Monday, March 16, 2009

Robert Reich on the AIG Bonuses

Robert Reich sensibly suggests that the way to end the abuses at AIG is to send it into bankruptcy and rebuild it from there. This course has the danger of cascading defaults, of course, but it would allow for structured re-building, and it would allow the bonuses to be cancelled.

I'm no lawyer, and no economist, but it is interesting to follow the rhetoric surrounding this situation, and the way the bonuses, more almost than any other even in the past months, has momentarily unified the country in populist outrage.

Huey Long would have a field day.

FDR would find a way to act, and would find a way to explain and condemn -- and point to a way forward.

President Obama seems to be finding ways to do this, but he can't be engaged in a running commentary -- nor could FDR in his own time. The onrushing news cycle keeps giving all the rest of us plenty to react to, but any president would soon wear out our patience if he or she commented daily on the latest buzz. Instead, comments, speeches, and appearances need to be timed (and placed) so that there is an ongoing sense that things are being seen, understood, and, where appropriate, acted on by the administration.

Would we be better off if our president maintained a public twitter account to report moment by moment reactions? No, I don't think so either.

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