Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Another Feeding Frenzy

I work under a contract as a member of a union. I make less than $30,000 from this contract, but I think it is pertinent. It so happens that this contract is with the government--in this case CUNY, which is some kind of joint venture of the City and State of New York (my checks from BMCC come from the city, my checks from CCNY come from the state).

And I expect that contract to be honored.

So does every member of my union. As does every union that has a contract with the government. As does every contractor who does business with the government. As does everybody who has any contract with anybody.

So I want those AIG fat cats to get their stupid bonuses. I don't want the government to be able to break a contract because times are hard, or because they don't now like the terms. You want to see real financial chaos? You think it's bad now? Just set a precedent that lets a contract be broken just because one party doesn't like the terms anymore. We live in a land where contracts are enforced.

Oh yeah: I think this idea of punitive taxation is unethical. I think targeting a specific group for 100% taxation to punish them for something is worse than breaking a contract. It is the government saying, in a sense, "we dont' care about the law, we are going to find a way around it because we are mad." It's kind of like setting up a prison in CUBA in order to get around laws governing torture and due process.

What we have here is a feeding frenzy. It is as grotesque and as crazy as the frenzy of the paparazzi around Angelina Jolie that I wrote about on Sunday. Only this time it is the whole country that is going mad. Just like after 9/11, America has turned into an angry mob. They are out for blood and, by God, they are going to get some. It is just the type of mob that lynches black men for being black, or breaks the windows of Jewish shop keepers, or ties gay men to the backs of vehicles and drags them to their deaths. Let me tell you, the spectacle of my senator standing up and saying 'we are going to make sure these people get none of this money' (I'm paraphrasing, but it's close) was as frightening to me as Bush talking about an Axis of Evil. One Republican senator even suggested that AIG executives commit sepuku. Howw far is it from that to some yahoo here in NYC (and our town is full of yahoos) deciding that they aren't acting fast enough and he's going to take matters into his own hands? Maybe march into AIG like John Luigi Ferri and gun down as many people as he can? Our Senators are already giving him the moral justification to do so. When you create scape goats and spread hatred, that is exactly what you do.

Lately the talking points from my party have included comparing the economic crisis to a war, and suggesting that anybody who opposes the president is being un-patriotic. It is a play right out of the GOP playbook and it is a good one. But if this is indeed a war (it's not, no more than the war on terror was a war) then it is having the same effect on truth, ethics, justice and due process as our other wars have. MSNBC is right. We have declared "war" on wealth. We have created an enemy--bankers and wall street execs--and we will fight them in the trenches and the streets blah blah blah. There is nothing new to any of this. A crazy man declared long ago "we shall not be crucified on a cross of gold!" Hating the rich has a long history in this country, and this is no different. We have declared them to be evil, greedy, fat pigs, who deserve to be destroyed. And as with the "war" on terror, we are willing to do unethical and illegal things to exact our revenge. My party, my president, is starting to remind me frighteningly of President Bush and the republicans right after 9/11 (and like the Dems at that time, the GOP are going along with them). If Marx is right the people will not be satisfied with legislative attempts to bring the rich down and the next step will be revolution. I hope not, because we've all seen how communism failed.

If you ask me, Cuomo's approach is the only one that has any merit. Investigate them for fraud and, if it was committed, then you can void the contracts on that basis. That would be ethical, legal, and I hope it happens.

Because I want my pound of flesh from these bastards too.



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