READER COMMENTS ON
"I Don't Care About AIG's Bonuses"
(22 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 3/18/2009 @ 2:27 pm PT...
I do see and agree with your point. It is a distraction. The GOP, who voted no caps when Bush was in, less than 60 days ago, are howling and making this an issue that is out of proportion. Surprise surprise. However, some mental focus needs to be applied to this segment.
However, more focus needs to be put on unemployment and
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 3/18/2009 @ 2:45 pm PT...
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
said on 3/18/2009 @ 4:05 pm PT...
Brad, don't fall into the trap of only being able to discuss one thing at a time. That is, while it's "1/10 of 1%", it's a lot of taxpayer money going to crooks that caused the mess. It's the dot on the I, it's the crossed T.. it's one of the things that should be in the pile that is the back breaker of the camel at some future straw-dropping point.
And while I agree that it's a distraction, that doesn't make it less valid, or diminish the insult to injury.
As I correlated over at Raw Story, it's like giving the soiled panties of his victim to the pedophile rapist while letting the rapist go out the door unpunished. Sure, we should be pissed that we're not punishing him, but why reward him for his deeds?
$165 million.. with an M .. they stripped a lot of programs from the stimulus package that had dollar amounts a lot smaller than that.. that's a lot of packages for "US" that could have been left in, and a lot of hurting people that could have been helped. Yeah, we're talking huge numbers here, but that doesn't justify pissing away money where it's not appropriate.
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
said on 3/18/2009 @ 4:38 pm PT...
... au contraire this injustice seems to have woke the dead ... And just may be the principal key to open Pandora's box ... nowadays almost everything is a diversion of somethin else.
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 3/18/2009 @ 4:50 pm PT...
Of course $165 million is only a tiny theft, but if it has the effect of causing the whole crime to be investigated...
Think of it as the piece of tape on the door at the Watergate Hotel. It's not much, but if it causes the whole crime to unravel, then who cares.
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 3/18/2009 @ 5:42 pm PT...
Whether it is corporate executives or their gophers or politicians who have been paid to ignore the public interest,criminality and unethical behavior must,once again,be brought into compliance with the rule of law.
In this case as in the myriad of others of which we have become aware in the past number of years,the "children" who are testing the adults to see how far they can go and how much they can get away with must be punished and made an example of unequivocally.
The rule of law must be stringently applied whether it is with billions of dollars or 165 million.
If the punishment is not adequately applied,then the gravity of this general predicament will be far worse the next time we encounter it.
And yes,there will be a next time. The only question is whether it will be sooner or later.
Criminals will always think that they can find success the next time because they are now "smarter" because of what they learned this time.
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
Mark A. Adams JD/MBA
said on 3/18/2009 @ 7:41 pm PT...
Brad, I'm happy to see that you are using this opportunity to point out the numerous other really serious wastes of taxpayer money that dwarf the AIG bonuses. Maybe more journalists and concerned citizens will use the AIG issue to question the other bigger scams.
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
said on 3/19/2009 @ 12:33 am PT...
If any of this gets folks up off their complacent behinds and at least vigilant if not proactive about their government then it's worth something no matter which way you lean. None of the economic crisis started yesterday or with A.I.G. and amazingly enough, the only folks who still think this is political are those in the House and Congress wasting time lobbing blame everywhere else instead of where it belongs and hoping the American People are really as unintelligent as they have been treating us....and maybe we'll get back to watching those old M.A.S.H. re-runs till this all blows over.
I think the new administration (with the old agendas, special interests and petty power struggles) wasn't equipped for that new "transparency" idealism stuff. I think things will become a lot more transparent than even Obama professed he wanted because there will be many more calls for accountability and for our elected officials to do their jobs or resign, just like the failed business executives they are admonishing to fall on their swords now. If they are leading by example, they should be willing to stand up to the same standards. Right?
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
said on 3/19/2009 @ 12:42 am PT...
The Dems have to Start draining the swamp with pelosi, reid, the blue weasels etc...
COMMENT #10 [Permalink]
said on 3/19/2009 @ 5:27 am PT...
AIG is a criminal operation, just ask any of the injured workers in the US how they have been treated and they'll tell you, only most do not know that it's them that is causing all of their headaches.
They are a buffer between you and the Government.
That's why I am worried about nationalizing healthcare, it more than likely would end up the same way as our work comp system is now. The Government (AIG), tells the doctors whether or not to inform the injured party about the extent of their injury.
(It's been 7 years for me and not one quack/butcher will tell me what is wrong with me)
The only thing is that there aren't enough on the job injured people to make any noise, it's just ignored. (or they're hacked to pieces if they let them have their way)
Go ahead and get a lawyer, what side do you think they're going to be on, you, a one time customer?, or the company he has to deal with everyday?
My only advice to you is don't get hurt on the job, AIG will own you.
By the way, I found out what was wrong with me by having a heart attack last year. After they got me all morphined-up, they started taking x-rays of my spine, the nice nurses there (purposely) left my images on the front desk so when I was getting ready to leave, I read the envelope, it said, "(my name), spinal".
The family dog gets better treatment than this.
COMMENT #11 [Permalink]
said on 3/19/2009 @ 6:57 am PT...
COMMENT #12 [Permalink]
said on 3/19/2009 @ 7:42 am PT...
The point of being outraged about these bonuses is because the condition of getting the money should have blocked their payment. That is, if the company wanted to survive, the people who made the mess would have to say, in writing, that they screwed up and will forgo their bonuses for the good of the company.
That brings up the LIE from AIG that they need those "talented people" to stay on staff. Yet, those "talented people" _caused_ this mess by doing shady deals. Yet, AIG liked the money they made (even if it was a lie of gain, as we see now).. and if we "bail them out", then those "talented people" did, in fact, make AIG all that "fake money"... see the circle? So, A) don't bail them out and let them fail, let the courts deal with it and let a Depression hit for 2 or 3 years.. or B) bail them out on the condition that the "crooks" don't benefit directly (consequences and all).. or C) bail them out without any restriction and tell the public "fuck you.. the ultra rich will be ultra rich no matter what, and you'll pay for it in ALL aspects of your life. If you don't like how we do things in America, leave".
The problem is we let non-banks do banking actions. That needs to stop. None of this was "illegal" (so it seems), it was just done in avoidance of the law (allowed by deregulation over the past 10 years). These "slime" getting "bonuses for screwing up" should simply be the impetus for fixing our laws regarding financing. It should also be the straw that breaks the Fed. Reserve back, and brings money creation and management BACK under Congressional control.
Floridiot, I feel for you and your misery. My mother and brother are having the same kinds of issues, and I don't bother going to the doctor anymore because they seem useless. Interestingly, my mother goes to the VA and my brother and I tend to use private doctors. My mother used private doctors as well, same results. This isn't a "nationalized medicine" issue, it's a shitty performing system because insurance companies are involved issue. If you want to understand single payer health care better, look at Canada, Germany, Switzerland, New Zealand, etc. etc. The "medical industry" actually functions there, and they do well probably because they can do their jobs and bill the government and get paid.. not fight with insurance companies all the time.
As an example, my daughter had a lamp fall on her foot..got some glass stuck in it. We didn't know there were little fragments in there, and after a year of it bothering her, she went to a "doctor". Her doctor took ONE x-ray, straight down.. said the lump must just be left over scar tissue, and if they wanted to do anything else, the insurance company would require physical therapy _first_. 2 months of someone rubbing her foot (and associated costs) and another SINGLE top-down x-ray and that doctor said "I don't know if we can get permission for exploratory surgery to see what might be wrong.. I'll ask the insurance company". ..... she went to a different doctor the next week. They took .... 3 x-rays (pretty cheap, all things considered). the top-down showed nothing, but the other two showed 5 pieces of glass still in her foot (yes, her first doctor had someone rub that glass round in there 3 times a week for 8 weeks because that paid). Knowing they needed to extract the glass, he was able to tell the insurance company what he was going to do; her foot is doing MUCH better now.
It has nothing to do with "government intervention" and everything to do with doctors being able/willing to do their jobs _properly_. Insurance companies put in obstacles because they want to save money; if we start election representatives that actually care about "us", we'd let the professionals do their jobs and everyone would benefit.
Go watch Sicko by Michael Moore.
But to be honest, I don't think America can be saved any more. There are just _way_ too many people that just don't pay attention, don't want to, and would be totally confused if they tried. Life isn't 30 second sound bites, but that's what Americans respond best to. These crooks on Wall Street get away with what they do because the public is essentially disinterested and ignorant.
(sorry about the long rant, Brad et. al.)
COMMENT #13 [Permalink]
said on 3/19/2009 @ 11:07 am PT...
Prince Caspian isn't a very useful comparison. That's the total production cost, which went to hundreds of people and services, and unlike AIG, the Caspian crew actually made something of some value (although I don't think the film was that good). More importantly, the cast and crew of Prince Caspian - and the company that made it - didn't play a key role in a global economic meltdown. Nor are they still causing problems, whining about mistreatment, issuing threats to Treasury and Congress despite being 80% owned by the public, and covering up a host of other despicable behavior. As Robert Scheer and others have pointed out, the bonuses are only an indicator of much deeper problems, with oversight of funds, little to no transparency, funneling money to Goldman Sachs and other companies, and an approach avoiding nationalization, receivership, etc. that amounts to private profit and public risk.
As for pallets of money to Iraq – of course it's disgusting, but liberal bloggers,.some Democrats and several veteran and government watchdog groups have been sounding off it for some time. Absolutely Congress as a whole is selective in their outrage, and the press is even worse. Add to their selective concern their skewed morality, that it's horrible when Robert Gibbs responds to Dick Cheney, but Dick Cheney's comments about Obama weren't horrible, and he shouldn't be pressed on any of his highly questionable statements, and certainly not the Red Cross report on torture that indicates he's probably guilty of war crimes. I take your point about AIG, but I think the trick is to move from the issue of the bonuses into a deeper critique (as some people have tried to do, including with the Firedoglake petition) rather than allowing it to be a distraction.
COMMENT #14 [Permalink]
said on 3/19/2009 @ 12:30 pm PT...
Cynthia McKinney questioned Rummie about the 3 trillion unaccounted for by the military right before 9/11. Then after, Congress never took up the mantle and the press buried it. Check out Eliot Spitzers article on Slate and then the article written for the WP in 2008 just before he was pursued by a Rovian attack to get him out of office before he could do anything about bailouts.
He knew Bush and cronies were denying consumer protection............
and new article here
COMMENT #15 [Permalink]
said on 3/19/2009 @ 11:28 pm PT...
The straw that broke the camel's back.
COMMENT #16 [Permalink]
said on 3/20/2009 @ 7:36 am PT...
I can tell you why the outrage over AIG bonus vs. the other egregious items brought up. There is no obvious one to one connection about a person getting laid off or foreclosed or seeing their retirement disappear to the money going to Iraq. There is a one to one connection that these people caused my personal misery and are getting rewarded.
I have also heard that the head of AIG is new and that previously he was at Allstate and was instrumental in denying claims to Katrina victims. I have not research this so I can't give references. This is the man who moans about the sanctity of contracts and then breaks as many as he can. The hypocrisy is what makes everyone so upset.
COMMENT #17 [Permalink]
said on 3/20/2009 @ 8:17 am PT...
No doubt it is a distraction, and clearly meant to be one. Still, the payments deserve some scrutiny, if only to determine that they are indeed bonuses and not hush money. From my vantage point, they look a heck of a lot more like bribes than they do bonuses.
COMMENT #18 [Permalink]
said on 3/20/2009 @ 9:32 am PT...
What about prosecutions for the naked short selling and false rumor mongering that brought down Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers? Somebody pocketed billions in illegal profits, cost the government billions in bailout money, and brought on a financial crisis.
The names of the likely culprits are here:
COMMENT #19 [Permalink]
said on 3/20/2009 @ 12:53 pm PT...
You Can Have
WatergateAIG Just Gimme Some Bucks And l'll Be Straight (6:22)
COMMENT #20 [Permalink]
said on 3/21/2009 @ 10:51 am PT...
this column by Charles M. Blow
for a good explanation of why the AIG bonuses are serving as such a focus of attention.
I still think that the AIG executives (whose exquisitely specialized knowledge is apparently so central to unwinding these trades and saving the world) should be drafted immediately, so we can be sure they use their knowledge in defense of the nation. Then they should be transported to safe locations --- Guantanamo --- where enemy agents won't be able to kill them.
COMMENT #21 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2009 @ 11:06 am PT...
AIG is just a symptom of a much wider disconnect from the real world suffered by corporate execs. Things such as ethics, fairness, or even common sense aren't part of their world.
In a few months the general public will have moved on with their 'rage'. This public, which as a group has the attention span of an ADD goldfish, will simply be led on to the next 'outrage' by news organizations who sole purpose is to encourage lack of corporate oversight.
COMMENT #22 [Permalink]
said on 3/24/2009 @ 4:01 pm PT...
Personally the closed-loop good-ol-boy system of 300 board of director members running the vast majority of the corporations of this country is what is ultimately to blame. The ridiculous bonuses for top management are just the tip of the iceberg.
However, consider an alternative viewpoint.
Here is what Edward Liddy (the current CEO of AIG) said about the bonuses. (He has agreed to head AIG for $1 per year - although I'm not sure what kind of bonuses that entails for him).
Business Week Link to full interview
He adds that the staffers who have collected the bonuses—more properly called retention payments—are needed, too, to wind down some $1.6 trillion worth of complex derivatives contracts so the company can exit that business without facing multimillion-dollar losses.
This, too, reflects the gap between Wall Street and Main Street, he suggests. On Wall Street, multimillion-dollar bonuses are the way people get paid, as they handle business that can cost a company far more if a trade is mismanaged. The people handling the derivatives contracts—whom he pointedly says are not the ones who got the company in trouble over them last fall, since those folks have been canned—have so far managed that business down from $2.7 trillion at the end of December.
"Those people don't want to work for free," he says. They must be paid well, he says, to stay on—especially since they are managing themselves out of work, in effect. The amount of money AIG can lose if they walk or people unfamiliar with the business take over is just too great, he argues. "You can lose 10 times the $165 million in a day on a bad trade, and that's just not a good risk in our judgment," he says.