As Royce noted, “Some Democrats were aware of the bonuses, and went out of their way to protect those bonuses.” President Obama was one of them, but you would not know it from his dramatic performance on Monday, when he addressed the issue of AIG bonuses. “I mean, how do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?” Obama asked. “This is not just a matter of dollars and cents. It’s about our fundamental values . . . excuse me, I’m choked up with anger here.”
Yet it was Obama who signed the very bill that made the rules for bonuses under TARP, and that bill clearly allowed these bonuses. Obama stumped for it all over the country — but did he actually read it?
What’s going on here?
In Congress, true outrages are not intended to be remedied in realistic ways. Rather, they represent opportunities for politicians — in this case Democrats — to pretend outrage at their own legislation, and then to score points with populist rhetoric.