March 17, 2009
President Obama felt compelled to speak out about the bailouts given to the giant AIG insurance firm and the bonuses top management received. It’s a populist thing to do. Obama portrays himself as the defender of the little guy and opponent of the rich and successful. AIG fits into this scenario.
Still, most Americans won’t care if AIG is merely honoring contracts that were signed before the trouble at the company. They see tax dollars going to incompetents who contributed to the economic meltdown and the disappearance of much of their retirement money.
Incompetence and failure have been rewarded for some time as we focus more on victims and less on success.
Congress gets an annual pay raise and Congress helped produce our current predicament. How is this different from the AIG bailout and bonuses for top management? I say let’s start penalizing, not rewarding people for poor performance.
When we subsidize failure and incompetence we get more of it. When we encourage success we get more success. What’s so difficult to understand?
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C.