They've been around since I was a kid. Reading Is Fundamental, or RIF, is a non-profit that advocates for children's literacy. Their very name makes a valid point. Too bad that Congress and President Obama don't seem to understand it.
I'm sure you've heard the caterwauling and high dudgeon surrounding the bonuses that various AIG hands are getting, even though their company is currently burning through federal bailout money at an amazing and alarming rate. Mr. Obama and the highly compromised Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Countrywide, Goldman Sachs, etc.) have been especially vocal in expressing disgust about this money going out.
Well, thought you ought to know that both Obama and Dodd specifically approved this expenditure in the stimulus bill. As the invaluable Jim Geraghty points out (H/T to the always-alert Instapundit):
Who in their right mind would codify in law that bonus payments to executives at bailed-out companies could not be prohibited?
Well, Chris Dodd.
From page H1412 of the Final Stimulus Bill, “SEC. 111. EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE:
'(iii) The prohibition required under clause (i) shall not be construed to prohibit any bonus payment required to be paid pursuant to a written employment contract executed on or before February 11, 2009, as such valid employment contracts are determined by the Secretary or the designee of the Secretary.”
So this is what happens when you draft a law and don't read it, and then sign it into law without reading it. The law explicitly allows through the bonuses that the AIG honchos received. As Paul Begala once said in a different context: "stroke of the pen, law of the land."
There's so much kabuki theater going on these days in Washington it's hard to sort out. The Obama administration seems to have channeled Joe Louis by developing a Bum of the Month Club -- first it was Rush Limbaugh, now it's the AIG execs. I'm sure they will have another scapegoat queued up for April. Maybe it will be you.