3/15/2009

AIG Liddy Should Be Sent to GITMO

American International Group, Inc.Image via Wikipedia

You know, terrorists would never be able to cause the collapse of our country. Oh sure, they can kill people and cause all sorts of mayhem, but we get through it.

Meanwhile, our Wall Street Wizards have brought our country to the brink of financial disaster... OK, they've pretty much pushed us over that brink. Still, no only are they walking around free as a bird, they're patting themselves on the back for a job well done and paying themselves millions in bonuses with our money that they were supposed to use to start issuing credit - to us!

Millions in bonuses are going to 400 employees of the same division that wrecked the company and helped wreck the US economy. Yup, 400 employees. We can assume none of them are a secretary who is struggling to make ends meet or the janitor or the mail room guy, who could probably use some extra cash thanks to the screw ups who are their bosses.

Here's the latest from AIG, ring leader of the sack America campaign:

WASHINGTON — The American International Group, which has received more than $170 billion in taxpayer bailout money from the Treasury and Federal Reserve, plans to pay about $165 million in bonuses by Sunday to executives in the same business unit that brought the company to the brink of collapse last year.

Word of the bonuses last week stirred such deep consternation inside the Obama administration that Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner told the firm they were unacceptable and demanded they be renegotiated, a senior administration official said. But the bonuses will go forward because lawyers said the firm was contractually obligated to pay them.

The payments to A.I.G.’s financial products unit are in addition to $121 million in previously scheduled bonuses for the company’s senior executives and 6,400 employees across the sprawling corporation. Mr. Geithner last week pressured A.I.G. to cut the $9.6 million going to the top 50 executives in half and tie the rest to performance.

A.I.G., nearly 80 percent of which is now owned by the government, defended its bonuses, arguing that they were promised last year before the crisis and cannot be legally canceled. In a letter to Mr. Geithner, Edward M. Liddy, the government-appointed chairman of A.I.G., said at least some bonuses were needed to keep the most skilled executives.

“We cannot attract and retain the best and the brightest talent to lead and staff the A.I.G. businesses — which are now being operated principally on behalf of American taxpayers — if employees believe their compensation is subject to continued and arbitrary adjustment by the U.S. Treasury,” he wrote Mr. Geithner on Saturday.

Still, Mr. Liddy seemed stung by his talk with Mr. Geithner, calling their conversation last Wednesday “a difficult one for me” and noting that he receives no bonus himself. “Needless to say, in the current circumstances,” Mr. Liddy wrote, “I do not like these arrangements and find it distasteful and difficult to recommend to you that we must proceed with them.”

An A.I.G. spokeswoman said Saturday that the company had no comment beyond the letter. The bonuses were first reported by The Washington Post.

Of all the financial institutions that have been propped up by taxpayer dollars, none has received more money than A.I.G. and none has infuriated lawmakers more with practices that policy makers have called reckless.

The bonuses will be paid to executives at A.I.G.’s financial products division, the unit that wrote trillions of dollars’ worth of credit-default swaps that protected investors from defaults on bonds backed in many cases by subprime mortgages.

The bonus plan covers 400 employees, and the bonuses range from as little as $1,000 to as much as $6.5 million. Seven executives at the financial products unit were entitled to receive more than $3 million in bonuses.

So, they need to pay all this money to keep the "best and brightest" - the same "best and brightest" who screwed up so royally that we had to bail them out of their quagmire? Would those morons be the "best and brightest" that Mr. Liddy thinks of so fondly?

Here's a novel idea - if you run a company into the ground and wreck a national economy you are not entitled to the title "best and brightest" you are entitled to the title "major moron and screw up" and should find yourself at the back of the unemployment line behind the decent folks who are suffering because of you.

Good Lord, what is wrong with these people?

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