Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Subtle Suggestion For Senator Charles Grassley

Senator Charles Grassley (Republican - Iowa) is not happy with the AIG executives who got $165,000,000.00 in bailout money bonuses. Here's Chuck:

"I would suggest the first thing that would make me feel a little bit better toward them if they'd follow the Japanese example and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say, I'm sorry, and then either do one of two things: resign or go commit suicide."

Those money-grubbing Wall Street guys need to commit suicide ! ! ! Charles is ready to grab his torch and pitchfork and exploit some populist outrage. Here are Senator Grassley's comments from a few days later:

Grassley continued to express his displeasure with the company that is distributing $165 million in bonuses over lawmakers' objections. He said executives should not be rewarded for running their corporation into the ground.....
"From my standpoint, it's irresponsible for corporations to give bonuses at this time when they're sucking the tit of the taxpayer...."

The "tit of the taxpayer" ! ! ! You tell 'em, Charles.
There's one problem.
Senator Charles Grassley is a whore for the ethanol industry. He will do things for Iowa corn and ethanol producers that Shanghai harbor prostitutes would politely decline.

If AIG execs are gently "sucking the tit of the taxpayer", then Charles Grassley's state of Iowa is a massive veal calf feedlot, chewing on Lady Liberty's nipples with enough pressure to suck-start an airliner. Hear that incessant slurping sound coming from the midwest? That's Iowa, inhaling the subsidy money.

From 1995 to 2006, Iowa received $16,000,000,000.00 in farm subsidies. (Those are billions, not to be confused with the measley AIG bonus millions.) They can thank Grassley for most of it.
Friends of AIG, like Senator Chris Dodd, wrote loopholes into the stimulus package. These loopholes allowed AIG execs to walk away with millions in taxpayer money.
Friends of ethanol, like Senator Charles Grassley, have been responsible for Iowa farmers and ethanol producers walking away with billions (with a "b") in taxpayer money.

In one instance, a relatively small amount of your money was given to a small group of Dodd/Obama supporters at AIG.
In another, a huge amount of your money was given to a larger group of Charles Grassley supporters.

There is absolutely no difference. Money was taken from taxpayers and given to campaign donors. Both examples are obscene.

So here's a suggestion for Senator Charles Grassley. Be sure that your personal finances are in order, and that your Last Will And Testament is legally binding. Get your rifle out of the gun cabinet, and take it to the middle of a remote Iowa cornfield. You'll figure out what to do.

Here are the Manic Street Preachers performing the theme from M.A.S.H. - "Suicide Is Painless"

Picture of overpriced biofuel came from Moonbattery.


Lisa said...

The farmers didn't create a shadow banking system, sell insurance on the risks involved with the system with just a fraction of the capital to back up any losses, rake in huge bonuses for selling fraud, and then ask the taxpayers to bail them out so they can continue to bonus.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

You are correct on all of your points.
But the farmers did create a massive artificial market for an ecologically harmful product that increased hunger all over the world, a product that would have never sold based on its own merits. Therefore, just like the AIG bonuses, the subsidy had to be paid for

Lisa said...

But the farmers did create a massive artificial market for an ecologically harmful product that increased hunger all over the world, a product that would have never sold based on its own merits.

Sounds a lot like capitalism. Big cities had trollies and then came the auto industry and before you know it the trollies are out of business and everyone has a car. They keep selling it as progress.

I do not mind paying taxes, I like having roads, schools, police, firefighters, people to hauld away my trash. I like government. Just like anything it needs oversight. For God's sake if we can't trust Catholic Priests
how can we trust government? We have state of the art technology today and budgets and check books
should be available on line for anybody and everybody to check out. Not all earmarks are bad and government spending does spread out into the communities. I would rather be mad at the people who sent jobs overseas and used the money saved to make themselves and their friends wealthier. They also created the shadow banking system and somehow convinced a whole nation that what made us successful was our consumerism.

TarrantLibertyGuy said...

Flee, Flee oh magical, mystical, Flee...

First, tsk to Whited for not calling these points out. I'll go poit by point..."Shadow Banking System - - Although not a 'shadow banking system', the corn farmers have found a way to receive BILLIONS in handouts (much of it to private Agribusiness megacorps that are amongst the HIGHEST campaign contributors this side of Wall St.)

So, shadow banking... does this practice count? I make a deposit in the form of massive campaign contributions and you give me billions through the ADM ATM called ethanol (tobacco, wheat, etc.) subsidies. Sounds both shadowy and banky to me.

The farmers don't 'sell insurance on the risks with the system' with just a fraction of the capital to back up any losses... Flee, I'd like to introduce you to the Commodity Futures Market. The Chicago Mercantile, while offering other futures trading vehicles than just agribiz (heck, they trade weather futures there! Which strangely is kinda 'farmy')... The Merc trades somewhere in the $100 Trillion range. There's also the KCBOT, CBOT, NYME lots of markets whereby farmers can 'buy insurance' or 'hedge their bets'. So, nope not so much there - pretty agri-banky there too. And not leveraged? These futures contract offer 2/98 leverage.

Next ... "rake in huge bonuses for selling fraud." Now, it's been a while, but in '96, ADM got it's piggy knuckles caught in the cookie jar and AGREED to pay $100 million in fines for fixing corn prices. In '05, they agreed to pay $400 million for a similar class action suit. ADM sells corn as an ecologically worthwhile substitue for gasoline. Ethanol is NOT. Sounding a little like some fibbing. That a half billion in voluntary payments to 'settle up'...But they make almost $70 Billion a year, so it's all good. Right?

Analysis from our good friends at the Cato Institute had this to say about ADM: "ADM has cost the American economy billions of dollars since 1980 and has indirectly cost Americans tens of billions of dollars in higher prices and higher taxes over that same period. At least 43 percent of ADM's annual profits are from products heavily subsidized or protected by the American government. Moreover, every $1 of profits earned by ADM's corn sweetener operation costs consumers $10, and every $1 of profits earned by its ethanol operation costs taxpayers $30."

In fact AMD's Sugar lobbying has cost US consumers $3 BILLION a year! With all that said, their top executives all made under $100 Million total, so not bad vs. Wall St. standards... However, $35 Million for the CEO over the last 2 years. A little maddening considering his company has taken billions of our dollars too!

So recapping, Wall Street gets billions in bailouts and gives millions to execs is bad. But it's OK for agribusiness?

Sadly, progressives, thinking of Cesar Chavez and hammers and cicles and little pink houses on family farms that John Cougar Mellancamp and Willie are trying to save every year... until they stopped. Turns out there's just not that many family farms anymore. The subsidy programs designed with Joe Dirtfarmer in mind, is now going into the Swiss account Cornelius Daniels III (kid - but you get the idea).

To you next set of Libertarian snarksterisms, including the one that is so hilarious I can't quit laughing or hearing it enough. I LIKE ROADS TOO!!!! Oh - there, I stopped laughing. But your final paragraph has soo much that can be logically debated and addressed... I just might be tempted to write a long rebuttal.

One note: I take on AMD, since they're public and give out info. Guess I coulda taken on big tobacoo too... But there are many GIGANTO foreign and private companies that also get billions, but it's tough to get any info outta dem guys!

Lastly, I promise!! Taking on your snarkesque statement "Sounds a lot like capitalism". What you mentioned is the exact opposite of a libertarian view of capitalism and reflects the type of thing we have (generally) here in the US called 'Corporatism'. Pretty popular amongst fascists... but not us libertarians. If a product cannot be sold on it's own merits, in a libertarian society, it would not be built. It wouldn't be economically viable. End of story.

A very long story.

Is it morning yet?

Dr Ralph said...

WS -- I'm sure it wasn't intended this way, but the current discussion strikes me as a bizarre variation on the rationale "everybody else does it."

Are you are discounting any criticism Grassley may have about AIG because he represents the interests of those who voted him into office?

Let me be clear - I have no great love of the whole bio-fuel fad as an alternative to fossil fuels. And I think Grassley is guilty of showboating of the worst kind.

Still, to turn AIG's shamelessness and Grassley's douche-baggery into a rant about (at its heart) farm subsidiaries strikes me as a trifle odd.

And for the record, I don't have much use for farm subsidiaries either since the onslaught of agri-business giants the likes of ADM.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

You are absolutely correct.
Grassley suggested that the AIG execs kill themselves, and later said that they were on the government tit. Why? Because they were doing exactly what HE does. Only the AIG bonuses were on a much, much smaller scale.

Unfortunately for the AIG execs, they were burdened with the word "bonus" instead of good wholesome phrases like "support for America's farms" or "ensuring the security of our nation's food supply".

The AIG bonuses were 9/100ths of 1% of the total trough of swill dumped back into AIG. Assuming that AIG deserved to survive (and I don't make that assumption), they're now going to have one helluva time finding any execs willing to go up against the Grassley/Bawney Fwank feigned outrage.

God, I can't wait to see what these goobers do to healthcare.

Lisa said...


I can agree with you on the Corporatism, corporations run this country. That is why true reform will be hard if not impossible, the wealthy corporate elite have too many fat and happy not realizing what freedoms they are giving up.

Kevin Hayden from American Street offered my favorite quote this week: "Hang the bastards and let’s get our country back from the pirates of privilege!"

I think when they ask for the next $750 Billion in stimulus we should meet on the National Mall in Washington with our pitch forks and torches.

Oh, I loved that "magical, mystical Flee!"

Dr Ralph said...

WS - I think you and I are about 99% on the same page here.

I do however feel it my duty to point out that when you use phrases like "bonuses were 9/100ths of 1% of the total trough" you sound a lot like me defending the NEA's budget several months ago.

Saying they'll have a hell of a time finding executives willing to go up against the Grassley/Franks of this world, and the general notion that we have to pay these "experienced hands" to unwind messes like AIG strikes me as borderline John Galt-ism: the notion there is a class of business/industry Ubermensch, without whose help all is lost.

I say fuck'em.

There are plenty of smart, hungry people out out in the world I dare say would be willing to take on the challenge. They certainly couldn't screw things up much more than the clowns they've got in there now.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

I guess what i'm getting at is this:

If you and I and Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank and Barry O are going to run an insurance company, we're going to have to pay them. A lot.

I don't have time to run an insurance company. I don't believe you do either, and I hope that it continues to be that way.

Even if Nancy, Barney, and Barry have time to run an insurance company, I hope that they decline. They've found someone willing to do it for a dollar per year.

So if we've got an insurance company, I hope they let their man run it as he sees fit. (It's a huge mistake for us to own one, but hey, it's a done deal.) Insurance runs off bonuses, and opposed to the wage slave system that I live on.

My point is that we've made a multi-billion dollar mistake with AIG. Why are people getting worked up over the millions instead of the billions?

(Also, if I remember correctly, you were in favor of the NEA in general, and the funding in particular. I'm against the AIG bailout in general, but if it's a done deal, the particulars of the money being wasted after that point don't upset me very much.)

Lisa said...

With the record unemployment there must be some pretty smart people who would be able to do their job.
The bubble burst and while 12 months ago it worked to say we have to keep the best and brightest by paying them crazy salaries we have seen where having the best and brightest has gotten us. I think that is why people are getting worked up. And who said we weren't worked up about the bailouts? Rewarding the idiots who have already lined their pockets making this mess is more salt in the wound.

Dr Ralph said...

Flee -- I couldn't have put it better myself.