Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Someone who won't be at the finance world's come-to-Jesus meeting Friday 

Mr. Jake Desantis, erstwhile of AIG Financial Products, goes Galt:

As most of us have done nothing wrong, guilt is not a motivation to surrender our earnings. We have worked 12 long months under these contracts and now deserve to be paid as promised. None of us should be cheated of our payments any more than a plumber should be cheated after he has fixed the pipes but a careless electrician causes a fire that burns down the house.

Many of the employees have, in the past six months, turned down job offers from more stable employers, based on A.I.G.�s assurances that the contracts would be honored. They are now angry about having been misled by A.I.G.�s promises and are not inclined to return the money as a favor to you.

The only real motivation that anyone at A.I.G.-F.P. now has is fear. Mr. Cuomo has threatened to �name and shame,� and his counterpart in Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, has made similar threats � even though attorneys general are supposed to stand for due process, to conduct trials in courts and not the press.

So what am I to do? There�s no easy answer. I know that because of hard work I have benefited more than most during the economic boom and have saved enough that my family is unlikely to suffer devastating losses during the current bust. Some might argue that members of my profession have been overpaid, and I wouldn�t disagree.

That is why I have decided to donate 100 percent of the effective after-tax proceeds of my retention payment directly to organizations that are helping people who are suffering from the global downturn. This is not a tax-deduction gimmick; I simply believe that I at least deserve to dictate how my earnings are spent, and do not want to see them disappear back into the obscurity of A.I.G.�s or the federal government�s budget. Our earnings have caused such a distraction for so many from the more pressing issues our country faces, and I would like to see my share of it benefit those truly in need.
A true Randian would have kept the money and gone to the Gulch. Yet Rand seems to echo Mr. Desantis:
A society that robs an individual of the product of his effort, or enslaves him, or attempts to limit the freedom of his mind, or compels him to act against his own rational judgment-a society that sets up a conflict between its edicts and the requirements of man�s nature�is not, strictly speaking, a society, but a mob held together by institutionalized gang-rule. Such a society destroys all the values of human coexistence, has no possible justification and represents, not a source of benefits, but the deadliest threat to man�s survival.
Perhaps some of the righteous anger will slow the advance of these predations, but it doesn't appear there is any governor on the engine that moves the gangs.

I wish you good luck, Mr. Desantis. You may now fully expect to be hounded by those folks who are about done with Joe Wurzelbacher.

(h/t: Division of Labor)

UPDATE: One of the forecasters who called the housing market correctly finds a gulch in Canada.