- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 19, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Your article “Absent recourse, bonuses at AIG draw Hill’s wrath” (Nation, Monday), left me wondering whether anyone in Congress or the Obama administration has any real business experience running anything besides their own campaigns.

Have they ever heard of due diligence? President Obama is effectively the CEO of a massive financial enterprise (the United States) that recently spent $170 billion to acquire 80 percent majority ownership of a massive multinational insurance company, American International Group (AIG). And no one thought to ask about executive compensation or pending contractual obligations before handing over the money? I don’t buy $500 worth of stock for my own retirement account unless I know at least that much about the company that’s trying to earn my investment.

Surely Rep. Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, must realize he could have found most of this information in AIG’s prospectus before the bailout - and without so much as a subpoena. Was he asleep at the switch? Also, the heads of the National Economic Council and the White House Council of Economic Advisers now tell us with a straight face what an outrageous surprise this is and how angry they are that this has happened.

Adding insult to injury, Mr. Obama dispatched these same two economic advisers over the weekend to bemoan to the media that the bonuses had to be paid because otherwise it would draw expensive contract claims for the government to defend at the taxpayers’ expense. What nonsense. My response to a lawsuit by any AIG executive with enough gall to sue the American people for his bonus would be a big, fat, multibillion dollar countersuit for the malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance that got us into this mess. We’ll see who’s worried about paying to defend a lawsuit after that.

I’ve never had the privilege of giving away large amounts of someone else’s money, but it sure must be fun if Congress’ zeal for doing it is any guide.

The most troubling aspect of your story, though, is that liberal politicians, from Mr. Obama right on down, are lining up to blame AIG for this monumental misuse of taxpayer funds. What did they expect from a pig but a grunt? It is the politicians who are at fault. Mr. Obama and his advisers, along with the majority in Congress, don’t seem to understand enough about basic business principles to run a lemonade stand.

SCOTT E. HUCH

Falls Church

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