This is actually funny in a very sad and cynical way.
Daily wrap up from Talking Points Memo.
The administration (Bernanke, Geithner, Frank, and Obama -- as well as Bush, Paulson, and Greenspan) disparately need the general public (GP) to not stampede (either literally or figuratively in terms of cursing the memory of Greenspan). However, the GP is getting screwed so severely royally that they are actually noticing -- considering the absolute lack of uproar over the destruction of the dollar's buying power since the Fed was formed in 1913 (down by 95%) it takes a hell of a lot for the GP to even be aware that the pot of water is warm.
However, they're upset now. That anger has to go someplace. It is politically non-productive for the anger to be directed at those actually most responsible for the current crisis (Federal Reserve, Treasury, Laws, FDIC, GSEs, and decades of regulatory agencies malfeasance). So, there needs to be a tangible enemy for people to be mad at. Bankers with their large salaries and bonuses are a great target because people can't relate to them, the natural jealousy regarding their income level, and they are in fact actually responsible for specific losses.
They're clearly a great target, even a correct target for anger. Just not the best or most important target if we want to avoid messes like this in the future or have this one suck less.
With the disclosure of where something like $110 billion of the AIG bailout money went (more or less shipped immediately to other banks due to AIG's counterparty obligations) people are mad. They're forgetting that the POINT of the AIG bailout was to make these stupid counterparties whole. And, when you consider the list of counterparties, you're sorta left realizing that the Fed and Treasury knew more or less who the big ones were when they made the deal with AIG. But, we don't want people angry about that.
So, let's raise a big stink about the bonuses, because that's a simple, tangible thing that the GP can sink their teeth and rage into. And the gilded idiots most responsible for the mess we are in can continue to try fixing it by juggling more of the land mines that caused the current mess.
Wow.... I hadn't meant to write that much. I just really dislike how attention is being diverted from the actual problem. Railing about symptoms is like insisting on Rogaine for part of your cancer therapy.