Wednesday, March 18, 2009

March 17, 2009

     Charles (Chuck) Grassley is a Republican senator from Iowa.  Like most Iowans, he is quiet, moderate, well-spoken, not given to rants or tantrums.  So you can imagine my surprise when he said  AIG executives, who have  awarded themselves millions of dollars in bonuses despite running the company into the ground, might want to kill themselves. 
     "I suggest, you know, obviously, maybe they ought to be removed.  But I would suggest the first thing that would make me feel a little bit better toward them if they'd follow the Japanese example and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say 'I'm sorry,' and then do one of two things:  resign or go commit suicide.  And in the case of the Japanese, they usually commit suicide before they make any apology."
     Whoee!  Holy Moley!  Wow!
     He used to be such a soft-spoken guy.  And yet, and yet...if I'd lost my life savings in the collapse these managers managed, I'd be tempted to stand up and say, "Way to go, Chuck! They won't do it, of course, but you're right."
     A bonus for wrecking  a company demands really extraordinary arrogance, a belief that the rules that govern ordinary life, ordinary people, don't apply to me because I'm so special.  "Masters of the Universe" they called themselves in one movie I remember.  It's a little like a general who's lost a battle demanding a victory medal.
     And the other thing, of course, is that the supposedly powerful U.S. government apparently can't do anything about it.  Why not?  Arrest them, seize their bank accounts, nationalize the money in the interest of national security--do something to get the money back!
     And if the government can't, well, bravo Mr. Grassley.  You speak for many.  

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