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Different Strokes

Digby comments on an Ezra Klein post about the complaints of people at AIG that they might not receive gazillions of dollars in pay for their “outstanding performance” in recent memory.

The reason they complain is that they don’t accept any responsibility for the melt down, and why should they? The Village is treating it as if it were some type of natural disaster, rather than the result of the unvarnished greed of the financial sector.

As Robert Peston notes the attitude on the other side of the pond is quite different:

However, several ministers and officials have told me that the goverment is determined to extract revenue from banks for taxpayers and simultaneously prevent the banks from awarding substantial bonuses to their employees.

“It is a matter of justice,” said one minister. “Investment banks are making exceptional profits as a result of the intervention of government and the Bank of England to limit the economic damage from the mess caused by those very same banks. So it would be outrageous if they paid those profits to employees and bonuses. We are determined to prevent that.”

The UK government knows who is at fault and intends to make them pay for their gambling. They want them to pick up the bill for at least some of the budget deficits they have caused, and the Tories will go along with the effort.

In the US, Fed chief Ben Bernake thinks that the Social Security and Medicare trust funds should pay for it.

4 comments

1 Kryten42 { 12.07.09 at 12:15 am }

I was reading an article in PR Watch earlier which had me amused thinking that if it happened and was *fair dinkum*, I’d hear the howls of Wall St. from here! 😆

Apparently a group of lawmakers introduced a bill called “Let Wall Street Pay for the Restoration of Main Street Act”

Job Creation Takes Center Stage in Washington

Yeah, we’ll see… But I won’t hold my breath. 😉

2 Bryan { 12.07.09 at 12:24 am }

This administration has surrounded itself with Wall Street people, so a bill like that would probably face a veto. If something isn’t done, there will be another asset bubble and we will have to go through this again, except we won’t have the credit available to do it again.

I get a definite feeling that the Brits are a good deal more sensitive to public sentiment because of their parliamentary system, than the US is. If Congress had to run on what has been done so far this year, there would be major changes, and a lot of new faces.

3 Badtux { 12.07.09 at 9:59 am }

On the other hand the UK has the same bipolar problem as the USA where both major parties run the place right over the rails from time to time. Case in point: When Bush’s Poodle took Britain into Iraq despite the fact that around 70% of the public opposed it. Both parties somehow convinced themselves that this was in the best interests of the UK despite the majority of people opposing it. But: The UK is smaller than the US, and its politicians less bought because it takes far less money to run for office in the UK due to the short campaigns and small districts. That makes a *huge* difference.

I keep debating amongst myself the advantages and disadvantages of a US-style split executive/legislative system, a UK-style parliamentary system, proportional representation systems, and instant runoff systems. There does not seem to be any particular magic bullet form of government though that results in good government. Parliamentary systems do seem, on average, to work better, but let’s say that the U.S. House of Representatives was Parliament. Do you seriously believe that the health care reform bill that passed the House is better than what’s going to come out of the conference committee and get signed by President Obama? In a parliamentary system, that monstrosity would already be law…

– Badtux the Civics Penguin

4 Bryan { 12.07.09 at 12:14 pm }

The one major point for the Parliamentary system is that the leader can’t claim to be above the fray, or acting in anything but a partisan fashion. The party owns the legislation. Another good bit is throwing people out of the party, which would be quite nice in several instances.

I’m not certain that there will be any legislation at the end of this mess. Going in the legislation would already be written before anything was introduced into a parliament, and it would come from the leadership.