Friday, March 20, 2009

We're fated to pretend

The first time I got a New York Times news alert in my e-mail warning of the $160 billion in bonuses AIG would be giving its employees as "retention payment," I shuddered. Over the course of this week, my shuddering has turned to ire. This is one issue that has really gotten my goat, probably because it directly affects me as a taxpayer. When my hard-earned dollars are going to pay someone's million-dollar "bonus" that they probably didn't even deserve in the first place, I get angry.

I don't even know the ins and outs of the entire situation, but hearing that is bound to make any honest, taxpaying citizen at least a little sick to his or her stomach, isn't it? A Washington Post column by Steven Pearlstein today put it an interesting way: Let's stop blaming everyone else around us for this AIG mess and start putting some of the blame on ourselves. After all, it was we who fell for the lures of easy and cheap credit put forth by these schemers. Pearlstein does this explanation better, perhaps, than I give it credit:
"A final point on outrage: We need to save some of it for ourselves. While it was Wall Street that got rich by peddling new ways for Americans to live beyond their means, the decision to do so was ours. It was we who ran up the credit card bills, we who drew down the equity in our homes and we who refused to tax ourselves for the government services we demanded. Wall Street bankers may have been the pushers, but it was we Americans who became addicted to the easy credit." - "Let's Put Down the Pitchforks" by Steven Pearlstein, The Washington Post, 3/20/09
I just hope I can get anything back from my taxes this year ...

Darren's job search continues. It was his last day today. He only stayed for a half day. He and others who were laid off were given a lunch at British Beer Works, and then he played a final "Call of Duty" game with his buddies before leaving. The guy from the cube next to his got kind of choked up and hoped they would hang out later. We may all go bike-riding together sometime!

Neel called Darren today and wanted to hang out sometime this weekend. We haven't seen him since last fall, when he and his now-ex-girlfriend drove up from Worcester to meet us in Natick for some Minado and hanging out at the Natick Collection mall. It'd be cool if we could see my dear old Providence roommate/Darren's former coworker again. If only it weren't too cold yet for kayaking!


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