O/T: A Visit From Vido

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"Han" wrote:

Looks like you need to keep those memories fresh in your mind.
Was announced this afternoon that 380 flights in and out of the USA are being reduced with replacement servive being provided by smaller planes.
LAX, the largest POE on the west coast will certainly feel the effects of this reduction.
Only Quantas is still flying the 380 in/out of LAX with 5 round trip flights per week to Melbourne.
$10Kish for a coach seat on the Melbourne trip may have something to do with it.
Lew
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Lee Michaels wrote:

That sounds really good, but sets a very dangerous precedent. Remember that the bailout money was also paying the salaries for the other workers at AIG as well. So, the agreement is that $1M bonuses (that, by the way, were contracted for before the bailout, so there is an issue of breach of contract) are excessive. Would $500k been OK? No? How about $250k? $50k? $10k? $5k? How about the salaries of the employees being paid? How much is too much, $500k? That seems to be the limit being set by the president right now. $500k is an awful lot of money, more than most of us make, since this is a failing company, shouldn't that number be more like $250k or $100k? Really, since this was a failing company, maybe nobody should be making more than the US average salary. Now you're getting down into the government dictating what an average person at a company that happened to be mis-managed is making. Now, if it's OK to set salaries for companies being bailed out, should the government be setting salaries for companies that have government contracts? Pretty soon, the rationale for why the government can set *your* salary will articulated.
This is nothing more than populism run amok. The thing is, congress set no limitation in the law limiting how the companies used these bailout funds. The amount in question here is less than 1/10 of 1% of the total amount that AIG received. IMO, there should have been no bailout to begin with -- if a company is going to fail, let it fail or reconstitute itself through bankruptcy proceedings.

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Leon wrote:

This only is an issue if the government steps in and tries to "fix" things. Otherwise, the problem is self-limiting.

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Let's clarify something first.
One of Government functions is NOT to MAKE money, but rather to SPEND money wisely. Another of the functions of Government is to do things "Business/ The Private Sector" can't, or won't.
Would the Transcontinental Rail Road, or the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), or The Interstate Highway System, or NASA, or The Panama Canal, or The Internet - and all the the economic growth they fostered - have happened IF Government hadn't financed them?
Let's just take NASA. Because the cost per pound to put something in orbit was so high - NASA paid for the birth of the semi-conductor industry. Without that stimulus, think of just about anything in your home, office and car - that isn't directly or indirectly the result of the semi-conductor industry - and it's spinoffs. Without NASA, think of all the value satellites have added to the world's economy. And when you go to a hospital consider what wouldn't be there if NASA didn't exist.
Now give me any private sector investment that had a comperable Return On Investment, or impact of the citizens of this country- as well as other countries.
Then give me examples of Government actions which plunged the country into economic depression every couple of generations, give or take a decade.
Wall Street has cost citizens far more money than Government has "wasted". And if you use "Welfare Fraud" as a prime example of Government Waste, do a little research on Corporate Welfare.
And BTW - why is The Private Sector coming to the Tax Payer, demanding money - because they're "Too Big To Fail"?
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charlieb wrote:

NASA was not the nexus for the semiconductor industry. The modern transistor, and its usefulness, came into being in 1947, long before NASA.
But your rhetorical question is not hard to answer. Walmart. Intel. Microsoft. Hewlitt-Packard. Even today, President Obama is talking about spending untold sums to assist in computerizing medical records. Walmart is doing it. Today.
In the past five years, private industry has launched far more satellites than the U.S. Government.
That's not to say that government doesn't have a roll. They are the only ones that can FORCE projects thru - such as condemning right of way for roads or evicting farmers to build a dam.

Governments must exercise oversight and act as unbiased arbiters, true. It failed to do so in the '20s. On the other hand, the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 as amended by Clinton in 1995 is the direct cause of today's troubles.

"Waste" isn't the issue - you can't build a house without making sawdust. As Jesus said: "Waste will always be with us" (or words to that effect). "Wealth" is what matters. Private enterprise creates wealth. Government destroys it. There is almost nothing government does 'for its citizens' that couldn't be done better and cheaper by the citizens themselves.
Fight a war? Most wars in history have been fought by mercenaries. Police protection? In my large city, we have about 20 times the number of private security guards as cops on the beat. Fire fighting? Eighty percent of our nation's firefighters are volunteers.

No, they come to the government asking for money because that's where the money IS. They somehow know that knocking on YOUR door or MY door wouldn't get them very far. Pretty clever of them, don't you think? I guess that's why they get paid the big bucks...
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Less governmental...like working at an ACE hardware store? I wouldn't want to go job hunting in this economic climate. Having AIG on a resume would probably be the quickest way to get the application shit-canned.
R
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Lew Hodgett wrote:

Just to interject some facts into the outrage here: 1) The bonuses being paid were to people who were being asked to stay on while they dismantled their divisions. In general, when one is told that their job is going away, the number one priority for that person becomes finding a new job -- any performance on the existing job becomes secondary and if another opportunity is found, the person being affected is going to leave for the new opportunity rather than finish anything at the company for which is position is being eliminated. These retention bonuses were designed to keep those people deemed critical to shutting down those operations from jumping somewhere else and finishing their assignment. That was absolutely critical to the AIG mess.
2) The people being paid the bonuses appear NOT to be the people responsible for running the company into the ground -- they were brought in to clean up the mess: <http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2009/03/some-reality-for-the-reality-based.html
3) None of this would be an issue if the country had applied good old-fashioned capitalism and a) never tried to do the social engineering through Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the CRA with the idea of "affordable housing" and government backed mortgages, and b) had let failing companies fail
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What I find ammusing is that congress was fully aware last year that those bonuses were going to be paid out before AIG received any bail out money.
Like you would expect, congress has been caught with it's pants down once again hoping that AIG would not have paid out the bonuses. Like you would expect they are now making up laws out of anger to try and save face, and that really scares me. Like you would expect the media leaces out all the particular facts that would make this story less than sensational.
IMHO where AIG screwed once again on top of many many screw ups was calling the money, bonuses.
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Leon wrote:

Congress didn't "screw up" - what you see is intentional. Frank, Dodd, Pelosi, Reid, and even Obama need to stir up the AIG lynch mob to deflect attention from their own gross incompetence and responsibility for this whole mess. This entire exercise is one in which the congress critters are performing an act of misdirection hoping that the sheeple will not notice how criminally negligent their politicians are. It will probably work ...
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Did uh, you say congress "screwed up"? I did not say congress screwed up.
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Leon wrote:

Whoops, I read too fast ... my mistaeke...
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Leon wrote:

I think calling it a bonus was fairly accurate, just slightly misspelled.
It should have been called a "boned-us" award.
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Nova wrote:

One way or another, the company was contractually obligated to make the payments or defend itself in lawsuits in which it would be in breach of contract, with the result that the expense would likely be several times greater.
The right response to Congress IMO would have been "I've looked at this and our lawyers have looked at this and we cannot find any legal grounds for abrogating the contracts under which those payments were made--if you would be kind enough to provide us some enabling legislation it would be very helpful.
And Congress immediately enacting a new tax quite frankly makes the Congress look like vindictive spoiled brats having a tantrum.
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"J. Clarke" wrote:

Screw the contract, not going to honor it.
So sue me, the gates of hell will have frozen over befrore any money changes hands, except for the legal fees.
The above has happened many times.
Lew
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Lew Hodgett wrote:

Well, tell you what, I never, ever want to do business with any company with which _you_ are involved.
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<http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2009/03/some-reality-for-the-reality-based.html
Barney, Nancy, Harry, Chris and ALL your other political heroes are strumming the stupidity/ignorance of the electorate like a 12 string guitar ... too bad the sound you hear is the death knell of freedom as we've known it.
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Swingman wrote:

Yup, but it won't be immediate. The younger voters that salivated over the Obamessiah are the ones who are going to absorb most of the pain. In fact, the combination of the natural economic recovery coupled with the phony liquidity being pumped into the system by these idiots may actually cause a huge market bounce in about 2 years. The sheeple will see this as proof that Their Savior has done his job and vigorously reelect him, all the while neglecting the incredible damage this administration and the revolting congress are doing to liberty, monetary policy, productivity, and durable economic stability.
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