“Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you couldn’t do before.” — Rahm Emmanuel November 2008

President Obama tried some creative misdirection today by attacking Wall Street once again:

President Barack Obama issued a withering critique Thursday of Wall Street corporate behavior, calling it “the height of irresponsibility” for employees to be paid more than $18 billion in bonuses last year while their crumbling financial sector received a bailout from taxpayers.


Obama’s stand also came just one day after he surrounded himself with well-paid chief executives at the White House. He had pulled in those business leaders and hailed them for being on the “front lines in seeing the enormous problems in our economy right now.”

The executives who appeared with Obama are not leaders of the Wall Street financial companies that the president targeted, but rather heads of such well-known manufacturing and technology giants as IBM, Motorola, Xerox and Corning. Still, they get paid handsomely.

Most of those who stood with Obama earned a total 2007 compensation package of between $8 million and $21 million, according to a review by The Associated Press.

Meanwhile, back at economic stimulus HQ, we can find irresponsible excesses that dwarf those Wall Street bonuses.

  • $1 billion for Amtrak, the federal railroad that hasn’t turned a profit in 40 years
  • $2 billion for child-care subsidies
  • $50 million for that great engine of job creation, the National Endowment for the Arts
  • $400 million for global-warming research
  • $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects.
  • $8 billion for renewable energy funding
  • $600 million for new cars for government employees in addition to the $3 billion/year government already spend.
  • $7 billion to “modernize” Federal buildings and facilities.
  • $335 million for sexually transmitted disease education

The Wall Street Journal finds some line items in the Obama-Reid-Pelosi stimulus package that rise beyond “height of irresponsibility” levels:

Another “stimulus” secret is that some $252 billion is for income-transfer payments — that is, not investments that arguably help everyone, but cash or benefits to individuals for doing nothing at all. There’s $81 billion for Medicaid, $36 billion for expanded unemployment benefits, $20 billion for food stamps, and $83 billion for the earned income credit for people who don’t pay income tax.

Eighty-three billion dollars will be taken from American workers who paid income taxes, and given to others who did not in what Obama creatively redefined as “tax refunds.”

The Obama-Reid-Pelosi plan is clear now…demonize private institutions (“American taxpayers will never again have to put their money on the line to pay for the greed and irresponsibility of Wall Street.” — Barack Obama, September 2001), and move America closer to socialism.

(T)his bill was written based on the wish list of every living — or dead — Democratic interest group. As Speaker Nancy Pelosi put it, “We won the election. We wrote the bill.” So they did. Republicans should let them take all of the credit.

P.S. Here’s the Boiling Frogs stimulus package…Excessive government spending has never increased economic production in the past, and is not likely to do so in the future, so instead of increasing government spending, make 2009 a tax moratorium year. That puts $2 trillion in the hands of American consumers to spend as they see fit. That will stimulate this economy more than excessive government spending ever has.