Dear Congressman Himes,
Thank you for the time your afforded me February 17th at your Stamford office. I very much appreciate the opportunity to have spoken with you in person. On the basis of recent events and with our February conversation in mind, I thought you might find my opinion of some interest (and at the least amusing).
I shall be following your attempts to question the CEO of AIG. I noticed that you have been somewhat more restrained in your hyperbole (as I read in the Greenwich Time) than some other of your fellow Democrat party members. For example, I am absolutely disgusted and horrified by the comments of Senator Chris Dodd. You already know that I expect Mr Dodd to be held accountable for his shady dealings with Countrywide. But it is particularly abhorrent to see Mr Dodd grandstanding in this most egregious manner when Mr Dodd himself should also be grilled for his part played in the entire OPHEO Fannie Mae/Freddy Mac debacle (where is the outrage about that?). On top of that, I read that Senator Grassley is quoted as saying, and I paraphrase, "AIG exec's should resign or commit suicide". That is one of the most disgraceful and shameful comments that I have heard from a Senator for some time (Mr Murtha comes close but that is old news) and so I ask you Jim. What you will be doing to ask Senator Grassley to recant and apologize for such a despicable comment? Regardless of the hot air coming from and apparently permitted in Washington, such statements are not befitting of an elected representative.
I do particular recall that in my conversation with you, you had attempted to politely deflect one of my questions where you suggested that I was conflating politics and economics. But now I would like to make a specific point regarding the current Washington outrage at AIG's executives being paid bonuses.
Jim, with respect to the idea of mixing politics with economics - can you now see how dangerous it is for the Federal Government to be involved in the administration (indirect or not) of private companies? First of all, the current Administration and Democrat party are making the Federal Government into a political institution and most of what is happening to the companies that have accepted or been essentially forced to take bail out money is not based on free market economic principles but is the result of political grandstanding in front of a fawning mass media. The more the Federal Government pontificates about the just or unjust payment of bonuses, the more the Government is making economic decisions based on political aggrandizement. From the get go, I have been opposed to ALL bail out of private institutions beginning with Bear Stearns. If a bank is too big to fail then it should fail so that it is no longer too big! And the same standard should apply to all private companies in the United States. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be shut down and all private lending should return to the purview or private Banks. Now I understand the reality of the situation that we find ourselves in. The bail outs have been signed and now the Government is making it up as they go. The danger in this is that the more the Federal Government attempts to control the "bonuses" (which are in fact "compensation") the more likely the Government will end up owning AND controlling these private institutions. At which point, they will no longer be able to be considered private. The result is socialism! Hugo Chavez is only five to ten years ahead of the current path of this new Administration.
Perhaps now you can concede that the separation of politics and economics is rapidly deteriorating. It is up to you Jim to ensure that you as a leader of this district pursue the free market principles that this great Nation was founded upon. While I would have been able to agree that politics and economics are separate. The fact is that you belong to the political party that is undermining the very principle (and argument) that you had attempted to make with me.
What will you be doing to rein in the rhetoric, bring order to this process and the limit interference with private institutions?
As you well know, my wife would have something to say along the lines of...
“Don't hold your breath!”
I, as a more recent naturalized Citizen, have more faith in the honor, dignity and leadership of our elected representatives.
I appreciate your time and thank for your reading this letter. I look forward to hearing from you regarding any of the points I have made. I wish you well in the hearings today and trust that you will respect the private institutions that are the true engines of the largest economy in the world.
Michael A Hawkins