Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill has earned high praise from liberals for her corporate-bashing screed last week on the Senate floor. Crusading for executive compensation limits on bailout recipients, she decried the “idiots” on Wall Street. WaPo columnist Eugene Robinson approves:
Earth to Wall Street: It’s over, people. You had a terrific run, better than you deserved, but now you’d be wise to pay attention to those citizens outside, the ones with the pitchforks and the torches.
Sen. Claire McCaskill’s righteous verdict on shameless, clueless, bonus-grubbing executives should be carved on the tombstone of the whole “Masters of the Universe” ethos that brought us to this moment of dire economic peril: “These people are idiots.”
The Democrat from Missouri was ranting for the nation last week when she took to the floor of the Senate to denounce the reported $18.4 billion in year-end bonuses that Wall Street awarded itself — a pat on the back for such total, abject failure that taxpayers have had to shell out nearly a trillion dollars in emergency bailout funds. So far.
On the subject of Merrill Lynch, which traditionally pays its bonuses in January, McCaskill was white-hot livid: “You know what these sneaky guys did? They decided to give their bonuses in December, before the Bank of America took over. [They] paid out $3 [billion] to $4 billion in bonuses in December, and that quarter Merrill Lynch lost $21 billion. What planet are these people on? What could they be thinking about?”
Themselves, would be my guess.
McCaskill introduced a bill to limit compensation at any company receiving bailout money to $400,000 — the salary of the president of the United States. It’s hard to improve on her words: “We should have done it in the first place. But I don’t think any of us thought these guys were this stupid. I don’t think any of us believed that they would take billions of dollars in bonuses while their institutions were literally days from being wiped out. But they did. And we’ve learned our lesson.”
You people listened to Naked Emperor Hank Paulson despite his abysmal track record. You flapped and clucked in Chicken Little lock-step and rushed headlong to fork over billions to bail out failing companies. And now, Sen. McCaskill, it dawns on you that failing to attach strings to the money was a bad idea.
Who’s the idiot, Sen. McCaskill?