Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Congress Takes a Breath

For once that fact that Congress takes so long to do something is a good thing. This time around when the Bush administration is saying jump people on both sides of the aisle are asking questions.

That's not to say that something shouldn't be done. Something does need to be done. But maybe just maybe this time some deliberation and thought will happen instead of just passing whatever the Bush administration sends Congress's way.

There is a growing sentiment from both Republicans and Democrats that executive salaries should be reined in. Also that the American tax payer should be getting some of the assets of the companies that it's bailing out.

Here's the response from the White House by Tony Fratto on this:

"We certainly understand and are sympathetic to the sentiment regarding the pay of CEOs and senior management of these firms, but we have to focus on the problem, and the problem is that we need these firms to participate in the program and sell us this debt. Having punitive measures would provide a disincentive for firms to participate, and that would make the program much less likely to succeed.

"CEO compensation and corporate governance in public companies are very important issues -- especially when receiving taxpayer support -- but we need to be focused on fixing this problem in our markets right now. We can and should return to those issues once we get this legislation passed."

Except how exactly do you return to this issue when you've established the bailout package. The urgency presented by the White House and Fed makes it sound like the money is needed right away. It sounds like the buying of assets needs to start right away or else. But if that's the case then it seems to me there isn't going to be time to return to this issue.

The Post covers the hearings in this story and here's a great piece by Dan Froomkin.

I think this sums up what many people are thinking around the country and the type of comment Congress is getting:

"I don't think a single call to my office about this has been positive," said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). He said there was "outrage from taxpayers" about bailing out Wall Street financiers whose country club memberships cost many times more than most Americans' salaries.

And you know what, and this has been a long time in coming, members of both parties were actually concerned about what this would do to average people. Of course they might be so concerned because of the fact that the election is exactly six weeks away. But, if Congress has to be scared into doing its job, of asking questions, of deliberating, of making sure the plan has a chance to work, that's fine by me.

1 comment:

Arthur Schenck said...

Yep, completely agree. The Bush-Cheney regime is pushing a fraud on American taxpayers and Congress has got to apply the brakes, for a change, and get it right.

I thought Fratto's comment was telling: These people swindled America, and now want to be bailed out, but we're not allowed to put any conditions on it? That's typical Bush-Cheney bull.

The way I see it, if these companies want taxpayer money, it should come with strings attached. If they don't want the strings, that's fine, then they don't get the money. I'm sure their shareholders would understand and support their decision to let a company go bankrupt rather than accept a cut in their executive salaries. Of course shareholders wouldn't be upset at losing their entire investment so executives can avoid a pay cut—at least, until the company disappears, that is.