For top executives to award themselves these kinds of compensation packages in the midst of this economic crisis is not only in bad taste — it’s a bad strategy — and I will not tolerate it as President. We’re going to be demanding some restraint in exchange for federal aid – so that when firms seek new federal dollars, we won’t find them up to the same old tricks...
Lee me start my rumbling today by stating that I couldn’t care less if Obama capped salaries for executives of companies relying on Washington for a bailout at 50 cents. They want taxpayers' money; let them live with the rules imposed by taxpayers' representatives.
Having said this, let me explain why seven words in Obama’s speech made me particularly uneasy and reminded me of speeches made throughout history by despots and dictators, usually to cheering crowds looking for a scapegoat for their frustrations. The sentence that I am referring to is “…and I will not tolerate it as President.”
This is a sentence that is contradictory to a democratic system. In a democracy a president speaks on behalf of the people and should use statements such as “the American people will not tolerate” or “taxpayers will not tolerate” to explain why a certain measure by the government is necessary. Using “I will not…” denotes a sense of intolerance and superiority that implies that “we the people” don’t know what is good for us, and need an enlightened leader to tell us what will or will not be tolerated.
However, there is a scenario where the I will not tolerate… sentence is appropriate; and that is when it is followed by the words “tax cheats and lobbyists in my administration.” So far Obama has not uttered such a sentence and has demonstrated by his nominations that the adage “do as I say not as I do” is alive and well in Washington D.C.
In contradiction to his decrees, Obama has nominated quite a few lobbyists and quasi lobbyists to cabinet and sub cabinet positions. Several where registered ones and others, like Daschle and Panetta, where what the media calls “persons who help businesses and industries navigate through the Byzantine regulations of the federal government” were not. If these are not lobbyists what are they? Who would be so naive as to believe that Daschle made five million dollars and got a chauffeured driven limousine simply because his speeches are motivational.
If a former legislator or government employee is married to lobbyist, as Daschle is, shouldn’t that constitute a conflict of interest? I have no doubt that for these type of couples foreplay is a nibbling on the ear and a whisper “honey, can you call Pelossi and Read tomorrow…”