 billion in personal income tax revenues for New York State and another $275 million for New York City. Before the start of the financial crisis, business and personal income tax collections from Wall Street activities accounted for up to 20 percent of State tax revenues and 12 percent of City tax revenues.”

    Comment by tbrosz — January 30, 2009 @ 7:10 pm | Reply

  40. What Chuckie Schumer taketh from Wall St. to get the anointed One elected, Chuckie Schumer must giveth back after the coronation.

    Now that the emperor is seated in his lofty throne he maketh govt. as big as he wants and soon taketh from all citizens to fulfill his whims, but not before he repays the jackals whose fleas do coveth his soul, for the dogs of liberalism have a mammoth appetite to satisfy. They seeketh reward only a weak soul high on pride, vanity and hubris can giveth them.

    It will be said in years henceforth this era of immorality was the beginning of the end – Lucifer’s servants exposed. Prepare for the final battle will be in your own lands.

    Comment by Vincent, NYC — January 30, 2009 @ 7:26 pm | Reply

  41. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nixon_Shock

    Peace.

    DS

    Comment by David S — January 30, 2009 @ 7:27 pm | Reply

  42. Ron,

    It is interesting that 3 or 4 comments here are reasoned and the rest are the same rants we’ve been hearing. I’m glad somebody is trying to send out a wake up call. Having the GOP representatives basically wash their hands of the situation is telling Americans (the 83% who say they are not happy with the way things are going) something that can’t be printed here.

    Comment by MylesJ — January 30, 2009 @ 7:40 pm | Reply

  43. Obamas calender:

    Friday -begin target,freeze,isolate ops against Rush Limbaugh

    Saturday & Sunday -casual dress at WH,
    tune in “my man Mathews”

    Monday – Hype spending bill as only patriotic

    Tuesday – Wine & dine my foes

    Wednesday- Celebration (my spending $$$$ coming through!)

    Thursday- Class warfare Day- call Wall Street out, rub people raw

    Comment by liberty4usa — January 30, 2009 @ 7:52 pm | Reply

  44. “Most of the Wall Street guys gave huge bucks and voted for Obama and other Democrats.”

    That’s right. The last time I checked the Wall Street elite contributed four to five dollars to the Democrats to every dollar to the Republicans. Is Ron Rosenbaum truly angry at the shenanigans of these wealthy denizens of the professional investors class? If so, he should be utterly contemptuous of the Democratic Party. By the way, has Rosenbaum ever heard of Goldman Sachs? Does he really believe that Republicans dominate this investment firm?

    Comment by David Thomson — January 30, 2009 @ 7:56 pm | Reply

  45. Never stopped him from accepting tens of millions from big Wall Street firms and from Corporate America. These guys don’t get out the checkbooks just to flagellate themselves.

    Comment by fred — January 30, 2009 @ 7:59 pm | Reply

  46. Obama spend over 600 MILLION dollars to get elected and about 150 Million for his inaugural.

    He’s a fine one to talk.

    Comment by Jbl — January 30, 2009 @ 8:11 pm | Reply

  47. If GAry Bauer can get to the truth why can’t Ron??
    This Railing against corporate bonuses in an economic downturn makes for great sound bites, but it ignores reality. Here are a few facts the liberal media won’t tell you.
    A lot of people on Wall Street receive relatively modest salaries, but get most of their annual income through year-end bonuses. That is true for employees from the boardroom to the mailroom. In fact, the $18 billion covered over 165,000 people! Did President Obama mention that or were you left with the impression that a handful of “Wall Street fat cats” laughed all the way to the bank? And not all companies paying out bonuses are getting government bailouts either.

    Comment by SueG — January 30, 2009 @ 8:34 pm | Reply

  48. Yup, Obama condemns Wall Street for handing out $18 billion in bonuses.

    And yet he is more than happy to give ACORN $5 billion this year. Seems to me that ACORN had a big role in setting this crisis in motion and I would ask why are they being rewarded but I already know the answer.

    Comment by TurfMonster — January 30, 2009 @ 8:39 pm | Reply

  49. The problem isnt bonuses, and isnt obscene amounts of funds and money involved. And cares which republican or democrat is wealthy, will get wealthier or their wives cannot go to their favorite day spa any longer.

    The Problem is our Banking system is broken, and nobody is addressing it. Why didnt the 350 BILLION transferred to Banks last year work?, where did the money go ? Why are we sending another TRILLION if we dont know where its going and who will be responsible for it?

    There are serious problems purposely ignored as the WH press corps continues being cowards and failures ( with the exception of Helen Thomas).

    Why we allow banking to continue operating as a broken system is incredulous to me, History will judge us harshly if we are so afraid to stand and face reality. Sweden set an example how to fix this, they went thru a difficult time but came out of it far stronger. Why are we so afraid to face the truth about our banks.

    This Nation needs to bite the bullet and Nationalize the banking system, otherwise we will continue to throw trillions upon trillions into a broken system that has stopped working.

    Comment by Alex — January 30, 2009 @ 9:04 pm | Reply

  50. Do not forget Michelle Obama getting 320K per year being VP of Community Organizing for Chicago Hospital, position that was created for her when her husband became US Senator and provided million in earmark for the hospital, and eliminated when she finally “resigned” a week before inauguration. Some nerve! That is one of the reasons healthcare is so expensive.

    Comment by Sonya — January 30, 2009 @ 9:13 pm | Reply

  51. Let’s not forget Obama’s spending of $172,000,000.00 for his inaguration. Most expensive in history. I would call that shameful, as well.
    Or Tim Geitner’s severence pay-‘bonus’ of almost $500,000.00 which he just received.

    Comment by question authority — January 30, 2009 @ 9:15 pm | Reply

  52. Just a hypothetical situation here… So, if a company loses $2 Billion a year, but an executive kept the company from losing $10 Billion…should he not get a bonus?

    Remember the figure was $18.4 Billion in total bonuses for ALL employees of ALL Wall Street Companies.

    So Question, is a $1 Million bonus a proper reward for saving a company $8 Billion? That would amount to 1/80th of a percent of how much was saved. And if that person shouldn’t be rewarded, then why would anyone work for a company that they are worried will have a downturn knowing their hard work won’t be rewarded?

    Comment please;
    http://redstatebluecity.blogspot.com/2008/11/lets-play-devils-advocate.html

    Comment by Robert Swick — January 30, 2009 @ 9:26 pm | Reply

  53. President Obama is wealthy himself, owning a million dollar home in Chicago, buddy buddy with Tony Rezko, etc. And why did he pick Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury, a man who did not pay income taxes for many years?

    Comment by jw — January 30, 2009 @ 9:46 pm | Reply

  54. The owner of the company I work for drives to work in a beautiful sports car. He has a great home with a pool. He lives well. Am I jealous ? Well, a little bit sometimes. But on the other hand… he’s 76 years old, and made quite a bit of money in previous careers…enough to start his own business 9 years ago at the age of 67. He could VERY easily have retired to some South Pacific island at that point. He didn’t have to risk everything he owned to start this medium sized business. He didn’t have to deal with the daily headaches of running a business at his age. He didn’t have to deal with endless government restrictions, rules, paperwork, and taxes. He didn’t have to hire me or any of our other employees. But he did take that risk. Yes, he lives pretty well, and I find myself jealous at times. But I ask myself if I’d risk everything I’d ever worked for at that age (or any age for that matter)and the answer is “no”. I’d be retired.

    Human nature installs some jealousy in all of us…liberalism plays upon that emotion. Our congress and new president understand this, but they don’t care. Using jealousy to play one American against another obviously works.

    Comment by DaveinPhoenix — January 30, 2009 @ 9:51 pm | Reply

  55. @27

    They might, however, just to fellate themselves.

    DS

    Comment by David S — January 30, 2009 @ 10:10 pm | Reply

  56. Guys – “Wall Street” is not some monolithic entity of mean people giving money to Democrats and stealing people’s houses. Executives are banned by the bailout provisions from taking bonuses. These are the guys who messed up. Then there are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of other people on “Wall Street” who need to get paid. They have mortgages, they’re raising kids, etc. They didn’t make the decisions that led to this mess. In many cases, they worked in a completely different part of the company. This also includes receptionists, I would assume.

    I’m not saying everyone is in a position to need their bonus, but I would say a majority of them are. And bonuses overall saw the biggest decline in decades this year as it is. If you read the report on this that came out, it’s tone is somber: people aren’t getting paid. Our brilliant leaders in Washington saw it as a great opportunity to grandstand, b/c it does a great deal to cover the fact that they are incompetent and think this is all a game.

    Remember when they hemmed and hawed over Paulson’s plan lacking oversight, and when they finally got an oversight board we had to find out through the newspapers weeks later that they never bothered to set it up and start the oversight project. Predictably, though, they still managed to act outraged that there was no oversight, even though it was entirely their fault!

    Comment by D — January 30, 2009 @ 10:31 pm | Reply

  57. David S,

    My post @27 was intended to make a serious point, while trying to be pithy about it. Your rebuttal falls flat because it’s oblivious to purpose and intent.

    Comment by fred — January 30, 2009 @ 11:02 pm | Reply

  58. I get confused with layers of sarcasm (or is it feigned irony?), but, shooting it straight — limitless greed is the requirement of market participants, and our free labor market attracts just those types to the job, and that’s good — their greed is what puts cash into our ATMs, gets groceries to our supermarkets’ shelves and cars to the dealers.
    The alternative that pushers of the “greedy bankers” meme are trying to effect is “let us, the government, take care of all your needs” and of course “send the greedy bastards to work on socially redeeming projects”. Thought we tried that in the 20th century.
    If we as taxpayers give free cash to a bank, I hope the bank pays big bonuses and the CEO buys a $50K toilet — it may sound a wake up call to this sort of use of public money and it will still may be the cheapest way we’ll learn this lesson, so the greed plays its market function again — the most effective allocation of capital to the task (in this case, the task of whupping the taxpayer upside the head).

    Comment by b4isleep — January 31, 2009 @ 12:09 am | Reply

  59. Billion dollar bonuses are totally inconsequential to what are economy has undergone.

    True, there’s something tacky about slurping up all that money when you’re undergoing a government bailout. But you’re wrong to imply these CEO salaries have anything to do with the suffering of others during this recession.

    And it’s rhetoric like Obama’s that inspires the counterproductive regulatory measures our congress is now considering.

    Instead of congratulating Obama on his emotional appeal to the masses – we should be shitting bricks that right now the senate is considering a ceo salary cap, perhaps the best way to drive businesses offshore.

    No one ever regulated their way out of a recession, but that’s what our government is trying to do as we speak.

    Be scared!

    Comment by Leslie — January 31, 2009 @ 3:53 am | Reply

  60. This article — and many of those expressing sympathy with it — assumes the collectivistic premise that if the overall performance of a given sector of the economy is poor, then no one who works in that sector can possibly have earned a bonus. This premise is so obviously false that to state it is to refute it.

    In short, neither the author of this article nor any of you agreeing with it have any idea whether or not the individuals in question earned these bonuses. Thus, your criticism is blind and reflects far more on you than on those who got the money.

    Comment by Michael Smith — January 31, 2009 @ 4:32 am | Reply

  61. Don’t forget we pay for Nancy Pelosi’s 200 seater jet to take her back and forth to California. At an annual cost of 5,000,000. Isn’t that a bonus?

    Comment by tinkerthinker — January 31, 2009 @ 5:13 am | Reply

  62. It’s hard to argue the point; but then I liked Blagojevich on the View so… It would be awfully nice to know what the comparative bonuses were on TARP receiving companies vs. nonTARP. I do believe Thain lost his job, in a private action, over the giving of bonuses at Merrill Lynch bought by BofA. It would be interesting to also compare the job reductions at TARP receiving banks. I also await the symmetrical outrage article over waitresses keeping their tips at Bennigans which went out of business; ‘bonuses,’ tips, are part of the incentive structure to keep bankers and waitresses hustling to their tables. Rosenbaum, though a moralist, after all has chosen to pay through his representatives, in the aggregate, only those not working.

    Comment by Michael — January 31, 2009 @ 5:57 am | Reply

  63. HMMMM

    Why aren’t people talking about the Clintons? Seems they and Carter will sell their soles for a little Gelt and exposure.

    Comment by Rick007 — January 31, 2009 @ 6:08 am | Reply

  64. Meanwhile, after having told us that we can’t keep our thermostats at 72 degrees, Obama has the West Wing heated to 84. In my mind, hypocrisy is worse than greed.

    Also, have you seen the contents of the so-called “stimulus” package? It actually stimulates very little. What it does do is line the pockets of Democratic constituents and expand the role of government into the private sector. Somehow, $18 billion seems like peanuts compared to the trillion+ the Democrats are spending.

    Comment by Odysseus — January 31, 2009 @ 6:42 am | Reply

  65. I assume Rosenbaum will also call out Obama for his outrageous $150 million dollar inaugural party at a time when “a billion live on less than a dollar a day — are starving and dying.” Will Rosenbaum also confront Tom Daschle (D) and Geithner for playing games with their tax bills when so many depend on the generosity of American tax system? I doubt it.

    What does Rosenbaum have to say about the rampant Democrat greed and incompetence that brought about the credit crisis and the collapse of housing market? Is Rosenbaum wagging his finger at Barney Frank (D), Chris Dodd (D) and all the rest (D) who had a hand in this mess? What about those selfish bastards, Bill Clinton and Algore and the millions they raked in just for making speeches? Where does Rosenbaum’s indignation stop? I would remind him that Wall Street resides in a blue state and votes, by and large, for Democrats.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/10/us/politics/10fannie.html?_r=1

    Comment by Cj — January 31, 2009 @ 6:46 am | Reply

  66. P.S. Is Rosenbaum upset that Democrat’s porkulus package is nothing but a collection liberal pet projects that will do little, if anything, to create jobs? Isn’t that the very definition of shameful and immoral, Mr.Rosenbaum?

    Comment by Cj — January 31, 2009 @ 7:03 am | Reply

  67. Imagine that you have spent a lifetime working your way up the business ladder. You have been trusted with the helm of a very large, very important business, a business which is itself in the business of trust. Then the government comes in and tells you you have to trust the untrustworthy. It starts to compete in your industry. It manipulates the market until everything collapses, and you are left to pick up the pieces.

    And then you are damned in the press and told that you aren’t worth your salary–when you probably deserve more for the rescue you are trying to manage.

    ==============

    Okay, that’s not the whole story. But it is the other side of it, a side that’s not being told. Maybe we can’t afford to play the “pity the fat-cat” tune, but the conservative media really ought to be sounding the outrage over what the government has done to the financial system, and the more ways we have to play the tune, the better.

    Comment by njcommuter — January 31, 2009 @ 7:17 am | Reply

  68. Odd how Obama gets mad after the checks cleared. Obama received $3.6 million in money from the Wall Street Bonus Boobs for his inauguration. Did he refuse that money? Of course not. It is like outlawing gas guzzlers after he drove his Hummer to the White House.

    Many prominent Wall Street executives have bundled large amounts for Obama’s inauguration, including:

    • Louis Susman, vice chairman of Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking and managing director, vice chairman of investment banking, Citigroup ($300,000);

    • Mark Gilbert, senior executive, Lehman Brothers ($185,000);

    • Robert Wolf, chairman and CEO, UBS Americas ($100,000);

    • Jennifer Scully, vice president, private wealth management, Goldman Sachs ($100,000);

    • Bruce Heyman, managing director of the Private Wealth Management Group, Midwest region, Goldman Sachs ($50,000);

    • Kobi Brinson, senior vice president and assistant general counsel, Wachovia ($35,000)

    “It’s no wonder that Wall Street is pouring so much money into this inauguration,” said David Arkush, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “The executive branch has given bailouts worth trillions of dollars to Wall Street firms and is considering trillions more. Wall Street has a lot at stake.”

    Comment by Karen — January 31, 2009 @ 7:28 am | Reply

  69. And yet there is another of His Majesty’s finest found to have cheated on their taxes. The jobs being created are at the IRS monitoring and auditing every Democrat.

    Comment by Cybergeezer — January 31, 2009 @ 7:29 am | Reply

  70. Ron,
    Are you mixing morality with capitalism? Didn’t they earn bonuses for their wise investment strategies? Strategies which earned a good return on your and my investments?

    Don’t you know you can’t legislate morality nor ethics? Find a broker who has your criteria in mind and switch, but don’t take their bonuses away.

    Wall Street is not the problem – can you say, Fannie & Freddie, ergo the Democrats?

    Comment by Grover Pillsbury — January 31, 2009 @ 7:53 am | Reply

  71. here here

    Comment by Alexshouz — January 31, 2009 @ 8:09 am | Reply

  72. here here Ron, I am with you.

    Comment by Alexshouz — January 31, 2009 @ 8:10 am | Reply

  73. When Jamie Gorelick, Barney Fwank, and Franklin Raines lined their pockets with $millions looted from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, THAT wasn’t shameful because those malefactors are Democrats . . . and everyone knows it’s OK for Democrats to steal from the people who actually work for a living.

    “Hypocritical” is wholly inadequate to describe B. Hussein and the Democratic Party. They are corrupt, pharisaical, contemptible, sanctimonious, misguided, ignorant, thieving liars.

    (By the way, it’s acceptable to call him B. Hussein now that we’re a nation of – in His own words – “Muslims and Christians.”)

    Comment by Reynolds Butler — January 31, 2009 @ 8:59 am | Reply

  74. As often happens I have to wonder if many of those commenting actually read the article! It’s very simple, the big wigs can have their billions in bonuses but not with our tax money. Why is that difficult? Why does it have to turn into another Obama is a poopoohead whine fest? It’s hypocritical to b*tch about hypocrisy while supporting the problem.

    Comment by Dave — January 31, 2009 @ 9:01 am | Reply

  75. Ron, get off it please. I probably missed it but I do hope you’ve done a piece on greed, and what’s more, sloth in government. Or is that your “don’t touch” baby. The Dems who pillaged Fannie May & Freddie Mac, remember?
    To be sure, the ethics in business have declined, greed at the top there is reprehensible. But in a society where morals everywhere are declining do you expect different? In a society which would elect a fraud like Obama, less than two weeks in office and President no less, you expect more from some, not all, business leaders?
    We’re about to get raped financially by the Democrats and you’re worried about business.
    A sophisticate like you should recognize the old diversion of statist thugs everywhere,”don’t watch me, watch the other guy”. Meanwhile his hand is in your pocket.
    Give it up Ron !

    Comment by johnt — January 31, 2009 @ 9:46 am | Reply

  76. But words are cheap. Saying something is shameful is easy and everybody can agree, but that does it do about the underlying shame. Is anybody sent to jail and ill-gotten gain forced to be given back?

    Many politicians are corrupt and they are not likely to DO anything about it–just talk.

    What is a shame is that we Americans heed what is said at all. Show me prosecution for wrong-doing and then I will believe Barack Obama.

    The inauguraton costs were a bit of a shame, too, weren’t they? Are not campaign costs a shame?

    Comment by Kris — January 31, 2009 @ 9:57 am | Reply

  77. “Hey Franlin, this is Barack, can you kick back some that cash that you pilfered from Fannie so I don’t look like a complete hypocritical jack-ass. See ya.” Beeeep

    Comment by quasar — January 31, 2009 @ 10:03 am | Reply

  78. While some may look askance at the “billion dollar bonuses” collected by some, I have to ask a deceptively simple question… namely, where did the money come from?

    Those collecting such sums didn’t use thugs with guns to extract it from downtrodden serfs, or engage in criminal (Madoff aside) acts. Instead, they provided a service or good that people, of their own free will, decided was important enough to exchange for the fruits of their own labors.

    In other words, those collecting great sums provided great services. Seems pretty fair to me.

    The only “fly in the ointment” as they used to say, is where the corruptible influence of government created markets or situation in which the unscrupulous could profit from the unwary. For instance, the sub-prime loans mess was only possible due to CRA and the thuggery of politically motivated groups like ACORN. Oil companies made billions because the government, through environmental regulations and land use restrictions, has prevented development of readily available oil fields, creating an artificial shortage, driving up prices.

    Those criticizing CEO pay as a proxy for the exploitation of the poor, your ire would be better of directed at the manipulator in Congress. It is they whose programs have repeatedly and perpetually piled misery onto the lower levels of our society.

    After all, it’s tough to have a mob if the peasants aren’t angry about something.

    Comment by Kicker — January 31, 2009 @ 10:18 am | Reply

  79. Ron,
    The manufacturing firm I work for has a two tier bonus system,a group bonus and a company bonus. The group bonus based on the groups performance and the company bonus is based on the overall performance. If my group under-performs, no group bonus. But if the company as a whole performs I get the company bonus and vice-versa. Bonus are an incentive to exceed expectations under the theory the whole will benefit.

    During my college years I worked at a firm that paid a base salary plus a piece-work rate. If I made the rate I got the base plus the rate up to a maximum per-hour. Unfortunately for me I was able to exceed the piece rate but the Union (IBEW) prevented me from making more. I was one of two employees classified as unratable, the company couldn’t use either of us to set the production rate so high that an ‘average’ person could never achieve it. The Union couldn’t tolerate an employee making more than another regardless of talent. So, I would take a break every hour or simply stop working and sit at my work station when I made the maximum number of pieces. So much for merit and ability, hey?

    Comment by Mike Manges — January 31, 2009 @ 11:44 am | Reply

  80. Ron, I’m mostly a fan, own a couple of your books including the Shakrespeare one, but you’re talking through your hat here. The only thing you can say prima facie about people with great wealth is that they have lots of money.

    A more detailed argument against, however, would require you to manage to say something that can be objectively evaluated, compared to known facts, or had greater semantic content than “I don’t like it”, and that’s pretty much missing.

    Comment by Charlie (Colorado) — January 31, 2009 @ 12:03 pm | Reply

  81. Marianne “We are supposed to own the government, not the other way around.”

    they don’t. the president is our employee. nothing more. if he does not do what he guaranteed he would in order to be hired, well, what usually happens to employees who don’t do their job? =|

    Comment by hp — January 31, 2009 @ 12:42 pm | Reply

  82. […] February 1, 2009 Sometimes, I wonder if people really realize what they are saying. Ron Rosenbaum may be right about the greed of the Wall Street wealthies and their bonuses. But he left out one […]

    Pingback by Moral Indignation « Half-Baked Sourdough — January 31, 2009 @ 2:13 pm | Reply

  83. I disagree. These “bonuses” represent the bulk of the workers’ compensation. Should they not get paid? Instead of describing it as $18 billion in bonuses, it could have been described as a $14 billion CUT in pay (which it was). Somehow I missed where Obama talked about how shameful it is that the UAW wasn’t accepting 30 percent pay cuts for its employees.

    Comment by jimmyk — January 31, 2009 @ 3:25 pm | Reply

  84. Nice little demonstration, Mr Rosenbaum, of a deeply-held, Shadow-Affective even, envy and resentment of the prosperous.

    But, descending as it does from a false assertion and having no basis in Truth, that’s all it is.

    For starters, Mr Churchill (one of the modern era’s most prominent Anglo-Americans) never so addressed Capitalism.

    Rather Mr Churchill said of “DEMOCRACY:” (AKA MOB RULE and/or as “let’s have a Roosevelt, a Kennedy, a Johnson, a Carter, a Cli’ton, a Zero and/or any other of the treasonous recidivists the vast criminal enterprises also known of as the “Democrats” from time to time foists upon us) —

    “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

    And, meanwhile, what we are stuck with is the form of Fabian Fascism morphed into Neo-Corporatism morphed into Neo-Feudalism morphed into full blown full-blooded illegal, unlawful, un-Constitutional bloody Fascism that has been foisted upon our beloved Fraternal republic by the generations of activist “Democrats” who now own operate and control every lever of government machinery in every department and branch of government, local though feral — and who have now made finance and commerce and industry and production and government at every level so inseparable and indistinguishable from the “Democratic” Party itself.

    And/or from the governments of Mussolini’s Italy, Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s USSR and/or Mao’s China!

    The Second American War of Independence, anyone?

    Brian Richard Allen
    Los Angeles CalifUBAMBIcated 90028 — and the Far Abroad

    Comment by Brian Richard Allen — January 31, 2009 @ 5:42 pm | Reply

  85. Some careful analysis of Obama’s policies and attitudes will show that they run counter to his professed desire to aid the economy of the United States.

    Those “fat cats” on Wall Street represent about 18% of the tax base of New York State and a major portion of the budget of New York City. Those “fat cats” are responsible for a major portion of the economy and real estate markets of Manhattan and Long Island.

    Cancellation of the Citi private jet, if it was to be made here in America, will result in a number of consequences – intended or stupid. The loss of manufacturing jobs associated with that jet and the loss of knowledge of manufacturing processes due to the workers moving to non-manufacturing sections of the economy. If the aircraft manufacturing company closes due to lack of orders, then future manufacturing of these planes will be done overseas.

    If these anti-capitalist sentiments are applied nation-wide, then one may expect a multiplication of these losses.

    MSM and government criticism of “excesses” is motivated by the rather primitive rage known in earlier times as jealousy. In the post-modern era these feelings need to be controlled and contained for the good of the entire population. In the past, successful groups have been wipe out by those who held power but not skills or intelligence. Note that Stalin, Pol Pot and Hitler took similar approaches. America might do well to avoid even the whiff of such deadly sins, since they will rebound to kill us all.

    For the conspiracy-theory set, please Google “cloward-pavin.”

    Comment by Jerry — January 31, 2009 @ 7:22 pm | Reply

  86. I did not vote for Obama and agree that he said the right thing concerning bonuses. Those who drove the banks into chapter 11 (and it would have been chapter 11 or worse if not for the bailout) should not get a bonus and perhaps should refund at least the previous year’s money given how bad they managed their companies.

    But Obama needs to go after government officials who took favors from banks etc. to be completely consistent.

    Comment by SAF — February 1, 2009 @ 5:14 am | Reply

  87. It doesn’t take millions to be a money hog. How about Michelle’s phony balony pre-election job? Which has now been eleimated.

    Comment by William — February 1, 2009 @ 8:51 am | Reply

  88. Nr. 53. I meant eliminated.

    Comment by William — February 1, 2009 @ 8:52 am | Reply

  89. Let me recommend Rob Long’s piece in the new “National Review” about taking a container freighter from Seattle to Shanghai. The ship takes empty cargo containers over there and brings back goods of every kind, made in China, here. We get all their labor and output for boxes of nothing, and our only method of keeping it going is one brilliant, charismatic man.

    Comment by charlie finch — February 1, 2009 @ 9:47 am | Reply

  90. If great wealth is “prima facie” evidence of immorality, then what can we say about the Federal government itself? Even further, when you have great wealth but you want even more without the inconvenient problem of having to earn it, what does that do to your moral standing? Is there a problem here that the unenlightened folk ignorantly refer to as a double standard? You bet.

    Mr. Rosenbaum and people like him don’t really have a problem with Socialism at all, they just object to anyone calling it by its real name.

    Comment by Tcobb — February 1, 2009 @ 12:34 pm | Reply

  91. 4. Sissy Willis:
    “As long as you don’t mind a sickening dose of hypocrisy with your president’s high-mindedness. Can you say George Soros?”

    Indeed! Soros, the destroyer of the economy of whole nations, the currency manipulator and the one who fattened himself on the misery of poor people all over the earth. And possibly the major financier behind Obama’s rise to power. Now he wants oil to stay above $70 a barrel. Go figure that.
    ————————————
    Who is John Galt?

    Comment by Mike2 — February 1, 2009 @ 1:35 pm | Reply

  92. I totally agree with what President Obama said, but somehow it has totally been forgotten that during the time that Congress voted for the bailout, Candidate Obama was against having any oversight on how this money would be spent.

    Now that Wall Street is using the money as they see fit to keep their businesses going, it is a problem. So, it sounds to me as though Mr. Obama just goes wichever way the political wind is blowing, and the MSM just conveniently forgets his past stand on issues.

    But, what can you say about those rich people who, during a recession, and with taxpayers’ money, voted to give themselves a pay raise without the taxpayers having a say in the matter? If anything, Wall Street was just following the example set by Congress. And, of course, who is there to say anything about the shameful way that Congress spends taxpayers’ money? Certainly not President Obama, or anyone in Congress, or even the MSM for that matter. So, let’s go ahead and be disgusted with Wall Street, because if we focus our attention on that, it will be diverted from the most disgusting group of all.

    Comment by Confused in Virginia — February 1, 2009 @ 4:05 pm | Reply

  93. Everyone missed what this was really about. Remember this: the Dems are about POWER. This grandstanding by Obama was more of his I-hate-capitalist nonsense. It is further demonizing of capitalists. The goal is to get people into the mindset of being unwilling to defend the capitalist system. Once there, Obama can do further nationalizing. It is simply his version of Hitler’s demonizing of the Jews preparatory to nationalizing their assets. It is mere demagoguery. He is whipping up the masses. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

    Comment by Marc Malone — February 1, 2009 @ 4:07 pm | Reply

  94. For sense on this issue see Tom Maguire. For starters, you’re talking about a lot of firms that did not receive TARP money. Also, for example, one of the major recipients was BofA which is not headquartered in NY, the area applicable to the report.

    Comment by Michael — February 1, 2009 @ 4:16 pm | Reply

  95. The problem I have with this post is the underlying assumption that that it is IMMORAL to acquire wealth.

    Personally, I don’t care how rich you are. I got more important things to do than to be jealous of other people. In fact, if people have such a problem with the wealthy, then you should have a problem with Obama too. If you ran your company into the ground and they decided to give you 18 billion for it- they’re idiots!!! Let them screw themselves. I don’t care.

    And I refuse to give any credit to Obama for what he said because it’s nothing more than a distraction from the larger issue before us. I find it funny that the President is decrying Wall Streeters for the amount of money they earn, while planning 800+ billion in new spending adding to our ever increasing debt. The same debt he had a problem with in the election, but now– not so much. His debt spending and bank nationalizing is the real “height of irresponsibility”. He wants them to show some restraint in exchange for money? Here’s a brilliant idea- how about you don’t give them the money?!

    People really need to get out of the rhetoric and look at reality. Stop applauding him for his cheap talk. That’s all it is.

    Comment by xax — February 1, 2009 @ 4:18 pm | Reply

  96. Frankly, what another person earns isn’t any of our business. When we reach a point that we condemn the salary and bonuses of others it is a reflection of jealousy and covetousness in our own hearts. To those who aren’t religious the following isn’t written for you but for those 70-80% of Americans that claim to follow some version of the Christian Religion.
    What part of “Thou shalt not Covet” don’t you understand. God.

    Comment by Chemman — February 1, 2009 @ 5:05 pm | Reply

  97. @60. Tcobb:

    If great wealth is “prima facie” evidence of immorality, then what can we say about the Federal government itself?

    No evidence of immorality based on this theory – the Federal government has the opposite of great wealth.

    Even further, when you have great wealth but you want even more without the inconvenient problem of having to earn it, what does that do to your moral standing? Is there a problem here that the unenlightened folk ignorantly refer to as a double standard? You bet.

    You do a good job of encapsulating the role of the banking industry and Madoff’s ilk in our current crises.

    Mr. Rosenbaum and people like him don’t really have a problem with Socialism at all, they just object to anyone calling it by its real name.

    Most people in the USA are like him in this way.

    Peace.

    DS

    Comment by David S — February 1, 2009 @ 7:18 pm | Reply

  98. It should be fairly simple. If the Government has to bail out a company, the board and upper management should be gone, period, and any bonuses or extravagant salaries or perks received while the company had operating losses should be forfeit or reimbursed. Then cancel the stock, reorganize, and recapitalize to pay the debtors.

    Getting rich on the way up and then sticking it to the taxpayer on the way down and out is not free market capitalism. It is also not a legitimate reason to embrace socialism and put the government boot on the back of the necks of those that do the right thing.

    Comment by Dave (Other Dave) — February 1, 2009 @ 8:40 pm | Reply

  99. Obama is doing a good job though collecting money from ‘malefactors of great wealth.’ If he’ll just keep up his apointments of people like Geitner and Daschle, we’ll have the tax collections rolling.

    Comment by Michael — February 1, 2009 @ 8:54 pm | Reply

  100. Dave, it is not my intention to post another “Obama is a poopoohead” comment (I love that term, by the way, and will add it to “Bush stole my cookies”), but I think it is fair to note that the President’s statement to me ears sounds nothing more than the traditional Democrat bread and butter of class envy pandering. If ti were possible to do an objective study I’d wager that more businesses have been ruined and jobs lost due to excessive government regulation, taxation and malfeasance appeasing constituant groups than problems on Wall Street.

    Comment by submandave — February 2, 2009 @ 8:27 am | Reply

  101. @65

    Most taxpayers don’t like the idea that their taxes are going to the excessive salaries of the same fools that created this mess.

    If you take a handout, don’t spend it on champagne. Spend it on bread and butter.

    Peace.

    DS

    PS – Think about a poor, single mother, paying taxes out of pocket, watching these fat cats on TV walk off with million dollar bonuses paid from her own taxes. It’s a cruel and unusual situation in which to put the taxpayer.

    Comment by David S — February 2, 2009 @ 10:55 am | Reply

  102. The problem is that all politicians are afraind to describe what is really going on and use false and misleading euphemisms. There are no “taxpayer dollars”. What there is is an entry of a trillion dollar number onto a computer. The taxpayer dollars will merely pay the interest on the debt if we can continue to roll it over to the foreign countries which produce our goods. There are hundreds of thousands of American jobs which are not really jobs (“human resources administrator”); those jobs are gone. Eventually the US will be forced to reindustrialize itself and adopt high tariffs, abandon the dollar as a world currency, because other countries will not tolerate our consumer elitism. As Noam Chomsky argues, most of the consumer choices we have are vain and superfluous. The rest of the world will cease to support them.

    Comment by charlie finch — February 2, 2009 @ 11:10 am | Reply

  103. Obama is assembling the most corrupt administration of tax cheats and wheeler dealers that we’ve ever seen. The GOP seems to go right along with the ‘taxes are for little people’ attitude. It makes sense that Obama would like to divert any attention from the massive looting he intends by highlighting the (minuscule by comparison) corruption that occurs in the private sector.

    Pickpockets rely on distraction. Don’t forget it.

    Comment by RE — February 3, 2009 @ 5:56 am | Reply

  104. “To be brutally frank, it’s none of our business.”

    Bravo!

    The article is moral nonsense from start to finish. It’s one thing to single out a specific individual and provide evidence that he hasn’t earned or doesn’t deserve what he got, even if it was gained in free trade. To argue that it’s ‘obscene’ to get wealthy simply because others have little is pure egalitarianism, the most evil philosophy ever devised.

    Save the class warfare rhetoric for advocating Marxism. An advocate of capitalism has no use for it.

    Comment by Jeff Perren — February 3, 2009 @ 9:26 am | Reply

  105. Obama other favorite ‘Chick ‘ is Opera …… She is worth several Billion dollars for making a low IQ TV Chick crap .OBAMA MADE 5 MIILION FOR A BOOK HE CO- WROTE
    No one calls that Greed or Hollywood 50 Million a Stupid movie for a Hour and a Half of work they spend 30-45 minutes in . How about the far far leftist Google Guys making 21 Billion dollars in only 8 years .
    How about far leftist Bruce Springstein making $ 250.000.00 for a 45 minute to a Hour show .

    Liberal “””””””””””””””” HYPOCRISY “””””””””” ? Hell Yes !!!!!

    Comment by ReConUSMC — February 3, 2009 @ 4:40 pm | Reply

  106. This is a effing circus “We the People” are paying for.

    Comment by Cybergeezer — February 3, 2009 @ 5:26 pm | Reply

  107. Obama said, “This is not the time for profits”.

    A more obscene statement has not been made for some time.

    In “Atlas Shrugged”, one man said to a major industrialist at a party that “we might not allow you to make any profit at all”.

    This was the type of prevailing attitude in this novel that caused the disappearance of many key businessmen, inventors, investors and entrepreneurs who, although nearly invisible, turned out to be the ones on whom the world depended for nearly everything.

    Why should we not expect a similar “strike of the mind” against Obama’s outrageous remarks, an attitude apparently shared by today’s Democrat Party?

    Socialism depends on brute force. Socialists expect those who keep this economy running to operate under compulsion, usually against their own self-interest.

    Eventually, whether it’s a catastrophic meltdown or a slow decline, the great minds and risk-takers withdraw from an environment they know will lead to their destruction.

    They may retire or simply work for their own needs, but they will not invest, they will not create, and they will not risk, knowing that greedy bureaucrats stand ready to seize their profits to ‘spread the wealth around’ as Obama so casually puts it.

    Then socialism will show itself to be a tool of naked force wielded by panicked collectivists desperate to enslave the few remaining minds.

    Obama’s ‘civilian national security force’ may well turn out to be far more than a massive community service project.

    Comment by Tailgunner — February 3, 2009 @ 7:17 pm | Reply

  108. I love how Obama chastises wallstreet while handing out a trillion dollars. I believe in capitalism, all the failing businesses should be allowed to fail no matter the result. It will make our lives hell for awhile, but REAL recovery will occur. Our childrens lives will be better for it.

    Comment by Brian — February 4, 2009 @ 11:36 am | Reply

  109. I want to preface this with I’m a conservative Republican.

    We have given away our industrial base to a host of countries. No other country in the world has ever done this. Without a manufacturing base in this country, you can not have a viable economy. Unfortunately both political parties were complicit in sending our jobs overseas. We can point and howl but it isn’t going to help. Obama’s method of throwing money at the problem is only a short term solution. The only thing that will really help is to rebuild out industrial base and punish those who send jobs overseas.

    The other point here is Obama is throwing money to the private sector. We should get something for that. What is wrong with controlling the companies you bank roll. If its done in the private sector, its good business. If it is done by government it is socialism. Every innovation in the car industry was stifled by either the oil industry or the auto industry itself. They richly deserve what they are getting now. All they seem to do is show us what they can do in the future not now. We live in the present, we need the innovations now. If it cost those arrogant b’stards control of their companies, tough.

    Internationally we face industries in Europe that have been nationalized. Japan has been called Japan Corp. because of the intimacy of government and business. Neither of the two let us play on a level playing field. Korea has joined in and is modeling itself after Japan. Our buddies are kicking our a’ses.

    This is akin to what we had to do during WWII, that is do what you have to. We’ll straighten it out later. We always do. We’re a remarkable country.

    Comment by Oscar the Grump — February 4, 2009 @ 12:35 pm | Reply

  110. @92

    Enjoy your Rand fantasies. Meanwhile, in the real world, folks are hard at work trying to prevent the capitalist house of cards from falling under the weight of its own greed.

    Peace.

    DS

    Comment by David S — February 4, 2009 @ 1:26 pm | Reply

  111. #93 David S – That was such a beautiful Marxist statement. You could not have made your belief system any more evident. “…capitalist house of cards from falling under the weight of its own greed.” Wow. All your postings, and now we know exactly where you stand!

    Comment by Marc Malone — February 4, 2009 @ 1:48 pm | Reply

  112. @94. Marc Malone:

    Let me know if you come up with a better description of the mess we’ve been watching develop on Wall Street, and the attendant worldwide fallout.

    Peace.

    DS

    Comment by David S — February 4, 2009 @ 2:15 pm | Reply

  113. Churchill: “It’s the worst system in the world-except for all the others.”

    He actually said that about democracy not capitalism.

    There is a difference.

    I’d just like to know how Wall St. can pay out $18 billion in bonuses then say they are bankrupt and need a bail-out. Didn’t people used to receive big bonuses for success? These guys want a reward for incredible failure.

    Comment by Northern Light — February 4, 2009 @ 4:31 pm | Reply

  114. Capitalism is what happens when government leaves people alone.

    Ron, I know you fancy yourself as an intellectual, somewhat better than the rest of us, however, here is an interview from a few decades ago of a real intellectual. Milton Freidman’s words were astoundingly relative to today. As Obama directs the country closer to the cliff’s edge, I would find Freidman’s views to be fascinating. Unfortunately, he’s gone. I’m certain Obama’s agenda would exclude Freidman’s position in any case.

    Comment by Syd B. — February 8, 2009 @ 9:16 pm | Reply

  115. I love these clowns who speak of capitalism as the only moral system as if an economic system that distributed goods according to market principles grew out of moral principles and the will to do good. Capitalism may be a more efficient system than it alternatives but how do you begin to impute morality to a market model in which there is no concept of want other than that one wants as much as he or she can possibly get. Self-interest of the market sort need not be immoral, but let’s not make selfishness and greed virtues either. Hey, Ron, at least the power-tie and mojito set can read your column. Not well of course, but it’s a start.

    Comment by Jack R — February 19, 2009 @ 8:37 am | Reply

  116. Looking through these posts, I se no relevant mention of the key word CONTRACT. One of the principles of a free society is that contracts must be honored. If those bonuses were the result of legitimate contracts they must be honored. Let’s not confuse ethics with legal requirements. The second thing is that no one seems to consider that those who achieved the positions that the companies were willing to pay large amounts of money to earned their way up the latter. They were successful in the past or they never would have gone as far as they did. There are exceptions, of course, but the general rule is that you perform or you don’t get promoted. I see many signs of jealousy (taake care of your own business and on’t worry what others make), anger at the amount (again the contract determines the amount), and bewilderment (that anyone could pay this kind of money without some sort of performance clause). Performance clauses are not the easiest things to write. I doubt whether there are any who intentionally took their company down the road to ruin. Do we penalize them for not being fortune tellers? Did some of them fail because they gave in to the Dodds, Obamas and Franks to loan easy money? I suspect that if anyone tried tio sue them for taking the money they would lose.
    So the imposter in the white house is capping CEO pay. What about everyone else. there is no law that a CEO has to make the most money in a company. If the politicians would stop playing with the rules, this never would have happened, because the overwhelming number of people who got loans would have been able to repay them. Now you’ve elected someone who wants more government to “fix” the problems. When you lear some day that governments are incapable of doijng anything but taking tax money and the more they get the more they misuse.

    Comment by howiem — February 20, 2009 @ 8:44 am | Reply


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