The Goose and the Gander

July/16/2009 16:16PM
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When I was a kid my mother used to educate me with pithy sayings. One of her favorites was “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander”. This usually came up when I was, like all kids, trying to negotiate some concession, like not doing a chore. Like most kids, it’s the old unfairness thing we learn very early. Answer, so and so did it yesterday and it’s your turn. Then the goose/gander deal.

Right now we are seeing the big debate on health care. But, none of the people who are debating this change will be affected by the outcome of the debate. Their world-class health care program will remain as it is. So, why not put their ox in the gore fest? If we all have to make concessions to provide health care for the people who don’t have health care, why not government employees. After all, ” what’s good for the goose is good for the gander”. We the people say, mess with health care all you want, but whatever result you come up with applies to you now and forever. No exceptions. It would bring the entire health care bill efforts, now in both houses of congress, to a screeching halt. If the very people who want to put us in positions where we will have rationing, poorer health care research, more unnecessary deaths, and less choice, knew it would apply to them and their families, they would slow this down and give it far more thought. But, they know they won’t be affected, so why worry?

Let’s look at another goose/gander example. The social security administration, going broke fast, just had a big boondoggle at the posh Biltmore Resort in Phoenix, Arizona. The gala cost we taxpayers a minimum of $600,000 plus transportation. Remember when AIG did this? It was big news on all TV news and print media for days. Remember when Northern Trust, a bank that did not want or need TARP money, and has paid it back, sponsored the LA Open Golf Tournament? John Kerry tried to pass a bill to prevent any organization that has taken “taxpayer’s money” from entertaining any clients, period? Yet, the Social Security Administration can have a three day outing at a lavish resort, and not a word. Isn’t this a goose/gander issue? Even, my mother, still an Obama fan, would agree. She knows this rule well.

Who decided that Lehman Bros. goes down and GM, Citigroup, and Bank America get a lifeline? Now, CIT is getting the cold shoulder. If CIT goes down hundreds of businesses large and small go down and take thousands if not millions of employees with them. As the biggest lender to small business and factor lender to retailers, they are the financial lifeline to these companies. Mom, a very fair judge, would say, it’s a goose/gander deal.

Let’s examine each of these to see how they can happen. In health care, it’s mess with the other guy’s health care to give health care to uninsured, but don’t mess with mine. It’s an indication of how we let the people in elected offices put themselves on a pedestal and not hold them accountable for looking after us rather than themselves. They are trying to buy votes and they think they own ours. If you like your health care now, you had better drop a little note to your elected officials and tell them if they vote to change yours it will be the last vote they ever get from you.

In the second example, GM got, and will continue to get votes ,to protect the UAW. Citi Group and Bank of America have always been big contributors to politicians and Lehman was, as in war, collateral damage. Sorry. Your gander got goosed.

In the last, it will be swept under the rug because it was under the Obama administration. If Bush were still president, the social security bash would be headline news.

One more, the government wants to pass a bill called say-on-pay. It would mandate that shareholders determine the pay of top executives of publically held corporations. Apply, goose and gander, and we taxpayers would vote on the pay of our elected officials. This one I really like. This would be more significant than a mere vote. Each year, we could approve or disapprove a pay range for the pols based on how we saw their performance for the prior year. Take a long hard gander at this idea.

Another thing Mom said, “life isn’t always fair”. You will know that soon, when your ability to keep you and your family healthy gets scrapped. Lehman, AIG, and Northern Trust know it because they had meetings and customer appreciation outings and paid dearly while a government agency skates. Hillary Clinton, of all people, is finding out it’s true as her responsibility and authority are being stripped away daily by the current administration. The price you pay for running against the Great One in the primaries.

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