Thursday, March 19, 2009

Losing the War

We tax all the others and pass the revenue on to you

This is what it feels like to lose a war. You can't keep up with your losses. You're surprised by every turn of events. The cornerstones of your belief system crumble. Allies turn on you. Your leaders flee or resign or seek the company of your enemies. You become so used to losing that you can't imagine anything else.

The people left at the top scream at you "We can still pull this one out!" but they don't even have any skin in the game. They have more money and stuff than when they started the war. They're getting promotions and bonuses and we're thanking them for their failures.

Maybe you're too young to remember Nguyen Van Thieu or Nguyen Cao Ky, South Vietnamese generals and politicians who abandoned their soldiers to the North Vietnamese while they fled and then gave speeches blaming us. I remember them.

Our Thieu and Ky are named Frank, Dodd, Reid, Pelosi and Geithner. They haven't got a clue what to do, like Henry Kissinger, Geithner's mentor, in my generation. They're betting our future and hoping that something -- please God, anything -- works. The prez is their LBJ , letting his scapegoats-to-be dangle in the wind while he tries to distract us with another Great Society slight-of-hand. I've seen this movie before. I think the prez goes to China or Russia pretty soon.

* * * * *

Two of the bailout companies owe more than $100 mil in back taxes... each. No one checked, apparently. Like the bonuses. 11 others owe $20 mil. Someone who is acting comptroller general -- and thus knows absolutely nothing about tax collection -- assures us it's all right because "IRS has the tools available to collect that money." Now we're trusting the IRS to save us from ourselves? Can this get any crazier?

How did that happen? Treasury believed them (hello, TimmyG) when they said they didn't owe any taxes. They even put it in writing so it must be true. No one thought to ask IRS "Do any of these Bozos owe back taxes?"

The bonuses have been direct-deposited. The horses have left the barn. The House has just abused the tax code again, this time trying to pull their reputations out of the crapper. They passed a new tax that re-captures 90% of some of the bonuses. If you received an applicable bonus and you file your tax return and you can't offset the bonus with losses and deductions, then maybe we'll get some of that money back. Maybe ((and that's gonna fail several smell - and legal - tests), but bet the other way and keep our congressional and administration tax cheats in mind. TimmyG's $40k was a joke in comparison.

Gotta wonder why we're so fixated on AIG's latest round of bonuses. After all, it's only $170 mil. Merrill Lynch paid $6 bil in bonuses out of bailout money.

A bunch of AIG's closest "trading partners" were made whole, 100 cents on the dollar, even though their investments were worth much less. No one made an attempt to negotiate the balances or guarantee payments instead of paying them in cash at par. It's good to have powerful friends in DC. Seems pretty clear that all kinds of senators and reps and TimmyG knew about the bonuses long ago. The ruckus is just a DC sham to take our minds off of their failures.. and our lost money.

Keep this in mind: Barney knew, Nancy knew, Chris knew, Harry knew, TimmyG knew, AIG knew, Merrill Lynch knew, the trading partners knew. Knew what? That if they just kept quiet until after the election there would be billions, maybe trillions, to split up among themselves as rewards for years of incredible profits for gaming the system and wrecking our economy... and no one would be punished, no one would have to pay... except us.

You can lead a man to congress but you can't make him think. Milton Berle

1 comment:

  1. Ok - I've read this and now I'm asking the same question I usually ask, "What do we do?"

    Write our congressmen?

    Move to a small island in the Pacific?

    Grin and bear it?

    Frown and bear it?

    Get what's mine?

    Engage in some form of civil (or maybe non-civil) disobedience?

    Live like it doesn't matter?

    I'd like to hear YOUR thoughts about where to go from here.