AIG’S Bogus Bonuses

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I'd like to take this time to extend my deepest gratitude to ordinary pundits all over the political spectrum for their predictable reporting on the current global economic crisis. Every time a critical story unfolds, their "in depth commentary" always serves as a rough draft for mine. Take this entry for example. There I was in bed at eleven o'clock pm but unable to sleep. After reading ten of those "in depth commentaries" regarding the AIG "retention" bonus ignominy I found myself more puzzled than informed. Thankfully, the humdrum work of those left, right, and centrist square penned journalists served as the impetus for the very piece you are reading right now.

Anyway, since I couldn't sleep I decided to take notes from the talking heads, spin-misters, and corporate journalists. If you're attentive you'll notice that all of these quadrangles are telling us the same thing.

  • Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson should not have initiated the bailout in the first place (ah—duh!)
  • Current Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is mismanaging the recovery plan and, as an ex-republican, is sympathetic to the banks as opposed to the people
    • leftist speechifying
  • Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is incompetent
    • I found this to be the consensus across the partisan board
  • Senator Charles Grassley said that AIG's officers should "commit suicide"
    • No comment

My opinion on the above is quite frankly who cares. The bottom line is the following:

  • We're in a global recession (Problem)
  • We need a multifaceted global solution (Reality)
  • A host of perpetrators must be identified and imprisoned (Accountability and enforcement)
    • Who knows, that may be enough people with enough money to pay our way out of this hole (Optimism)
  • Obligatory regulations need to be enacted and enforced to ensure this amount of fiscal tomfoolery doesn't happen again (Accountability via monetary policy)

When choosing your fights, you must choose wisely. Even if government prevailed in court we the people would lose because the court fees would exceed the cost of AIG bonuses. Instead of spending the next ten years in court over a measly $165, $170, $250 million (in the context of hundreds of billions, 100+ million is 'measly'), or whatever the actual figure is; congress should attempt to place stern stipulations on AIG's next $45 billion in recovery money and tax the stuffing out of bailed out bank bonuses. Citigroup and Morgan Stanley are attempting to redirect their bonus money into increased salaries for their top employees in hopes of thwarting public and congressional scrutiny. So you best believe AIG's bonus buffoonery will not be an isolated incident.


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