Other Voices; Big business paid its debts – it’s OK to back off now | TheUnion.com

Other Voices; Big business paid its debts – it’s OK to back off now

I have a home equity line of credit with Bank of America. Every now and then, I borrow against it and then pay back what I have borrowed with interest. There are no restrictions on what I do with this money. I can finance a trip to Europe or give it away.

In short, it is mine to do with as I please.

This is really not much different than the loans made by the federal government to the various financial institutions. But, you say, this is “taxpayer” money. Yes, it is, and it was lent with very few restrictions and in many cases has been paid back.

Specifically, Goldman-Sachs has paid back every dollar with interest and is now being castigated for bonuses they are paying to their employees by people who have borrowed money on the equity in their homes, taken out mortgages or maxed out on credit cards and walked away from those loans. They have cheated their lenders. Goldman-Sachs didn’t. The only people who may have a legitimate complaint against Goldman-Sachs are the shareholders. It is their money that is being paid out as bonuses, not the taxpayers’.

Another diatribe against Goldman-Sachs is that they received $13 billion from AIG, which was received from the government to help bail them out of their financial problems.

AIG is an insurance company. Goldman-Sachs took out insurance from them on some of their financial plays. The plays failed and Goldman collected on their insurance. Isn’t this what you expect of your vehicle or homeowner insurance? It is why the government gave AIG the money in the first place.

You also hear that these bonuses are obscene, Goldman makes too much money. Yes, they do make a great deal of money. But isn’t that what you are in business to do, maximize profit? There are very few people, if any, who will ever say I am making too much money. The money Goldman makes will be taxed at the corporate level, taxed as wages at the employee level and as dividends at the stockholder level.

Are the bonuses Goldman is paying obscene? I suppose to a great many people they are. I don’t think so. If you work for a company that makes a great deal of money then you should share in that bounty. And bonuses are usually paid out commensurate with your salary. The greater you salary, the greater your bonus.

Historically, this country rewards people for great accomplishments.

Why in a country that extols the virtues of capitalism, which made that country wealthy beyond fantasy, do so many people rant and rave when an Exxon-Mobile or a Goldman-Sachs make a profit? If you are going to rant and rave against Goldman, why not Warren Buffet or Bill Gates? Either one could, literally, buy many countries in the world.

If you want to rant and rave, then do so against the federal government. It is the government that sets the rules and regulations by which businesses operate. None of these companies that received bailout money broke the law. If these companies used those funds in a way that makes you unhappy, then show that the next time you vote.

However, if you are one of the 40 percent eligible to vote in this country and don’t, then take your complaints to the chaplain. I am tired of reading them.

Richard L. Hill lives in Penn Valley.

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