It’s time to speak up, folks.
And I’m not just talking about me, and other bloggers ranting about this; I’m talking about every single citizen writing their Congressperson, using an actual card or a letter and inundating their staffs with them. E-mail and phone calls are just not going to cut it for this one; they need to be overwhelmed.
I understand why banks need to be bailed out; I really do. The government didn’t do its Constitutionally-mandated job for eight years, and they were allowed to run amok and get as big as they wanted, as if there was no sheriff in town, because there was no sheriff in town. It was a crazy situation. Banks were engaging in risky behavior, and justifying it because crooks were allowed to work as mortgage brokers, and they felt as if they had to compete with the rest of the market. This is crap, but given the mentality of the time, it’s understandable. Again; there was no sheriff to keep order, and since banks have to answer to shareholders and others, they felt the need to compete in the marketplace, even when that marketplace is made of twigs and even when that marketplace is doomed to failure.
But because of this behavior, when the mortgage securities market collapsed (and it’s very important to note; the mortgage market didn’t collapse, just the mortgage securities market), suddenly, the money held by banks was backed by worthless pieces of paper, and the entire system was on the verge of collapse.
So, in steps the big daddy, the federal government. As always happens when kids misbehave, Dad comes in and gives them some money to bail them out of the jam. But these banks weren’t nice, clean-cut kids; these were a bunch of spoiled rotten kids, who felt as if they were entitled to the money they were getting. But even worse, these were irresponsible kids, who didn’t even spend the money in a way to get themselves out of the jam. Instead, they’re spending a whole bunch of the money on new cars and fur coats.
Now, we have bank executives running around in private jets, and telling us they need multi-million-dollar bonuses in order to survive this economy – an economy they had a hand in creating, by the way – and we’re expected to feel sorry for them, and give them money whenever they decide they need it.
First of all, these assholes should be reminded that it’s not THEIR money they’re giving themselves bonuses with. I know the right wing likes to scream that government shouldn’t be involved in private enterprise, and all of that malarkey, but banks are unlike any other private company in the country, because of their business. Money is created and controlled by the government, and the government is also charged with the responsibility of regulating that money, to make sure it holds its value.
Secondly, this money they’re giving themselves isn’t THEIR money; it really isn’t. The money belongs to their depositors. If you have money in any bank, that money is moved between banks and other financial institutions constantly, and even without taxpayer subsidies, they played this game with your money, and lost your money. Now, they’re doing it again.
They’re not entitled to bonuses, until they pay back the loans they took from us. They should not be allowed to use private jets, or anything else, until they dig themselves out of their hole. And your Congressperson should be contacted immediately, by telegram or snail mail (not by phone or e-mail, because that has little effect on anything) and we should demand that the government take whatever action is available. And if no action is available, then legislation should be passed to make an action available.
By giving themselves bonuses and other perqs, these people are not only acting unethically with their customers’ money; they’re acting unethically with everyone’s money. It’s funny; when Republicans changed the bankruptcy laws a few years back, they enlisted these same bank executives’ help to create draconian bankruptcy laws that enforced an extreme level of responsibility and accountability on individuals who couldn’t pay their bills. Yet, now they’re in a similar situation, and their response is “Screw you, I’m an executive; I’m entitled.” These are the same people who insisted that the law go after people who tried to skate on a few thousand dollars in credit card debt by declaring bankruptcy, under the guise that such a person was cheating the other depositors and credit card customers out of some money. Yet, they don’t think awarding themselves huge bonuses after taking their company to the brink of annihilation warrants the same sort of scrutiny.
It’s time to take these people to task. There is no way an executive of any company should be able to take a bonus as long as his company owes money to taxpayers. If bankrupt individuals can be forced to pay back creditors, based on the laws these very same people forced on us, they should be forced to pay back their creditors – namely, the taxpayers – before they get to take any bonuses.
Whatever happened to fairness and morality? And if it can be forced on a bankrupt individual, why can’t it be forced on a bankrupt bank?
These people should be in jail. But in the meantime, I’m not comfortable financing their legal defense fund, are you?