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Letters to the Editor

Clean house

March 23, 2009

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To the editor:

The AIG fiasco is the consequence of not allowing a bankruptcy to occur. Congress is propping up a zombie company in order that anyone who made a bad decision suffers no loss. Congress has rewarded AIG for speculating on credit default swaps. If they make money, they keep all the profits. If they lose money, they are made whole again with taxpayer dollars. What a country!

AIG paid out $165 million in bonuses after they received over $180 billion of taxpayer money. However, this disappointment pales compared to the incompetence coming out of Washington. The federal government owns 80 percent of AIG (nationalization) and they act as if they have no control. The AIG bonuses amount to less than .01 percent of the $180 billion. What about the other 99.99 percent? Why isn’t the government accounting for the rest of the money? Maybe they don’t want the public to know how many billions of dollars went to foreign banks and U.S. investment banks that have previously received bailout money. The taxpayers are bailing out those that have already been bailed out. This lunacy has to stop.

This country can no longer afford to be complacent. A government that continues to reward failure and punish success needs to be replaced. We can do this through the ballot box. I urge you to vote any incumbent out of office who has been a part of this bailout legislation. Taxpayers unite.

J. Joe Herynk,
Lawrence

Comments

ocean 5 years ago

anyone who has ever had a student loan must realize how obscene these AIG bonus amounts and subsidy truly are.....

billions & millions & billions of corporate welfare.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

"If you have a 401k, IRA or mutual fund, your ability to survive and thrive is based upon the success of “capitalist corporate institutions” which you seem to deplore."

I don't deplore them. I just recognize that there's an inherent conflict between the "greater good" of society and the fiduciary requirement placed on corporations to consider profit to shock holders above all other considerations. The current economic meltdown is the result.

"Union bosses are the same in that their goal is to make the most money possible for their constituencies. Unions are no longer about safe working conditions and reasonable hours; they're about making the most money for themselves possible. Period."

There are certainly problems with unions (which you greatly exaggerate,) but they stem mostly from becoming overly complacent partners in an entrenched corporate system. You can't fix the unions without fixing a badly broken corporate culture.

"And how many environmentalists are salivating at the mouth today because they know their pockets will soon be fattened by all the dead-end environmental research and development that will be, quite unbelievably, funded in the coming years by my family's tax dollars."

Some "environmentalists" are in it mostly for the money, but they are nearly all of them greenwashing shills that have already been bought off by major trade organizations. The rest are well-intentioned people who want exactly what they say the want-- a sustainably healthy planet for everyone.

"Please don't wrongly believe that your special interests are somehow more saintly than mine."

I think I've addressed this silly comment adequately enough already.

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SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years ago

bozo,

If you have a 401k, IRA or mutual fund, your ability to survive and thrive is based upon the success of "capitalist corporate institutions" which you seem to deplore. Let's all hope our country fosters an environment where companies, both large and small, prosper greatly.

And who's best interest are trial lawyers looking out for? Please don't say the plaintiffs. They're looking out for #1, plain and simple. Therefore, trial lawyers fund the politicians and the political parties that will guarantee them the easist path to personal riches.

Union bosses are the same in that their goal is to make the most money possible for their constituencies. Unions are no longer about safe working conditions and reasonable hours; they're about making the most money for themselves possible. Period.

And how many environmentalists are salivating at the mouth today because they know their pockets will soon be fattened by all the dead-end environmental research and development that will be, quite unbelievably, funded in the coming years by my family's tax dollars.

Please don't wrongly believe that your special interests are somehow more saintly than mine.

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ocean 5 years ago

3M, Kroger, and AIG well that's a busy guy---

not at all subject to special interest lobbyists, right?

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ocean 5 years ago

Edward M. Liddy (born January 28, 1946) is currently the chief executive officer of American International Group (AIG), where he succeeded Robert B. Willumstad in September, 2008.[2]. Liddy is currently on the board of 3M and The Kroger Company. Upon taking the position of CEO at American International Group, Mr. Liddy had to resign his board position at Goldman Sachs.[3] He is also the former chairman, president and CEO of Allstate. Prior to Allstate, Mr. Liddy also held the position of chief financial officer of G. D. Searle & Company, where former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld held the CEO position. He has recently become a partner at private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, which he joined in 2008.[4] Born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, he holds a degree from Catholic University of America (1968) and holds an MBA from George Washington University (1972). Liddy garnered national headlines in October 2008 for defending a controversial $440,000 AIG corporate executive retreat at the luxury St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, California. The retreat, which was held shortly after the U.S. government rescued AIG from insolvency with $84 billion in loans, included $200,000 for rooms, $150,000 for meals and $23,000 for the spa. In testimony before the U.S. House Oversight Committee, Liddy stated that such retreats "are standard practice in our industry."[5] During the U.S. presidential debate on October 7, 2008, Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama mentioned the retreat and said, "The Treasury should demand that money back and those executives should be fired."[6] As CEO of AIG, Liddy receives a salary of $1 and equity grants[7][8], though he may be "eligible for a special bonus for extraordinary performance payable in 2010" that would not use taxpayer dollars.[9] In light of the AIG bonus payments controversy, Liddy has urged employees to return $165m issued in bonuses to them,[10] suggesting doing the "right thing"[11] and returning at least part of the bonus is preferable to legal action, noting “honoring contractual commitments is at the heart of what we do in the insurance business.”[12]

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madmike 5 years ago

"capitalist corporate institutions". Spoken like a true communist!

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

"Don't forget the trial lawyers, union bosses, and evironmentalists in your list of special interests, bozo."

One big difference, STRS-- these people happen to represent the "special interests" of people who can be counted in the millions, if not billions. That's not to say the they aren't occasionally affected by corrupt individuals primarily promoting their own self interest, but that's not the primary reason for their existence, unlike capitalist corporate institutions whose sole purpose is to provide profits to stockholders.

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llama726 5 years ago

For all the anger and fussing over the government's helping these companies, why isn't there ANY manufactured outrage at the fact that businesses in this nation seem to think it's perfectly acceptable to exploit, cheat, and otherwise dishonestly acquire as much illegitimate profit as possible?

The market should allow some of these to fail. I can't disagree with conservatives here. The impact on our society may be pretty great, though. This isn't some mom-and-pop store, they have their hands in a lot of places.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

"So bozo the democrats had no part in the current mess or is that just your wishful thinking."

I didn't say that at all. Read my post again.

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jumpin_catfish 5 years ago

So bozo the democrats had no part in the current mess or is that just your wishful thinking. Both parties have been in bed with big money interest for a long time. It has not been a government of the people for a long time, maybe a 150 years. We are not governed but ruled, we just don't know it or like to admit it.

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Chris Ogle 5 years ago

The taxpayers are bailing out those that have already been bailed out. This lunacy has to stop.

right on!!!

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elfth 5 years ago

When the dust settles, there not should be a private company allowed to become "to big to fail". Fear of failure should be part of any companies plan.

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elfth 5 years ago

When the dust settles, there should be a private company allowed to become "to big to fail". Fear of failure should be part of any companies plan.

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SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years ago

Don't forget the trial lawyers, union bosses, and evironmentalists in your list of special interests, bozo.

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parrotuya 5 years ago

Ame-reee-ca good. China no good!

Capitalism good. Communism no good!

Profits good. Losses no good!

Tax cut good! Tax increase no good!

Heads I win! Tails you lose!

Ame-ree-ca numba 1!

I love Ame-reee-ca!

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

I mostly agree with Joe, but the scary part is that in this two-party system, the party currently out of power is the party that was the senior partner in creating this mess.

In the current electoral system, outside of a few districts, few candidates will emerge in either party who have any serious chance of getting elected because of the money game that's still largely controlled by special interests on Wall Street and in banking and insurance.

And don't believe for a moment that McCain would have been doing anything much different-- except perhaps to be even worse.

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