Dodd is becoming easy pickings nowadays.
Chris Dodd vs. Tim Geithner:
Dodd, the 6-foot senior senator out of Connecticut, is at the heart of the AIG bonus scandal. Just about everyone is blaming him for the provision that let the company use federal bailout money for the $286 million worth of payouts.
Dodd is blaming Geithner.
But Geithner, the one-man-show at the Treasury, is claiming that he didn’t really push as hard as Dodd is saying, that it was up to the legislators in the end anyway. Though he’s quick to defend the provision’s legal grounding, Geithner claims to be as surprised by the bonuses as anyone.
Facing pressure, Obama had to make the call: admit that his man Geithner had made a mistake or turn the cheek to Dodd and let the public, the media, and the Republican party pounce on the guy. Obama chose the latter — as easy as picking Duke or UCLA.
[. . .]
Just before the bill went to the conference committee, in which Dodd did not participate, the Obama administration pushed for Congress to limit the provision’s scope. Perhaps they feared the legal repercussions; perhaps it truly was a move to appease the businessmen. Either way, by the time the conference concluded, a new clause had been added to the act.
It stipulated that Dodd’s proposition “shall not be construed to prohibit any bonus payment required to be paid pursuant to a written employment contract executed on or before February 11, 2009.”
In a rush to get the stimulus money out, the bill went to vote right away. Maybe Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, could have been more stubborn by pushing back against the new clause and its champion — Tim Geithner. But at that point, it would have been politically useless and, if it caused a delay in getting the stimulus to the people, definitely not worth the costs.
Never waste a crisis. This isn’t so much as against Dodd but the entire system of rushing bills through in a hurry to sign as law. It’s the mentality of manufacturing a crisis so government can step in and take action.
Why is it a crisis? Because the President (from either party) said it was. So Congress has to act to do something (TARP, the Troubled Asset Relief Program). When the unintended consequences hit from the first law passed (AIG getting their contractual bonuses. Protected by law through the ‘American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’, better known as The Stimulus Package). Congress sets out to pass another law to patch up the first (The after the fact 90% tax on the bonuses. Passed the House and is in the Senate, last I checked). Setting themselves up as the good guys when it was the same laws they passed that caused the root problem.
Kindergartners can do a better job of running the country.
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