Tuesday, March 17, 2009


UPDATE: 52 AIG EMPLOYEES WHO RECEIVED BONUSES NO LONGER WORK FOR THE COMPANY. Senator Chris Dodd takes responsibility for the loophole that allowed the bonuses to be paid. Bailed out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are both planning to pay out huge retention bonuses
UPDATE: THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION NOW CLAIMS IT ONLY FOUND OUT ABOUT AIG'S PLANNED $1.65 MILLION IN BONUS PAYMENTS THIS MONTH. This, of course, begs the question: How recklessly is the bailout money being distributed? And how many other bailout recipients have not been properly investigaged and researched before receiving the funds?

Was it just me or did you think you heard a chorus of angels when they found O.J. Simpson guilty of 12 charges, including armed robbery and kidnapping last October? Finally. Some kind of karmic justice for the slimeball who clearly murdered Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman in 1994. You will recall this was the case where O.J. and his posse stormed their way into a hotel room to confront some guys who slimeball believed had stolen some of his valuable memorabilia. Intimidation, guns, yelling ensued. The usual O.J. stuff. Now comes news that two of O.J.’s friends, Tom Scotto (often called his best friend), and Barrett Prody, brother of O.J.’s ex-girlfriend, have formed a corporation to accept donations on slimeball’s behalf. It seems Scotto and Prody believe O.J. got a bum rap, so they formed Society Against Legal Injustice. Get this: Once you get to the web site you get to read about how O.J. is the victim in this case, and how his appeal may take a year or longer and cost up to $1 million. Pass the Puffs.

Now, about this whole AIG bonus mess: I couldn’t help wondering why it suddenly came into the public consciousness that AIG was giving out bonuses. When the government agreed to give AIG that big ole bailout, did they not know about the contractual agreements for retention payments to these 100 employees? Did they not know that the payments would amount to something in the neighborhood of $165 million? The facts: The government bails AIG out to the tune of $170 billion; AIG turns around and pays up to $90 billion directly to US and European banks to finance transactions already in progress. Although $165 million may not sound like much in the shadow of $170 billion, it turns out that some of the bonuses were paid to individuals whose division caused AIG to need government bailout money in the first place.

Back to the original question: Yes, reportedly the government did know about the planned bonuses -- a year ago. It appears that the administration did not plan to make this knowledge public, but it came out anyway, of course, and suddenly Obama started yelling “foul.” And it turns out AIG has the U.S. government by the proverbial balls, because if AIG is allowed to go under, all economic hell will break loose. AIG insures everything from movie companies to health insurance underwriters to auto insurance companies to…well, everything that matters. Still, legislators are calling for true, immediate action that would prevent AIG from paying these bonuses. AIG says it would cost them more to break the bonus contracts than to pay the $165 million. AIG further states that it could lose some valuable employees if they don’t pay the bonuses.

And I say, WAKE UP. It’s 2009. Our unemployment rate is higher than it’s been since the 1940s. Something tells me those valuable employees can be readily replaced. Let’s let the greedy ones walk, and let’s reduce the bailout of AIG by exactly $165 million. And then let’s put in place a corporate oversight committee to monitor how AIG spends its remaining free billions. And who should sit at that particular table? CEOs of American-owned companies that are in the black and not in need of bailout funding. Evidently they are individuals who know how to run a business. Or, if you prefer, some nuns. There, see? Done. Jeez.

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