I'm sure this has happened to all of us: We've had a conversation and later wanted to add to it...wished there had been more time.
I'm having one of those moments right now about a discussion I was part of during during a Sunday morning appearance on MSNBC.
As we batted back and forth our sound bites about the automakers and their multi-billion dollar begging, we obviously riffed about the company executives and their public relations debacle over corporate jets and their salaries.
That led, of course, to the inescapable conclusion that they were so tone-deaf, it never occurred to them that their concept of "executive privilege" just might be a teensy- weensy bit dissonant.
Why they didn't think of that really speaks to a fundamental problem they have. They don't see the conflict. They are convinced that somehow they have been ordained to be corporate royalty.
They are clearly convinced they're entitled to private planes, limousines and obscene salaries for creating messes and don't have to deal with the day-to-day realities of us low lifes.
Driving their own damned car, flying while crammed into a commercial flight are for the riff raff. Not them.
So is worrying about the loss of a job with no golden parachute, or any parachute for that matter.
Worst of all, they don't have to sweat normal accountability. In their world, failure is richly rewarded. They fall up.
The result is the downfall of our economy. All the agony we're witnessing is largely caused by the self-selected few who are insulated from it.
Worst of all, the rest of us docile riff-raff have simply shrugged our shoulders. Until now. We're gradually realizing that we're being had...that the captains of our economy are sinking it. We go down with it, while they escape in their exclusive lifeboats.
This is more than rant (at least I hope it is). Consider it a plea to shatter this system, to force these guys to glance outside their gilded cocoons and get in touch with normal, everyday reality.
Paying them exorbitant sums and insulating them from the consequences everyone else faces causes them to make the stupid decisions that have brought everyone else to their knees.
As for those who argue that there needs to a reward for excellence, you might want to think about the great job that these kings and queens of finance have done. They have accumulated their grand lifestyles by degrading almost everyone else's
Beyond that, surely there are top-flight people out there who would be satisfied with mere wealth as opposed to obscene wealth. Not only do they recognize the value of staying in touch with normal hopes and fears, they actually enjoy it.
If we have any intention of re-creating a middle class in this country, we are going to have to make sure that those who have sucked up into the stratospheric-class really deserve to be there, and that they are compensated appropriately, not in the ridiculous amounts that are today's perverted norm.
We should return from this aristocracy to a meritocracy. Here's a revolutionary idea: This one should be based on merit. What you know, not who you know. That's supposed to be the American way
Unlike India, this country's tradition doesn't include a caste system. Like India's government, the new administration must pursue sweeping policies aimed at dismantling the one we have.
If the new President Obama would promote such a significant departure, that really would be "Change we can believe In".