Punching Stupid and Evil in the Face Since 1986!

"We are on strike, we the men of the mind. We are on strike against self-immolation. We are on strike against the creed of unearned rewards and unrewarded duties."-John Galt

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Stop Reaching Back to the Future

As I sit and watch more fancy dancing by the current Administration, it occurs to me that all this reaching "back to the future" by Obama and his crew has got to stop. It is not now, nor has it ever been a proper and democratic policy to persecute (or nullify) something today, that was ok yesterday, which you are no longer doing. WTF? How is this reasonable or frankly, even legal? This Administration started out being all about going "back to the future" for all sorts of reasons. It seems, now that they have discovered such a thing, they just can't stop.

First, it was back to the future for blame on the current economic crisis. Then, it was back to the future on the current spending bill, budget and bailouts. The whole, "I inherited a debt, so I have to quadruple it." just doesn't hold water. You wanted it, you ran for it, it's yours-you own it.

Then, we had the attempted changing of contracts, previously drawn up, legal and known. Everyone got all up in arms over the AIG bonuses, which are legally enforceable contracts. The administration thought they might just step in and change the contract. Geithner thinks we should give him the ability to go back to the future forever, at any bank, for any worker, for any reason and make changes to the pay structures and contracts-whether they take TARP funds or not. Um, no.

What about Rick Wagoner? This Administration went back to the future to change the terms of GM's contracted employment by strongly suggesting that the head of GM step down. Just say what it is-the Obama administration fired that guy, no matter that he had a contract. They went back to the future and got rid of the guy who was originally in charge when the money was first given. When Administration decided they wanted more control they went in and put new terms on an old deal.

"Jeremy Anwyl, chief executive of the automotive Web site Edmunds.com, called the move "political theater" to appease an increasingly bailout-weary public."

Oh, that's no kidding.

Now today, I see the most egregious example of reaching back into the future possibly prosecuting the lawyers who drew up the legal memos approving harsh interrogation tactics. The tactics that have been proven to have stopped additional attacks and prevented death. Really, that is not even the point-the point is these memos were determined legal at the time. You cannot go back and now prosecute someone for something that was not illegal when they did it. The cops can't come and give me a ticket now for not wearing a seatbelt when I was 10-it was not the law then.

Not only is this practice completely wrong thinking and immoral, it's dangerous. We cannot live in a world where any legal and binding thing can be undone by the government, at any time, for any reason and at any whim. If corporate executives must consider they could lose future (and possibly past) compensation with no apparent rhyme or reason, they will simply stop taking those jobs. If corporations worry that any deal can be remade without their consent, they will stop making deals. If folks designated with keeping America safe worry that at any time they could be held to account for something that at one time was not illegal, but is now, we will no longer be safe. If this Administration is allowed to continue reaching back to the future unchecked, shaping past policy to fit today's agenda, we should all worry. In that world, no one is safe when the Administration decides they don't like your setup either.