There is going to be hell to pay over this story:
Despite being bailed out with more than $170 billion from the Treasury and Federal Reserve, the American International Group plans to pay about $165 million in bonuses by Sunday to 400 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 payment of so much money at a company at the heart of the financial collapse that sent the broader economy into a tailspin almost certainly will fuel a popular backlash against the President Obama and Congress to impose tough rules on corporate executive compensation at firms bailed out with taxpayer money.
A.I.G., nearly 80 percent of which is now owned by the government, defended its bonuses to the financial products unit, 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.
Boo f%#!ing hoo. The "best and the brightest talent" destroyed the company, which has sucked up $170 billion from the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve and may yet need more. And government ownership of 80% of the company apparently doesn't count. And naturally, this story emerges on Saturday when few people are paying attention.
Here, finally, is something liberals, moderates and conservatives can agree upon: not another nickel to A.I.G. unless and until it finds a way to cancel or recoup these "bonuses." Not a nickel!
Are you as pissed as I am? Post a comment.