Added by on 2009-03-19

There’s an old adage from the days of railroad, “asleep at the switch.” In that era, trains often rode common tracks in both directions within common time frames. The only salvation was the vigilance of the trackman who made switches from track to track to avoid collisions. As the bailout, which to begin with doesn’t build a case for governmental and corporate excellence, unfolds, and massive amounts of money are sent towards the east, who is watching for the human slime coming from the west to make storied exit with that money?

It would seem no one is watching. Over the last few weeks, AIG has been in the headlines for:

1) Being in more financial trouble than a long tailed cat at a rocking chair convention,

2) SIngle handedly taking Maurice Greenberg off the Forbe’s list,

3) Making shadowy payments to a bunch of financial, insurance and other corporate entities to meet “counter party” obligations without so much as a hint at who received the booty,

4) Being the single lynch pin in the machine of deceit, fraud and doom that has been manufacturing croupier sticks and using them to ferry money from many to few, and

5) Giving out $165 million dollars of “contractually” obligated bonuses to persons who were essential to AIG’s survival (although a good number of those people left with a box and a bonus check within minutes of receiving it.)

So Obama yelled fire after the embers smoldered to a glow, and yelled thief and closed the barn door after the horse had been stolen. I want to be angry at him but I can’t. He’s too smart, too good looking and speaks too well to hold enmity towards him. His staff is fast becoming a platoon of fools that even Shakespeare couldn’t suffer kindly. I’m looking for a girl from Staten Island, Long Island or Brooklyn who used to work in compliance at a brokerage firm. Those girls wouldn’t take crap from anyone and would only give out money where it was logical to do so.  Grab a couple of U.S. Citizens with nothing to gain and let them sit on the panel of experts, it can’t hurt.

One truth that must be stopped is “these people will go elsewhere if we don’t pay them huge bonuses.” The entire financial market is in a cesspool and the people that have been running things, credentialed as they are, are not imperative to operations. Pay them fair wage, as any troubled company does.

If they want to buy stock at these low levels, lend them money on a recourse basis to buy some amount that fits with their compensation levels. There is no “other AIG” to work for, and most of the big financial companies are owned by the government, so tell them to work for the salary they earn or wish them well. Of the 8-9% of persons that are unemployed, many are well educated persons with a background in finance, and some would work for less. It’s not so bad if the people that put the financial industry here are excessed because we can’t afford ten million dollar paydays. Take a risk, it can’t get much worse than it already is.

The bottom line is we live in the midst of a serious crisis and if we don’t watch closely, this will turn into our “little bighorn.” Battles are won and lost before they’re fought and this one is not moving along as planned. Head back to the drawing board, President Obama, and try something different. Look closely, set limits on all salaried and bonus payment to all persons taking TARP money. If the top people leave, hire others and see what happens, and don’t forget to hire somebody for the switch, the last guy fell asleep at it.

Be mindful, be careful and good luck!

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