Wall Street bankers, with their $18 billion in bonuses, private jets and gaudy conferences, are causing headaches for the GOP. President Obama has proposed capping compensation for executives at banks that take taxpayer bailout money at $500,000. Republicans hate the idea. Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ)blamed the "tone deaf" bankers for creating the political environment that allows Obama to call for a cap.Tone deaf bankers? What a surprise indeed, when you consider the windfall of taxpayer money they received, and their unwillingness to change in the face of an economic crisis.
The point is this: Republicans are now coming out against the government telling companies how much they can pay their employees, in this case Wall Street Bankers, if they are on the receiving end of taxpayer bailout money. Hypocrisy, yes. This is in direct contradiction to their call for lower auto workers salaries. Remember this from AP News:
Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said the measure (bridge loan) "isn't nearly tough enough." The Kentucky Republican called for a different bill - one that would force U.S. automakers to slash wages and benefits to bring them in line with Japanese carmakers Nissan, Toyota and Honda - in return for any federal aid.Compare that statement, echoed by every other Republican, to the current show of outrage by those same lawmakers:
Is it possible the media will let this hypocritical flip-flop go unmentioned. So far, yes. Surprisingly, the liberal side of this glaring Republican inconsistency, is clueless when trying to making the auto loan comparison. Instead, they’ve grabbed onto something more abstract and less memorable, like this:
"Because of their excesses, very bad things begin to happen, like the United States government telling a company what it can pay its employees. That's not a good thing in America," Kyl told the Huffington Post. "What executives have done is troubling, but it's equally troubling to have government telling shareholders how much they can pay the executives."
Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL).Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) said "as I was listening to him make those statements I thought, is this still America? Do we really tell people how to run [a business], and who to pay and how much to pay?"
It's not a novel concept, and it's one the GOP supports -- when applied to welfare recipients, at least. "We demand that welfare recipients do an honest day's work for their checks. And now, since President Obama laid down the law Wednesday, we demand that the guys who ran our banking system into the ground abide by our pay scales in return for our bailing them out," writes Harold Meyerson in a column Friday.No wonder we’re losing the media battle.