03/20/09 — Payback: Maybe AIG executives not the only ones who owe us refund

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Payback: Maybe AIG executives not the only ones who owe us refund

There is outrage and a demand for action over the fact that AIG officials and others in the banking and investments businesses were allowed to take bonuses and other perks on the heels of the largest bailout in history.

And one could certainly understand why taxpayers would rather not supplement the more-than-substantial income of employees of companies that they had to finance for them to stay alive.

That kind of performance certainly does not suggest a bonus was in order.

But as we are thinking about our money and who owes us a refund, perhaps there are a few members of Congress to whom we might want to send a bill.

There are many lawmakers who did not do their jobs when the time came to regulate the mortgage industry, and others who even took sweetheart deals themselves, while rubberstamping the reckless behavior of the banks and investment houses.

They certainly ought to be refunding some money.

And then there are the bureaucrats in government who did not do their jobs of regulating properly -- and who even OK'd contracts that really should have been re-examined and jettisoned.

They could send us a check as well.

Perhaps this idea of accountability first and pay later isn't such a bad one after all. It might make a bit more sense to see if the job has been done -- and then decide how much the skill and performance is worth.

If there was such a high standard, there just might be a few more people doing a little more thinking before they agree to spend our money -- or to give it away.

Published in Editorials on March 20, 2009 10:30 AM