Somebody call the Sheriff

Grandpa Harve and his sons

I come from a long-line of good people who made poor choices. Choices that all too often put them on the wrong-side of the law and the other side of the iron bars.

I don’t know what the genome is for stealing but whatever it is it seemed to run in my family.

One of my uncles spent 11 years in Atlanta’s Federal prison for robbing a bank. Another uncle was never caught after he pulled a gun on grocery store clerk in rural Tennessee and robbed him. Family legend has it that he sent a postcard from Oregon to that Hawkins County Sheriff . It read: “Catch me if you can.”

I was very young when my Granny Leona explained the complexities of stealing to me. The night before I had left some change from my pocket on the washing machine lid. The next morning the money was gone.

“Your cousin has a problem,” Granny said. “He likes to steal stuff. Some people are like that.”

“But that’s wrong,” I cried.

“Yes,” Granny said, “it is. But if you leave your money out in a way that tempts others to steal it then you’re just as guilty as they are.”

Even then, as a child, I understood that my kin weren’t stealing things because they were greedy as much as it was because they were poor. A steady job was something of a luxury. Every man in the family did time in the military in pursuit of a steady check. Any man who brought home a weekly pay-check was regarded as “well-off.”

Nobody said ugly things about those that had to steal to get by. They were just considered to have “fallen on hard times.”

It’s the people who’ve fallen on hard times that I thought of as I read the troubling findings by the Obama administration’s bean counter, Kenneth R. Feinberg. It seems that “Change” Obama promised has turned out differently than those of us who voted for it had hoped.

Apparently what Obama meant is that if elected, he’d be sure to leave out a sizable chunk of “change” on the table with the polished veneer, there for the taking by the right group of bail-out recipients. Bankers and investors and such.

According to Feinberg’s report, after bilking billions of dollars from wage-earners, executives at a reported 17 financial companies received questionable payouts totaling $1.58 billion.

Feinberg stops short of calling them yellow-bellied-egg-sucking thieves, so please, grant me that honor. Instead Feinberg refers to them by their proper Christian names: Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, American International Group (Better known among taxpayers as Arrogance, Incompetence and Greed), among others. And the most egregious egg-sucker of all – Citigroup.

Obama’s Administration has repeatedly insisted that one of its core values is accountability, but it seems they spend more time preaching it than they do practicing it. Feinberg can scold the boys in the big pants all he wants but he has no legal recourse to make them pay back what they wrongfully took.

Oh. Sure. Somebody from the Obama Administration will jaw on their corporate butts for a bit and those wicked weasels will yes-sir them to death and promise to do better the next time. But everybody knows they are lying through their golden-eye teeth.

You can bet your last Yankee dime that Obama’s administration was aware of Feinberg’s damning report on the hastily designed bailout when they put the screws to Congress to extend unemployment benefits. Shamefully, the $34 billion in aid aimed at helping 2.8 million unemployed workers is significantly less than the $100 million of taxpayers’ dollars that Citigroup paid out in bonus to one employee.

I’d send the Sheriff and his posse out to string up this bunch, but the county has been hit hard and they had lay off everybody but the Sheriff.

Let’s face it. The only real change people who’ve fallen on hard times are likely to see out of this Administration will be the left-over pennies tossed on the washing machine lid.

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