Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Obama, Democrats approved AIG bonuses?

Posted by sanityinjection on March 19, 2009

Bloomberg is reporting that a provision of the Democrat-written stimulus package, championed by President Obama, authorized the payment of executive bonuses by financial institutions receiving federal funds, including those paid by AIG which have been the center of a firestorm this week.

According to the article, Senate Banking Committee Chair Chris Dodd (D-CT) said that he weakened restrictions in the stimulus bill on executive compensation to allow any bonuses that had already been agreed to in contracts – including the $165 million AIG has paid its execs. Dodd claims he did not want to do this but was asked to do so by the Obama Administration. The Administration denies this, saying they only expressed concern over whether Dodd’s original language would survive a legal challenge against retroactive changes to contracts.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that the stimulus bill written and championed by the Democrats and the President authorized these bonuses. So it is a little ridiculous for Democrat legislators to be barking in outrage about them now. (Most Republicans voted against the bill.)

Perhaps the real lesson here is that no amount of whipped-up economic panic makes it a good idea to vote for legislation if you haven’t read it and don’t know what it does.

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2 Responses to “Obama, Democrats approved AIG bonuses?”

  1. tubby said

    I need a little education on this. How does the voting process usually work? I mean, if I’m your average Joe Q. Legislator, and I’m well-intentioned (i.e., want to make the right choice and not necessarily always vote along party lines). Let’s say I only have a couple hours to dedicate to reading up on new bills’ language, and those hours are not nearly enough time to review everything I need to review. What do I do? Do these guys have lackies that can summarize the bills’ language for them? Hopefully, lackies that won’t spin the bill the way they want their boss to hear it? It scares me how much legislation is passing so quickly that’s not being read.

  2. sanityinjection said

    Especially in the Senate, legislators do have staff members whose job it is to make sure the legislator is well informed about any bill coming up for a vote. Of course, these staffers are only human, so the more time they have to work with, the better job they can do. The stimulus package certainly isn’t the first super-lengthy bill Congress has ever passed. But in this particular case, the bill was deliberately rushed to the floor from conference committee precisely to prevent legislators and staffers from having too much time to discover what was actually in it. That’s bad government.

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