Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The People Flex Their Muscle

by Pa Rock
Consumer Advocate

Finally, a computer game that I could master.

Last week someone sent me a game via email. It was a photo of the AIG Headquarters in New York City. The object was to drag your mouse over the photo and click it at random. A tomato splashed on the building with every click. It was kind of fun to get artsy and make tomato stain patterns on the AIG Building. And it was educational, too, because at certain levels of hits, derisive facts about AIG would pop up.

(Hey, I live by myself and am always on the lookout for inexpensive amusements! Sort of like George Bush and his chainsaw, only not nearly as dangerous!)

Today that same AIG building was in the news. The giant letters, AIG, had been taken down from above the front door - so as not to draw too much attention to that den of inequity. (Were they worried about real tomatoes being lobbed at their headquarters?)

Also, over this weekend some activists chartered buses and rode up into the tonier rural areas of Connecticut where they traveled past the fabulous country homes of AIG executives. Some even de-boarded the buses and held protest rallies out in front of the plutocrats' locked gates!

Arthur Levitt, a former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said today in the Wall Street Journal that this public scrutiny has reached extremes of incivility that are intolerable. Those good old boys in the Armani suits and Italian shoes just aren't comfortable with John Q. Public knowing who they are, where they live, and how much they are being paid.

Some of the AIG bonus payments have been returned this week, and some big banks are now publicly talking about returning their TARP money. The public money just isn't worth the hassle of public oversight.

In truth these corporate hogs have been sucking at the public tit for decades - through tax breaks, purchased legislation, constant deregulation, and treating their line workers like serfs from the Middle Ages. They brought about this sorry economic mess, and they should now be forced to live and work where they crapped. And if their public benefactors want to drive by and ogle their mansions or look over their shoulders while they work, well, the swine brought it on themselves.

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