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Read the Bills, Jive Turkeys
Fault for AIG lies squarely with Congress... and us
by Jim Babka, Downsize DC

Reposted by the Coffee Coaster with DDC permission

Text of letter to Downsize DC subscribers 03/24/09:

"There are a thousand striking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root." — Henry David Thoreau

Subject: Everyone is wrong about the AIG bonuses

Democratic Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut inserted language into the scam-stimulus bill permitting the AIG bonuses that everyone is now bloviating about. He did so at the request of the Treasury Department. A Congressional majority then voted for the Dodd proposal, and President Obama signed it into law.

Those upset about the AIG bonuses should focus on the fact that Congress authorized them. All the Congressional grandstanding about how bad the bonuses are is rank hypocrisy. One of two things is true:

  • Either those who voted for the scam-stimulus bill knew about the bonus provision, in which case they ought to be "falling on their own swords," instead of castigating the government-appointed CEO of AIG,  or…
  • They didn't know about the bonus provision, in which case they ought to introduce's "Read the Bills Act," so they'll know what they're passing before they cast their votes.

But the politicians aren't the only guilty parties in this stupid controversy. The American people are also at fault. Here's why...

We're constantly told that Congress doesn't respond to public pressure and that, therefore, what is trying to do won't work. And yet we see Congress respond to public pressure repeatedly. The only problem is that it's always pressure about the wrong things!

The way to prevent problems like the bonus-authorization provision is to pass the "Read the Bills Act" (RTBA). RTBA is the RIGHT THING about which to pressure Congress! Had RTBA been in effect, then a quorum of both the House and Senate would have heard the bonus-authorization provision read, and that reading would have been broadcast on C-SPAN.


If the American people want to rage about something meaningful then they ought to rage about the fact that Congress doesn't read the laws it passes. If the same pressure that's been applied on this trivial bonus issue had been applied on behalf of RTBA then we might already be close to passing RTBA.

I'm going to be blunt, because blunt talk is easily understood. The American people need to stop being immature twits. We need to stop getting worked up about symbolic trivia and start getting worked up about REAL ISSUES. Making Congress read the laws they pass is a REAL ISSUE.

If you don't like the AIG bonuses Congress authorized then please use our quick and easy Educate the Powerful System to tell Congress to pass the "Read the Bills Act." You can use your personal comments to point out that RTBA would have exposed the Dodd-Obama bonus authorization to public scrutiny BEFORE it was passed into law.

In addition, if you know someone who's been emoting about the AIG bonuses then you might want to forward them this message and politely suggest that they do something MEANINGFUL, like using our system to ask Congress to pass the "Read the Bills Act."

Am I being too blunt? I don't think so.

Jim Babka
President, Inc.

D o w n s i z e r - D i s p a t c h is the official email list of, Inc.   &  Downsize DC Foundation  

CONTRIBUTE to the Electronic Lobbyist project at is sponsored by, Inc. -- a non-profit educational organization promoting the ideas of individual liberty, personal responsibility, free markets, and small government.

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