I've been waiting for Redstar to get back from her vacation and weigh in - from her uniquely connected vantage point - on the AIG bonus mess... and naturally, she does not disappoint: reminding us all, yet again, that underneath the "bonus rage" is a kind of judgment about "who is deserving" that needs better scrutiny.
Take it away, Red:
FWIW, I think when AIG accepted government funds in September 2008, the Board and leadership should have halted all bonus payments at that moment for the foreseeable future. But I also believe in progressively higher tax rates so that we can more equitably provide social service programs, housing, education and healthcare for every resident of the U.S. So maybe you personally don't want me making the decisions about pay schemes at your job or house.
And that's the thing - why I rail against all this "personal responsibility" rhetoric. Seriously, in principle, who's against it? Not one of us, from what I can tell. In practice, it can be a different story. But according to whom? Outraged working families? Joe the Plumber? Who's going to police your behavior??
Maybe, just maybe, if we could get down to the business of governing towards a more just society where we all have the basics of healthy food, a good education, an affordable place to live, and the chance to earn a reasonable wage - we'd be far less likely to face runaway corporate bonuses, shocking homelessness, widespread job loss and unbearable anger and fear. In other words, it'd be a lot easier for all of us to fulfill our collective expectations of personal responsibility. Who knows, we might even discover a pleasant sense of collective responsibility! Imagine that!
Owned. And awesome. And thanks for the hat tip. :)