White House, Dems in Congress Made The AIG Bonuses Possible?

I’ve watched the AIG bonus hearings on TV and it looks like a lot of political grandstanding.

But the hearings and all the indignation and outrage, especially by Democrats, looks like it is in the process of boomeranging around into the faces of Democrats and could hurt them and the White House.

After watching the hearings,  Shep Smith of Fox News said: “The White House and the congress made this happen.  They stripped a measure from the bill that would have not allowed bonuses…”

“This congress did not permit this; they made this [the AIG bonus fiasco] happen,” Smith said on the air at about 1524 eastern….

Geithner

If Geithner didn’t know that his organization didn’t put any limits on AIG bonuses last year and he just shoveled them money without strings: shame on him.

And shame on Obama.  And shame on the Senate that confirmed Turbo Tax Tim.

But it seems Geithner knew about the bonuses at least in time to halt their pay-out: and he failed to do so.

Either way: now would be a good time to fire him and that would help Obama somewhat…..

But the president said Geithner today (March 18) has been making “all the right moves” in dealing with AIG and the financial crisis.   Bad thing to say…..

Geithner: AIG must return bonus money

CBS news said the “White House is in full damage control mode.”

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) said the administration is in “disarray.” 

But David Espo of the Associated Press gives us more to think about (below)….

Obama: Fire Geithner

 Obama: Here’s Why Geithner Has To Go: Credibility, Confidence, Competance

The AIG hearing is on recess now but the trouble isn’t over….

********************

From Fox News
.
Florida Republican Rep. Connie Mack called for Treasury Sec. Tim Geithner to lose his job Wednesday, becoming the first Capitol Hill lawmakers to call for his ouster over AIG’s using tens of millions of taxpayer dollars for executive bonuses. 

“Quite simply, the Timothy Geithner experience has been a disaster. The Treasury Department is in disarray. Taxpayer dollars are being wasted. America’s economy hangs in the balance. America needs and deserves a treasury secretary who can truly lead us forward,” Mack said in a written statement. 

He called on Geithner, the former New York Federal Reserve chief, either to resign or be fired, and said President Obama should nominate a new secretary with “the experience and leadership skills America deserves.”

Read the rest:
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/f
irst100days/2009/03/18/rep-ma
ck-calls-geithner-resign-fired-aig
-bonuses/

*********************

Fox also reported this:
Capitol Hill, though, has broken down into a melee of finger-pointing over the AIG bonuses, and Republicans are probably the loudest. And they’re aiming higher in their criticism. 

Though the GOP was loath to criticize President Obama directly during the stimulus debate — using Democratic congressional leaders as punching bags instead — Republicans turned fire on the Obama administration this week. 

Read the rest:
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/first1
00days/2009/03/18/blame-game-de
epens-aig-outrage-gop-electoral-opening/

**********************

By David Espo, AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time since last fall’s election, Democrats and the Obama administration are backpedaling furiously on an issue easily understood by financially strapped taxpayers: $165 million in bonuses paid out at bailed-out AIG.

Republicans, struggling to regain their political footing, are content to let Democrats try to dig their way out of this mess on their own.

Professing shock at the bonus payments, Democrats have embarked on a hurry-up effort to impose what amounts to confiscatory taxes on the bonuses, a maneuver that almost surely will be tested in the courts.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner won a strong vote of confidence Wednesday from President Barack Obama, whose administration has been struggling with the controversy since the weekend.

But the mood is less charitable among congressional Democrats. And Republicans have made Geithner their top target, not surprising given Obama’s continued high approval ratings.

“It’s shocking that they would — the administration would come to us now and act surprised about these contracts,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the Senate GOP leader. “This administration could have and should have … prevented this from happening. They had a lot of leverage two weeks ago.”

That would be when the Treasury Department decided to make an additional $30 billion available to American International Group Inc., the huge insurance conglomerate deemed too big to fail by two administrations.

Which goes to the crux of the Democrats’ current political problem.

Gone are the days when they could merely bludgeon the Bush administration and promise to seek bipartisan solutions to the nation’s economic problems.

Now, in control of the White House and Congress, they are struggling to come up with an explanation for what no one in either party seems moved to defend.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said AIG stands as a symbol of “greed and perhaps corruption.”

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., scoffed at AIG’s claim that the money represents retention pay. “There are enough bright people in this country that would do the job for an honest salary, and enough honest taxpayers demanding that we put an end to this stuff. You can bet I’ll make sure justice is served,” he said.

But the bonus payments occurred on the Democrats’ watch, and for Republicans, AIG seems politically providential.

Their overwhelming opposition to last month’s stimulus bill appeared to be gaining little traction as Democrats showcase every shovelful of dirt that is turned — all in the name of economic recovery.

Criticism that Obama and Democrats are embarking on a new era of tax-and-spend is undercut by the lack of a budget alternative from Republicans — the party that presided over a historic run-up in the federal debt earlier this decade when it controlled both the White House and Congress.

Less than 100 days into the Obama administration, polls have brought little good news to Republicans.

While a recent Pew survey found some slippage in Obama’s support, it also registered only 28 percent approval for the job being done by GOP congressional leaders, the lowest in nearly 14 years. And a separate survey by CNN and Opinion Research Corp. put support for the president’s handling of the economy at nearly 60 percent.

Against this backdrop, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs sought to explain AIG.

He told reporters that Geithner “last week engaged with the CEO of AIG to communicate what we thought were outrageous and unacceptable bonuses,” and “received a commitment to lessen some of the bonuses for senior executives.”

Asked directly if Obama is satisfied that he found out about the bonuses in a timely fashion, Gibbs said: “Yes, the president is satisfied.”

The president “has complete confidence” in his Treasury secretary, Gibbs added, although Geithner’s early tenure has been anything but smooth. The Cabinet official’s introduction of a new plan to bail out the financial industry was widely panned, and his confirmation was held up earlier when it was disclosed he had paid $34,000 in back taxes.

Read the rest:
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/A
nalysis-White-House-Dems-apf-1
4677357.html

Related:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/18/liveblogg
ing-the-public-flogging-liddy-and-the-indignant-
enablers/

Related:

Expect Obama To Trash Bipartisan Pledge and Railroad His Budget Through Congress “Rubber Stamp”

Obama’s Real Problem: He Still Wants Toxic Acid Bank Bailout $750B, Budget of $3.6 Trillion, and More

Some Dems Want Brake in Obama Plans, Spending

Did Obama White House Fuel AIG Bonus Mess To Enact Tougher Rules With Public Support, “Outrage”?

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