- The Washington Times - Friday, March 20, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The outrage over the American International Group Inc. bonuses is laughable. The story has dominated the news cycle for the last few days. It has preoccupied the press, the president and members of Congress.

This same group of outraged politicians has done nothing short of ruining our economic future. We have not felt the full extent of the consequences of their spending, but those consequences will come.

The obligations of the federal government are $53 trillion and growing. That means that every single man, woman and child owes $175,000 or $410,000 for each full-time worker. To put this in perspective, $53 trillion is $165 million (the amount of the bonuses) paid more than 320,000 times.

When it comes to government spending, the millions no longer matter. A $500 billion project amounts to less than 1 percent of our total debt. Unfortunately, the members of the Washington press corps are like mice distracted by smelly cheese. Still, at least real mice have a greater understanding of economics than the media.

The AIG debacle has shown the problem with government involvement in business. We now have Washington micromanaging the payroll of corporations and the travel habits of General Motors Corp. executives. AIG should have been allowed to fail.

The press needs to wake up, understand the train wreck that is coming, ask our politicians the hard questions that need to be answered, and then tell the American people what they have learned. As it is now, the fourth estate has become the fifth wheel.

DOUG HINERMAN

Birmingham, Ala.

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