From John Kass in the Chicago Tribune:
Obama told Jay Leno he was surprised that those greedy AIG executives who helped lead the country into financial ruin were in line to receive $165 million in bonuses paid for by bailout cash authorized by his administration."Stunned, stunned is the word," said Obama.Stunned?
It turns out that his Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner—who didn't pay all of his federal taxes but was still deemed worthy by Obama of collecting yours—knew all about the AIG bonuses weeks ago.
That was long before Washington Democrats began shrieking in pretend outrage over the bonuses, as if they didn't vote for them, sort of like Chicago aldermen shrieking about corruption from the 5th Floor.
It's like Mayor Richard Daley saying, "Gee, I dunno" when news breaks that his nephews are in another multimillion-dollar government deal. Or that time that Daley gave $100 million in affirmative action contracts to men he knows well, yet was stunned to learn later that they were white guys, not black females.
These days, the Washington Way is looking just like the Chicago Way. Those of us from Illinois can see it, what with City Hall guys pulling White House strings. . . .
All this false congressional outrage and shrieking and fingerpointing should be understood for what it really is: Political buttocks-covering by Democrats who are worried about the 2010 elections, and afraid of losing their greatest symbolic weapon: The Evil Rich Guy.
That's another cartoon, like Mr. Burns on "The Simpsons," who steps on the backs of the humble working man. Now, though, the Democrats aren't fighting Mr. Burns, they're giving him a boost so he can step on our necks with a pair of snazzy AIG loafers. What they're trying to drown out with all their screaming is that the Democrats knew all about the $165 million to the AIG suits. And the Obama White House knew all about it too.
In fact, it was a rather brave New York Democrat, Rep. Joseph Crowley, who asked Geithner about the AIG bonuses in a hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee. Not yesterday, or a couple days ago, but on March 3.
"Just last month," Crowley told Geithner, "AIG paid 343 employees of AIG FP—their Financial Products division that created the financial hole that AIG is in, and in turn a multibillion-dollar bill for American taxpayers—$56 million in bonuses and are slated to pay an additional $162 million in bonuses to 393 participants in the coming weeks," Crowley said.
"And there's more," Crowley said. "Further bonus payments totaling approximately $230 million are due to 407 participants at AIG's Financial Products division in March 2010. This makes no sense to my constituency.
"Sadly, it makes perfect sense back here . . . They cut the deal in some back room, and Geithner is being measured as the fall guy. It sounds just like Chicago's City Hall.
I'm stunned, really.