Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Blame Game

We are a nation of finger pointers. We have a need to compartmentalize and to place blame where we can see it and touch it: Tim Geithner, for not plugging up every hole in the dike, Edward Libby for taking $1 a year to try to reign in a run away train using bubble gum and spit, even the hundreds of employees who received the infamous retention payments from AIG. Parade them in front of us. Give them a tongue lashing. Yes, Mr. Libby, offense was meant to be taken in the questions posed to you. Give me a break.

While we feel better for being able to direct our anger, I submit that we are not dealing with Bernie Madoff when we address Mr. Geithner, Mr. Libby, or even the too highly paid members of the AIG aristocracy. We have a right to be disenchanted, disillusioned and every other kind of dis that connotes our disappointment. But wake up and smell the roses. This is a problem of epic proportion and the shoulders of these few individuals is not where the 800 pound gorilla should be sitting.

I know that amorphous concepts like deregulation, derivatives and administration deception during the Bush years are harder to grasp. It is more satisfying to us to look into the eyes of those who we choose to demonize, call them out and make them squirm. I know our brains don't want to have to do the heavy legwork necessary to connect the dots and understand the real root cause of this debacle. I am sorry but that is what this state of affairs requires of all us.

So we will continue to put this administration under fire. President Obama will have to make statements every few days that the buck stops here. His approval ratings will drop, Geithner may be fired, and Libby will be forced to slink away to the same cave where the heads of the Big 3 went after they were verbally pistol whipped within an inch of their lives. Grow up America. These problems are complex, and the villains you seek have left office and are writing their memoirs.


Anonymous said...

Public scrutiny and public opinion are, in and of themselves, regulators of conduct. We need transparency and ridicule. Executive compensation as well as ridiculous bonuses paid under the motto, heads I win tails you lose, must be riduled, taxed and in some cases prosecuted until these abuses stop. Ted

Robert said...

I agree that scrutiny and corrective action are needed, but this obsession with creating black and white,good and bad, without nuance, is not needed and if often inaccurate and destructive

Anonymous said...

Transparency, public scrutiny, and ridicule alone won't fix things. People have been frustrated that their government has taken a backseat to being proactive in deciphering problems before they get too big. Future generations need to learn at a young age about how government should actually function; what works and what doesn't, what agencies do this or that, and what specific tools are at government's disposal. Only then will we see constructive public participation in good government, with less ridicule. Until then, we will only have big government and lots of ridicule. We feel better because we don't know any better. (my wife tells me that I don't know any better all the time)--RobE

Robert said...

We don't know any better. We feel better when we can wrap our arms around a problem by reducing it to its lowest common denominator that we can understand (the villain)

This administration is trying to address massive problems that it has inherited. We have been very lax on our watch through the years. When times are good, we are laissez faire. Only when things go wrong do we bother to pay attention. It is not the way we should be.