Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Banality of Outrage

Al Giordano has a powerful article on how media outlets and politicians are telling everyone how outraged the American public is about AIG, but he's not buying it.

Everybody’s "outraged," the media tells us, except that, um… we’re not.

The latest outrage-du-jour, we are told by a very loud chorus of powerful media and politicians, is the revelation that the troubled financial giant AIG - recipient of $170 billion in bailout funds and loans – has devoted 0.1 percent of that amount to $165 million in previously contracted bonuses for its executives.

Yes, it's wrong. And like most of capitalism, it's unfair. But does it surprise, or represent anything different than what has been happening for decades? Ask yourself: "Am I really 'outraged' by this piece of news?"

To note that corporate culture’s longstanding overpayment to executives, and the corresponding disparity with the pay for those who do the heavy lifting in the workplace, has ill-served society (I remember writing a paper on it in high school in the 1970s as it pertained to excessive oil company executive salaries) is not exactly a new or novel concept.

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