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Mr. Smith definitely didn’t go to Washington

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POSTED March 19, 2009 4:33 a.m.
Republican senators are sounding like outraged socialists as they preen for TV cameras slamming big fat corporate bonuses. Democrats are acting like they’re deaf as they deflect tough questions about why they negated provisions to block fat AIG bonuses behind closed doors while negotiating bailout packages.

Meanwhile members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have come up with a grand way to cover their own tracks which is assessing a 100 percent tax on any bonus paid by a company receiving government bailout funds. Gee, wouldn’t it have been less messy if they had bothered to read legislation they were voting on when they were acting like Daddy Warbucks with our money?

If you haven’t figured it out by now, there isn’t much difference between a Republican in Congress and a Democrat in Congress. Apparently none of them have time to read the bills they vote on, they can’t answer a straight up question about their complicity in any given mess they’ve created, and they make a political career out of blaming the other side for all of the nation’s ills.

The ruling elite and that is what they are  — elitists — can contort campaign donation laws  by citing verse and subtext verbatim to find ways to wiggle around the law like a silver-tongued Philadelphia lawyer but they act like they’ve never even read a 1040 instruction book when they do their own taxes.

Yes, we should be outraged about the AIG bonuses. At the same time, we should wonder why Congress was asleep when they were operating the steam shovel loading the tax dollars being trucked out around the clock to bail out a system that went into collapse because of their failed oversight. The executive branch can’t make laws or authorize budget expenditures. That is a right reserved to – and now apparently abdicated by – Congress.

Funny, but the constitution gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce. This is one of their prime functions and each and every one of the 535 members of Congress has failed miserably.

One would hope that instead of jockeying for position in front of the TV cameras to fan the flames of outrage that Congress members instead would be  scurrying back to their offices and see what other little details they may have glossed over in doling out hundreds of billions of dollars in just a couple of month’s time. Rest assured that the odds are why they’re squealing so much over the $165 million AIG bonuses is they know darn well they let other major slip ups get by them.

What better way to deflect tighter scrutiny than to focus on a “sexy” public outrage issue such as the obscenely huge bonuses?

What hurts the most is Congress’ wanton disregard for even trying to understand how the private sector works. Bonuses obviously are a way that corporate America enriches their top brass. You’d have to have been living in the Twilight Zone for the past 10 years or so not to have heard about things like golden parachutes, fat stock options and such. At the same time, you’d have to understand labor and contractual law when it comes to employment.

It shouldn’t have been that difficult for those outraged Republicans – and Democrats now suffering from amnesia – to have made this a huge sticking point before they gave up control of a couple hundred billions of dollars.

So how does Congress take it easy on Wall Street while making it tough on Main Street when it comes to everything from tax breaks to federal rules governing commerce? The answer is easy; it’s called Potomac poisoning.

Who do you think has the ear of a congressman – people they meet for a minute or two while on a whirlwind tour of their districts and nod their heads in agreement or lobbyists? It is made worse by the fact members of Congress  rely on their staff often times to help them know how to vote on specific legislation which often isn’t read in its entirety – the bailout is a prime example – before it is put to a vote.

It would be nice, of course, if the staff of most members of Congress had roots in their district. Instead, there is a small army of career congressional staff members traded between members of Congress with changes in election fortunes.

The result is a professional para-politician under culture in DC that actually does the true nuts and bolts work on Congressional action tempered not by the area their boss represents but from inbreeding with party ideology.

Spend all the time you want blaming Bush, Obama, Clinton, Reagan or whatever president you want for the current mess.

When it comes to who really abdicated their responsibility it is Congress and that’s virtually every member regardless of their party affiliation.
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