There really are two Americas

While writing about the current economic melt down, I’ve mentioned that the douchebags on Wall Street that ran the economy into the ground operated under different rules than what we regular Americans do. The fact that the bankers want the taxpayer to pay for their toxic assets for a value more than the paper they are written on should be a clue. Columnist David Sirota points out even a more obvious example and one that seems to have removed the rose colored glasses from the masses, who have acted like they’ve never noticed this before. His column talks about the foundation of business – the contract.

Last month, the same government that says it “cannot just abrogate” executives’ bonus contracts used its leverage to cancel unions’ wage contracts. As The Wall Street Journal reported, federal loans to GM and Chrysler were made contingent on those manufacturers shredding their existing labor pacts and “extract(ing) financial concessions from workers.” In other words, our government asks us to believe that it possesses total authority to adjust contracts at car companies it lends to, and yet has zero power to modify contracts at financial firms it owns. This, even though the latter set of covenants might be easily abolished.

A government of men, not laws

That’s right. Contracts to pay bonuses to the douchebags who ran the economy into the ground were off limits while there is nothing wrong in throwing out labor contracts as a condition for automakers to get a loan.

Sirota also mentioned this double standard applied to mortgages:

Congressional Republicans have long supported the laws letting bankruptcy courts annul mortgage contracts for vacation homes. Those statutes help the shower-before-work clique at least retain their beachside villas, no matter how many of their speculative Ponzi schemes go bad. But for those who shower after work, it’s Adams-esque bromides against “absolving borrowers of their personal responsibility,” as the GOP announced it will oppose legislation permitting bankruptcy judges to revise mortgage contracts for primary residences.

It was equally unfunny when some talking head on CNBC recently noted that you couldn’t get anyone to run the financial industry for less than $250,000 a year. He forgot that the ones making that cash didn’t do a good job of it either. That’s why they are trying to snooker us into a bad deal on those toxic assets.