Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Quit Your Belly-Aching, Melon Head

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! ‘tis a holiday I never have and never will fully understand, but celebrate to your heart’s content.

I’ve been trying to figure out my own reaction to the recent news that AIG planned on paying out $146M in bonuses to executives because “contractual obligations.” It seems like people of all persuasions are outraged by this disregard for taxpayer money. The news sources in Michigan - TV, radio, internet, and print - have certainly been quick to point out the double standard between the forced disregard of the “contractual obligations” to the UAW and the odd insistence on adherence to contracts in the case of AIG. Most of the articles I’ve read can present the case better than me, so here’s one such article from Daniel Howes of The Detroit News. I, too, think this whole situation is a little bit stinky, but that is not what I want to write about right now. No, rather I’d like to suggest that the state of Michigan appoint one or two individuals to the chief executive of the office Double Standards, Unfairness, and Complaining. I don’t suggest this because I think Michigan needs to do more complaining about unfairness and double standards, but we need to focus and coordinate efforts so as not to appear a state of raging crybabies.

Most people outside of the state are already angered by knowledge of these new AIG bonuses, and we can only make ourselves look worse by complaining over and over again that it is unfair. On top of that, we don’t need to continue to draw attention to our situation that other people already feel is a little bit nuts and undeserved. Even away from those who are close to the situation here, people are acutely aware of the different standards to which the automotive and financial industries are held. This is an opportunity for sympathy and understanding without having to directly remind the world that we think we deserve sympathy and understanding.

My loyalties are obvious and will always be that way, but I just don’t think the right approach right now is to stand up and yell “UNFAIR!” – especially if there is already agreement on that subject.

1 comment:

Aunt Cathie said...

You may enjoy this game, "The Great AIG Tomato Toss" at http://moveon.org/tomato/?id=15777-5854317-GME_Y6x&t=4 It lets you throw tomatoes at the AIG headquarters and sign a petition.