March 20, 2009

MEANWHILE, AS DEMOCRATS KEEP REMINDING US...:

Commanding The Heights Of Hypocrisy (Michael Gerson, March 20, 2009, Washington Post)

AIG's November SEC filing set out its intention to provide more than $469 million in "retention payments" to employees, eliciting a smattering of congressional protest. Concerns on the broader compensation issue were serious enough to ensure unanimous Senate passage of an amendment to the stimulus bill sponsored by Sens. Olympia Snowe and Ron Wyden that penalized bailout bonuses in excess of $100,000.

But the Snowe-Wyden amendment disappeared into the misty bog of a House-Senate conference committee, only to be trumped by language that grandfathered in AIG's retention bonuses. At first, this seemed to be an example of immaculate legislation -- miraculously fatherless. After explicitly denying responsibility, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd eventually admitted to including the exception under pressure from the administration. But it doesn't sound like there was much of a fight. Administration input came from unnamed staffers at the Treasury Department, not high-level officials. Dodd said he viewed these as "innocent modifications." [...]

"This is an example," thunders Rep. Barney Frank, "of people at the commanding heights of the economy misbehaving, abusing the system" -- which is completely true . . . of the conference committee that reshaped the stimulus bill in secret.


...the GOP said "no" to all this.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 20, 2009 6:22 AM
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