Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Federal Bailout

It is totally irresponsible for Congress to use so much of the taxpayer's money the way they are to bail out financial institutions.

It does not take a rocket scientist to understand that it is foolish to let those who are responsible for the program be solely responsible for attempting to fix the problem. Congress has vividly demonstrated its incompetence in most areas that involve spending and the reason is almost as obvious.

Unlike what our Founding Fathers intended, our Legislature is made up primarily of professional politicians and attorneys. The original intention was that an individual would offer a few years of his life to serve his country, then return to the business he was in prior to running for office. The reason for this was that the majority of these individuals had experience in forming and running businesses in the free enterprise system the Founding Fathers had set up. The country is not unlike a business except on a much larger scale.

Unfortunately our Founding Fathers only had two requirements for running for the Legislature - the candidate must be an American Citizen and must meet an age limit. There was one additional requirement to run for the office of President - to be a native born citizen. I feel there should be a third and fourth requirement - having spent a minimum of 10 years as a responsible officer in a business in the private sector and after serving for a maximum of 12 years, the individual must return to the private sector for a like term before running for office in the Legislative or Executive branches.

While I am not opposed to a highly restrictive bailout of major institutions that have a major effect on a majority of citizens, Congress has put few restrictions on the huge amount of bailout money they have allocated.

  1. The company should be required to file for re-organization. This will eliminate all contracts, such as the so-called golden parachutes, union contacts, etc.
  2. The ones responsible for a successful company are the Board of Directors and the CEO. These individuals should be replaced.
  3. The maximum salary and other compensation and perks for the company’s exeecutives should be limited to 50 times the salary of the company’s lowest paid employee.
  4. All bonuses should be based upon the success the executives are able to achieve – possibly a small percentage of the increased profit and any golden parachute should be limited to 12 month’s salary.
  5. There should be strict oversight on how any taxpayer funds are used. For each of these institutions a committee of 5-10 individuals should be appointed. No more than one attorney and one legislator should be on that committee. The remaining members should be successful entrepreneurs.
  6. Any taxpayer funds given to the company would be a loan that had to be repaid once the company’s profitability turned around. If it is unable to come out of the re-organization, those funds would need to be written off by Congress.

A philosophy similar to the above would at least have a chance for success. If the company is not able to come out of the re-organization, let them fail. If they do fail, they would not go completely out of business because other better managed and more successful companies would acquire their assets that had any value and simply close down the non profitable part of the company.

There would be some loss of jobs, but that would be temporary. It would not take long before new jobs would be created.

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