I’m wondering if someone has been editing Santa’s "Naughty and Nice" list behind his back.
From what I’ve been reading in the headlines, it seems that folks who should be on the "naughty" list are going to end up having a profitable Christmas. Among them are executives from a number of the banks which have already received some of the $700 billion bail out.
An article from Yahoo! News had this as its headline: AP study finds $1.6B went to bailed-out bank execs.
The first two paragraphs spelled it out quite nicely,
"Banks that are getting taxpayer bailouts awarded their top executives nearly $1.6 billion in salaries, bonuses, and other benefits last year, an Associated Press analysis reveals.
The rewards came even at banks where poor results last year foretold the economic crisis that sent them to Washington for a government rescue. Some trimmed their executive compensation due to lagging bank performance, but still forked over multimillion-dollar executive pay packages."
What irritates me about it is that many of those banks cut jobs and subsequently placed tens of thousands of hard working folks in the unemployment line. All of those formerly employed people were taxpayers – taxes which, by the way, helped to pay for the bail out.
Doesn’t seem right, does it?
But, that’s not the half of it. Those same banks are doing their best to avoid having the American public know exactly how they’re spending taxpayer dollars.
A news report from Fox News, Where’d the Bailout Money Go? Shhhh, It’s a Secret, said this:
"It’s something any bank would demand to know before handing out a loan: Where’s the money going?
But after receiving billions in aid from U.S. taxpayers, the nation’s largest banks say they either can’t track exactly how they’re spending the money or they simply refuse to discuss it."
As far as I’m concerned, it is extremely irresponsible for our nation’s law makers to have approved the bail out package without having set in place some means of holding those banks accountable for the funds they receive. Yet, that’s exactly what they did.
At the same time, those same law makers have done little or nothing to create a "bail out package" for this nation’s homeless population. Consequently, there will be those who will die on while living on the streets of our nation’s cities.
A recent news article about the death of one homeless gentleman in particular caught my eye. His name: Thomas Lawrence Egan.
Mr. Egan passed away this past Tuesday, December 16, 2008, in Eugene Oregon. His body was discovered "… partially covered in snow." The medical examiner’s office states the cause of death as: "…exposure to the cold"
Quite literally Mr. Egan froze to death.
However, Mr. Egan was more than a homeless person who just happened to die. He was a decorated Veteran who served two years in Korea. He retired, with the rank of Major, from the military in 1991 after having served two decades.
It angers me that our nation’s leaders are sitting on their political butts and, because of their moral ineptitude, have allowed bank executives to use taxpayer funded bail out money to pay for their salaries, bonuses and other benefits. And, all the while, these same politicians seem content to remain seemingly oblivious to the needs of this nation’s homeless veterans.
And before someone e-mails me or leaves a comment trying to convince me that Washington is doing its best to help homeless veterans – let me point this out: the Department of Veterans Affairs has allocated $158 million for fiscal year 2009 for its homeless outreach programs. That’s a paltry sum of only $395 per homeless veteran.
It’s time we wake up. It’s time that we develop a social conscience – one which requires us to re-evaluate our sense of worth as a nation.
Those bank executives who have pretty much driven their companies into financial troubles don’t deserve to be paid – not while so many of their former employees are now without a job. If anything, those executives should have been fired straightaway – without their pricey severance packages.
In contrast, Retired Major Thomas Lawrence Egan deserved so much more than to have died on the streets homeless. He should have been laid to rest with honor.
At this time of year, let us not forget those men and women who have served this nation – but who, for whatever reasons, have found themselves without a home. It is their sacrifices which have given us the freedoms we enjoy.
In Remembrance of…
Major Thomas Lawrence Egan
1948 ~ 2009
Rest In Peace