Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Kanjorski's AIG Hearing - Mar. 18, 2009

I've been watching these financial hearings for months and have concluded that Rep. Bachus, while perhaps the quintessential Southern gentleman, understands banking and finance no more than I do. But I was impressed by his opening statement for its lucid commonsense assessment of the issue (AIG's bailout and bonus payment) at a time when the media, the talk shows, the web, and, above all, Congress, has been whipping up hysteria equivalent to that which usually precedes a country's going to war.

And if Hypocrisy has a pantheon of heroes, surely Congress must rank at the top. I haven't done a count, but I suspect that many of the Representatives and Senators who opposed the bankruptcy cramdown for first-home mortgages (allowing, for the first time, a bankruptcy judge to write down the principal) on the grounds that mortgages were sacred contracts now consider contracts to be in, I think, Ackerman's words, "legal technicalities".

And, from the part of the hearing I've seen, I was more than a little bemused to see a Republican ask the GAO to investigate the conference committee hearing on the stimulus package which specifically exempted employment contracts from being abrogated. He apparently is unaware of the separation of powers. Or perhaps he thinks the executive branch should routinely investigate Congressional hearings and deliberations.

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