Mr. Obama joined Congress in decrying the bonuses given to the AIG execs.  He was incensed that a Company that was given $170 billion taxpayer dollars would have the gall to give out $165 million in bonuses to retain key executives.  So was almost everyone in Congress.

“It’s hard to understand how derivative traders at AIG warranted any bonuses, much less $165 million in extra pay,” Obama said at the outset of an appearance to announce help for small businesses hurt by the deep recession. “How do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat.”  Obama said he has asked Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to “…pursue every legal avenue to block these bonuses and make the American taxpayers whole.”  All this is according to the Huffington Post, normally quite sympathetic to President Obama.

The folks at Huffpo didn’t, however, mention that this was a special ‘pet project’ use of one, one-thousandth of the money they were given.  So a diversion from the intended use of a tenth of a percent of the money has Mr. Obama hopping mad.

Let’s compare that with Mr. Obama’s reaction when questioned about signing the Omnibus Appropriations bill which was written to bail out our government until the next budget cycle.   It contained 8500 to 9300 (depends on who is counting) earmarks worth somewhere north of $12 Billion.  Mr. Obama said, “I am signing an imperfect omnibus bill because it is necessary for the ongoing functions of government.  But I also view this as a departure point for more far-reaching change.  The future demands that we operate in a different way than we have in the past,” Obama declared. “So let there be no doubt: This piece of legislation must mark an end to the old way of doing business, and the beginning of a new era of responsibility and accountability that the American people have every right to expect and demand. . . . That’s the government I promised. That’s the government I intend to lead.”

Doesn’t sound hopping mad to me.  In fact, it sounds like he said he knew he was signing a bill which diverted $12 Billion of the $410 Billion away from the intended purpose of the bill.  And he did so without so much as an “I’m Sorry.”  

So if Mr. Obama diverts to improper uses about 3% of the Appropriations bill, that is okay.  If Executives (from a company being bailed out by money from the same taxpayers) divert 0.1% (one thirtieth as much as was diverted in the Omnibus Bill) of the funds they have received, it is an “outrage” that requires investigation and someone’s head on the block.  

I wonder when the politics-as-usual will stop and Mr. Obama will start to deliver on his promises.  The smart money is betting it won’t be anytime soon.

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