Everyone is upset about the large bonuses paid out to executives at AIG. The government gave almost two-hundred billion dollars of tax-payer backed bailout money to AIG to keep them from going out of business completely. To most folks are appalled at the idea that their execs are getting bonuses. I quite agree.
The only reason I sort of agree with the idea of bailouts in the first place is that we've gotten our system so tangled that, at this point, if we don't work to save the structure we will all go down with it. The other part of this is that we create corporate entities that are basically the embodiment of a business concept in the hypothetical body of a giant, developmentally disabled baby. We can be really ticked off at the executives (the caretakers) but the baby can't help itself.
Investors, and those who are in even distant business relationships several times removed, are the baby's parents. They want the baby to grow and thrive despite its handicaps. They trust those caretakers to do what is right for the baby. This is one of the reasons we set up governmental oversight for the corporate entities. It's no different than the social workers who look in after the caretakers of real babies.
The thing that AIG's caretakers don't realize is that the American populace is now a major investor. This is different from American people as investors; this is the populace as an entity on its own. (Yes, I'm aware that AIG is an international corporation with wide ranging interests and responsibilities.) The huge difference between the populace as investor and people as investors is that the populace can decide that the caretakers are Enemies of the Republic and then put them against a wall.
That's right; the executives at AIG haven't figured out that they are in actual mortal danger. The American government may, at any time now, decide to arrest them and charge them with any number of crimes. Naturally we do this only to placate an angry citizenry, but that means the law is a little more stretchable now. It doesn't keep armed
goons officers from dragging the exec out of his house and into a cell. As soon as the first lawyer or two accompanies his client to the lockup, the legal arguments will die down too. When the angry mobs start forming the executives will be much safer in jail.
Mine isn't the only radical stance on this. The Honorable Charles Grassley, our beloved Senator from Iowa, has suggested that the AIG top dogs should either quit or kill themselves from shame. Interestingly enough, he could not have said that within the state of Iowa because it illegal to encourage someone to commit suicide. Still, now that the idea is out there?
So, what should we do about all of this?
The quick and easy answer is to say that severe, worldwide, economic disaster is a crime against humanity. All the top execs need to be shipped of to the Hague to await trial. The high up leaders of these institutions should be hanged. The low level accomplices, such as brokers for sub-prime mortgages, should get a few years in a LibertyBob brand hard labor camp. The average citizen who got one of those mortgages or who greedily played along with get rich quick deals must live the rest of his or her life with the shame of involvement.
If you are not one of the ones to be hanged or sent to prison, there is hope. Your soul can feel better if you are truly contrite. The best way to show that you are sincere in your contritity is to express your apology in the comments on LibertyBob.com and to buy merchandise at the LibertyBob Store. Absolution feels good, so get yours today!