Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring arrives at last!

As I kissed Gator Wife goodbye this morning when she headed off for her part time job, I told her this was a very sad day for me. She asked why and I explained that she was heading to work in the winter time and I wouldn’t see her again until next spring. I got “that look.”

Of course, if you’re reading this after 7:44 AM Eastern, spring has sprung. The long winter has passed and now we’re in a new season, a season of newness, of growth, of occasional warmth. I used to wonder what the changing of the season would bring. I’ve learned not to think about that because it’s going to be whatever it’s going to be.

We are starting out on an ominous note, however. This beginning is going to be a cold one. Let’s hope it’s not portending a cold future.

The bailout mess just seems to grow and grow and grow. Daily, yea almost hourly, we learn about more corporate abuse of the taxpayers’ money designed to save those businesses from extinction.

I’m not even going to attempt any chronological order to this mess. We all know about the bonuses that AIG paid out that has created a growing anger by both elected officials and the public. Wednesday I asked if there were more potential controversial disclosures around the corner. That was a dumb question. We already knew the answer.

Yesterday we learned through ABC News that Citigroup is planning to build new executive offices for its CEO and his assistants at a cost of $10-million dollars. Citigroup has received $45-billion in bailout money and wants more. Citigroup did yield to government pressure a while ago and gave up buying a $50-million dollar corporate jet. Citigroup says the money is designed to cut costs by consolidating offices.

The Portland newspaper yesterday passed on an Associated Press report that at least 13 firms receiving bailout or recovery (it’s no longer referred to as ‘stimulus’) money owe more than $220-million in back taxes. Two of the companies owe $100-million each. Businesses were supposed to have signed statements that they owed no federal taxes.

Yesterday’s news also reported that Merrill Lynch paid millions in bonuses less than a month before being taken over by Bank of America. Bank of America officials have told federal investigators that they warned Merrill Lynch about potential problems over the bonuses, but because at the time BofA had not yet completed the takeover, they had no control over the spending.

And did I read somewhere that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives were also going to receive bonuses? I can’t find that source right at the moment, but somewhere the back of my mind is pulling out that I have read it. Those are the outfits Rep. Barney Frank is enamored with. Probably I’ll stay politically correct and not go into any more of that here. But if my memory is correct, I’ll bet they don’t suffer any wrath.

I probably wouldn’t have to look too hard to find many other reported abuses of the funds. Abuse was invited when the government started doling out billions of dollars with relatively no controls. Bailouts and stimulus spending doesn’t tend to work in the first place; but with no oversight the potential for working is diminished even more.

I’ve asked this question before: Just who is responsible for watching over the taxpayers’ money in this colossal mess? I don’t have that answer and apparently neither does the government. Perhaps they simply imported the person in the Maine Department of Health and Human Services who has lost millions of dollars in DHHS accounts without any accountability to show them how it’s done. We have learned that a clause prohibiting the using of the funds for such purposes was taken out of the recovery bill by the Obama administration. Since Sen. Olympia Snowe was a creator of the measure, I wonder why she continued to support the bill.

It also could be a diversion by the Democrats to advance their socialistic programs. After all, if we get angry enough at what businesses are doing with the spending package money, perhaps we’ll learn to hate them enough to go along with giving up Democracy as we know it. After all, you may notice that the Democrats crying the loudest over the mess are the very ones who created it. And they all want to take from the rich to give to the poor. They haven’t figured out where the money will come from when the “rich” no longer exist, except, of course, the members of Congress and top levels of government.

The possibilities are endless. The sadness is, as I think of them this morning, they may be closer to the truth than we realize.

Thankfully, a weekend is arriving and I’ll simply do my regular weekend post about life on the Gator family farm.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Weedends are good.