Alright, we need to talk about this bailout stuff.
In speaking to someone whose political views I greatly respect (ok, ok- it was my daddy), I learned that perhaps President Obama knew exactly what he was doing when he recently announced that the regulations he plans to put in place on what’s left of the $700 billion bailout funds would not apply to executive salaries.
When I originally heard that Obama had no plans to restrict the irresponsible spending of the executive recipients of the bailout money, I blew a gasket, as evidenced here.
Now I’m beginning to wonder… things are not always as they seem, right?
Perhaps Obama knew exactly what he was doing… maybe it’s all part of a plan, something entirely different than what I originally assumed.
The more I think about this situation (and keep in mind that I am no financial analyst), the more I wonder if it would even be possible to truly restrict- through legislation- the reckless spending on Wall Street.
On its surface, it seems that yes, this would be more than possible… simple, even… to accomplish…
… But then I look back on all those finance and accounting classes from college and begin to wonder if doing so would actually be downright impossible.
Yes, one can legislate things like salary increases and salary caps- say, for example, that no employee of any recipient of government bailouts can make more than (fill in the blank) dollars per year.
Unfortunately, however, that would only restrict a tiny portion of what actually goes into these folks’ pockets. How do you legislate such things as stock options, warrants (similar to stock options, warrants give a person the option- but does not obligate them- to buy an underlying security at a certain price and quantity at a future time), and countless other perks?
A good accountant- any CPA worth their salt- could easily find loopholes around the legislation… therefore allowing these bigwigs to continue taking home millions upon millions of dollars- while never once breaking the law.
I am reminded of the Big 3 auto makers, and their offer to congress last year to accept a salary of $1 per year in exchange for bailout funds for their companies. What they didn’t tell us was that they would still make 90% of the money they always made because stock options and bonuses are not part of one’s flat salary… but they do often comprise the bulk of an executive’s take-home pay.
Next, I began thinking about Missouri Representative Claire McCaskill, and her recent- very public- comments, directed at the irresponsible jackasses on Wall Street.
Were those comments merely the spur-of-the-moment rantings of a politician losing her temper?
Or were they very orchestrated comments, planned meticulously by the Obama administration, as a means to fully utilize the bully pulpit?
A bully pulpit, for those unaware, was originally perfected by Theodore Roosevelt, and simply means that high-ranking officials can use the platform of the White House as a means to advance one’s agenda. Simply put, politicians make use of a bully pulpit to put a bug in the public’s ear… it’s a great way to put an idea in the general public’s mind without having to go through a bunch of b.s. redtape in the process.
The way I see it, Obama knows he cannot successfully reign in the spending of Wall Street bigwigs by simply using a political platform. He can’t sign an executive order, or pass a bill in Congress to accomplish this goal because there are too many loopholes that people would be able use to continue their fatcat ways.
So he is instead turning the entire issue over to the court of public opinion- the little people like you and me- knowing full well that as the reality of the financial sector’s shenanigans begin to really sink in, we are going to get PISSED.
I know I got mad as hell… as did millions of others…
It was all part of the plan.
We, as consumers, as regular ol’ citizens of this country, possess way more power in this situation than Congress ever had.
Not only can we take such action as boycotting Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, CitiGroup and all the others… but we can make it known to these CEOs that we are watching them, and we are not happy about what we’re seeing.
With that in mind, these bigwig jerks, knowing we are paying extremely close attention to their every move, will have no choice but to watch their step and curb their behavior… if they want to stay in business, that is.
Obama, I have learned, does nothing by accident.
I believe he knows damn good and well what he’s doing here, and quite frankly, the more I think about it, the more I realize…
This man is a genius.