Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Step Up, Broker Scum

Friedman hits it on the head in his column this morning.

Everyone's pissed off about the AIG brokers getting bonuses, as he says, "after their company — 80 percent of which is owned by U.S. taxpayers — racked up the biggest quarterly loss in the history of the Milky Way Galaxy." No kidding. But, as he also rightly points out, horrible as it is to swallow, our government can't just break the law to prevent them from getting their bonuses.

What it boils down to is that these brokers need to show the decency that so many Americans are showing right now. They need to step up and sacrifice. They need to give the bonuses back. A powerful point:

I live in Montgomery Country, Md. The schoolteachers here, who make on average $67,000 a year, recently voted to voluntarily give up their 5 percent pay raise that was contractually agreed to for next year, saving our school system $89 million — so programs and teachers would not have to be terminated. If public schoolteachers can take one for schoolchildren and fellow teachers, A.I.G. brokers can take one for the country.

Now, I agree with you: Hoping for common decency from these people, who as we have seen by their actions are certainly driven by nothing but money and greed, is a long shot to say the least. But if they did, it'd send a signal, and it'd help Obama deal with the backlash from this.

We as a people have lots of anger management issues right now. It's a tough time to be calm. But we need to find solutions, not just scream and cry. This, unlikely as it seems, is a small piece of a good solution.

Read the column, it's good stuff.

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