The Corner

Cry, the Beloved Republic

Forget Halliburton, Enron, etc. — AIG is the metaphor of our new century. Let’s get this straight: Our president takes over $100,000 from AIG in campaign donations. Then he signs into legislation a bill crafted by his own party, with input from his own Treasury secretary, giving mega-bonuses to the execs of this bankrupt, federally bailed-out company — and then goes on the stump to trash the culture of Wall Street as typified by . . . AIG, of course.

Not to be outdone, Senator Dodd denies he put the AIG bonus provision in the bill, then — in a now familiar Obama administration habit — coughs up the truth that he in fact did when the evidence no longer allows him to prevaricate as is his wont. He, like our president, then goes the demagogic route, blasting the Wall Street placenta which nourished him through discounted mortgages, Irish cottages, and Fannie Mae cash — and, yes, like our president with over $100,000 in AIG cash.

We haven’t heard from Representative Rangel recently. And why should we, given the failure of the House Ways and Means Committee chairman who oversees tax policy to pay proper taxes on unreported income, Rangel’s serial abuse of rent-subsidized apartments, and his shake-down of corporations for money for his “Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at the City College of New York” — and, of course, his efforts to get millions from AIG and/or its execs for his eponymous “Center”? (Should we laugh or cry that it is to be a center devoted to  ”public service”?) But, as in the case of Dodd and Obama, those with the most AIG money in their pockets are usually the ones calling loudest for others’ scalps. So ethicist Rangel now uses his position to post facto rewrite tax laws to get back the money from AIG that his party approved, his president signed into law, and he himself used to out-elbow others for.

But all this is not the real shamelessness. As it transpires, we witness a Pravda-like media, that used to evoke Enron at every juncture, now either stay mum, or, worse, write these pathetic, scratch-your-head op-eds about how odd it is that the Chicago-organizing, Reverend Wright devotee, three-years in the Senate veteran would be presiding over all this sleaze.

At least by 2016, we can anticipate what the campaign slogans for the anti-Obama opposition will be: “I promise to ensure eight years of $1.5 trillion dollar budget surpluses so that the American people can get the national debt back to a manageable $11 trillion of 2008.”

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