For the last week, my friend, anamericanidiot, has been blogging (like millions of our closest blogging friends) about the bonuses paid out to AIG executives. I have responded to Idiot’s blogs, but haven’t addressed this subject in the context of my own blog. For that reason (and because the inclusion of the letters AIG in my title and tag will no doubt increase my hit rate!!!), I have decided it’s time to address this subject.
Just a little backstory here: Last year, the federal government bailed out AIG, one of the nation’s largest insurers, to the tune of $175 billion. Since then, we have learned of extravagant vacations for corporate execs and last week, millions of dollars paid out to execs in the form of bonuses. People are outraged that their tax dollars are going to corporate execs in giant paychecks. For me, the outrage is misplaced. This is exactly why we as a nation should not be in the business of bailing out companies. It opens a Pandora’s Box of other problems, just like this one. Not to mention the fact that we are talking about $165 million in bonuses, less than one tenth of one percent of the bailout money. In case you weren’t aware of this, Congress wipes their nose with $165 million dollars of our money every day!! If you really want to be outraged start there!
The administration is fueling this outrage. President Obama asked, “how do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?” Well, the dirty little secret is that his own government MANDATED that the bonuses be paid out. Remember that giant “stimulus” bill that no one had a chance to read and every Democrat fell over themselves to sign? Well, there was a stipulation in there that REQUIRED AIG to honor these bonuses, since they were agreed on prior to the bailout. In fact, Tim Geithner, the Treasury Secretary, said he insisted that it be included because he was afraid it would be challenged in court and it could jeopardize the entire legislation.
So why would the President, who knew these bonuses were going to be paid out, act like he’s surprised and outraged by it? Luckily you have me to tell you! This is part of his war on business. He wants you mad as hell at these lying, cheating, incompetent jerks who are partying on your money! If you’re mad, then you will let him do whatever he wants if he does it in the name of getting even with these offensive individuals. OR!! He could just let the company go under. That’s what usually happens to lying, cheating, imcompetent jerks. Their companies go under. It’s unfortunate for the people who benefit from their service and horrible for those who are employed by them or have their savings invested with them. But we would be better served if we let the company fail, guarantee the insurance policies for a year, extend unemployment benefits for the displaced workers and wait for the market to pick up the slack. I promise it will cost less than $175 billion!
In the meantime, if you really feel the need to be outraged, look at your paycheck. Count up how much money is being taken from your paycheck every year. Compare that to your local congressman (yes, Republicans and Democrats). Find out how they are spending YOUR money and use your outrage to hold their feet to the fire.