Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Bonuses to be paid of US$18B and the Pork Barrel in the Stimulus

The above are two current topics from yesterday’s happenings in Washington and New York, both having the theme ‘business as usual’.

It is unconscionable and Obama reiterated this, that banks, which continue to accept Federal bailout money, pay huge bonuses to staff based on their performance last year. Why should effectively, tax-payers who lose their jobs, subsidize well-paid executives just because it was drawn into their contract of employment. If the bank had gone bust these executives would not have received this bonus and so it is fair that if the govt. saved the bank from foreclosure, the bonuses should be pared to a reasonable figure of not more than $500,000 at the top and pro rata down to the others. Needless to say that if there was no bailout money for a bank they should be free to pay out what it wants to whom it wants as long as its shareholders are in majority agreement to the payment.

On the other matter, where the House of Representatives split completely on party lines, the Democrats should know better than to insert ludicrous spending into this bill which will only inflame right thinking voters, into believing that Congress live in a different world to them. It must be remembered that the pork barrel will help certain communities with money on projects that are nevertheless questionable, however it is the principal of the practice that is at stake. The President promised that there will be change and it will not be business as usual. So in order for him to have credibility he must pare this down significantly in the Senate version and when it therefore returns to the House at least 50 Republican Congressmen could be persuaded to support the final version, by so doing.

These are all examples of good governance that should be applied from the commencement of the new administration. We will soon be confronted with a few other similar ideas, and the other contentious issue is the buy American plan to help the US economy. It should however not be mandatory, as it would inflame the exporters to the US and thereby prevent them from buying US goods, an altogether silly idea. Of course subtle encouragement is OK in any country and why shouldn’t the US also engage in helping their domestic industry. We must be sensible and think when we make rash and hurtful comments, as they come back to haunt us. This issue is also one in the same light and a similar judgment call should be made.

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