A thought about the corporate bailouts…

I was just thinking, although not for the first time, how could our government hand out massive amounts of cash to failing companies without insuring transparency? And why is it that they’ve been allowed to get away with it?

At an extraordinarily important moment in our country’s development, coupled with a strategy to steer the country away from a great depression that was extremely important that it succeed, we just cut massive checks to a few companies with no control over how they spent the money. Instead of using the funds to help keep American’s mortgages in good standing, which was my understanding of what it was intended, significant chunks of it was given as bonuses to executives. It’s completely incomprehensible to me that any company that was in such a state of failure would have any desire or duty to dole out any sort of incentive pay. In my mind it’s abundantly obvious that they hadn’t done the bang-up job that the term ‘bonus’ suggests. There were other cases where ‘Golden Parachutes’ were issued, which upsets me just a tiny bit less only because they’re actually getting rid of someone who was involved in creating the mess, at least I assume they did.

What sort of reasoning does a corporation have in giving this money that they’ve been entrusted to use in a way that best avoids a world-wide crisis to an executive in addition to their sizable salary? Were they somehow obligated to issue these? Could it have somehow been worse for them financially or legally if they hadn’t?

Let’s also try and step into the shoes of one of these executives. There is massive panic among the public that your industry is responsible for, and to some extent, you’re responsible for. You’re probably getting pretty nervous about whether your job is going to be around in a week, a month. All the sudden you’re handed a million dollar incentive check. I wonder if there’s any guilt in taking funds that the whole of America agrees wasn’t intended for you, and being that it’s our money, I’d say our opinions matter quite a lot.

I’ve read that in some cases the government now owns percentages of some of these companies, being a significant shareholder, will they put an agent on the board of directors to insure that public or the government interests are represented? Also, in owning significant portions of the corporation in stock, will the government continue to earn revenue from that stock and how will it be spent?

As long as there isn’t sufficient transparency in government along with the media not reporting things that don’t give massive ratings, I fear that the situation will continue to get worse and worse. I want to hear about the important things, not the sexy stories which so many seem to be so interested in. It’s sad when I feel that I get better news off of Comedy Central than I do from any of the major news networks, especially Fox. Yet as long as news is produced in favor of ratings instead of importance, nothing is going to change. Right?


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