March 17th, 2009
01:07 PM ET

AIG needs to be taught who's boss

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/03/15/AIG.banks.list/art.aig.door.gi.jpg]

David Gewirtz | BIO
Editor-in-Chief, ZATZ Publishing

It's time for the White House to "man up" and put AIG out of our misery. Over the past six months, the U.S. government has given or loaned AIG more than $173 billion taxpayer dollars as compensation for an incredible inability to run a company properly.

And now, due to "contractual obligations", AIG wants to give its oh-so-talented management staff more than $165 million in bonuses. This is after taking billions from the U.S. government and spending it on lavish retreats at California spas and English hunting lodges. Oh, and they also gave more than $30 billion (yes, with a "b") of our money to foreign banks.

In the words of Nancy Reagan, it's time to "Just say no".

AIG is the nation's largest insurance company. Fundamentally, the business model for an insurance company is to bet against its customers. For AIG to win, many of its customers have to lose.

However, our problem with AIG is not the insurance business model. We rely on insurance companies to spread - not the wealth - but the risk, among us all.

For example, we all know the insurance-based healthcare system in this country is pretty sick. Think about it - for the insurance model to work, a healthy policy owner is paying money and receiving nothing in return, except for the feeling that he or she is protected. A sick policy holder is costing the insurance company money, so it's in the company's natural best interest to avoid paying for as long as possible, and pay as little as possible.

This is a tough game even for well-run insurance companies, especially as the actual costs of health care go up along with life expectancies.

Of course, AIG insures a lot more than just health. They sell all kinds of insurance and have holdings in virtually every business sector. They got in trouble with mortgages, like so many others in the finance sector.

The problem is that AIG has not distinguished itself as a company trying to turn itself around. It's given off no signals of humility or even an indication of a desire to learn from its mistakes.

Instead, it's showing the most venal side of corporate greed. Management is doing nothing to allay the impression that we're giving billions to a company whose sole trade skill is withholding payment. Not exactly a great investment for Uncle Sam.

The management team at AIG is riding this windfall for all it's worth, and it's worth plenty. They claim that they've got performance contracts that require these managers to be paid millions. Their secondary, laughable claim is that in order to keep such "stellar" talent, they need to pay such exorbitant sums.

I believe extraordinary talent should be paid extraordinarily well. The flip side is that screw-ups should not be rewarded. Rewarding failure isn't a good business practice. And when you work for a company that's so badly run as to require billions of dollars from American taxpayers just to stay in business, you have not earned your performance bonus.

News reports indicate that the White House is trying to find a legal means to prevent AIG from paying out the bonuses. How about the threat of incarceration?

This ain't my first dance and I've been around the block a whole bunch of times. For a company to be able to lose so much money with such abandon, there must be some freaky skeletons in its closet.

I suspect if the President were to deploy a team of forensic FBI accountants and another team of IRS investigators to AIG, the management team there would suddenly decide that 2009 isn't really the year to take these obscene bonuses.

Treason, like obscenity, takes many forms. You know it when you see it. What AIG is doing is un-American and comes dangerously close to treason. Although the company originally started in China, the initials AIG stand for American International Group. It's time for AIG stop the obscenity, put America first, and live up to values the word "American" stands for.

In return for our billions, we the people now own 79.9 percent of AIG. That makes the President of the United States, acting on behalf of the American people, the top shareholder at AIG. In any company, the majority shareholder is the boss. It's time for the management team at AIG to be taught who's boss.

Editor’s note: David Gewirtz is Editor-in-Chief, ZATZ Magazines, including OutlookPower Magazine. He is a leading Presidential scholar specializing in White House email. He is a member of FBI InfraGard, the Cyberterrorism Advisor for the International Association for Counterterrorism & Security Professionals, a columnist for The Journal of Counterterrorism and Homeland Security, and has been a guest commentator for the Nieman Watchdog of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. He is a faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley extension, a recipient of the Sigma Xi Research Award in Engineering and was a candidate for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Letters.

Filed under: Bailout Turmoil • David Gewirtz • Economy • Finance • Raw Politics
soundoff (217 Responses)
  1. val beakley

    My wife was hurt on the job in January 2009. We thought everything was going to be fine financially until we found out AIG was the insurance company that would be handling her medical care. Our fears became real when it took AIG a month and a half to get my wife in to a doctor and in that time my wife had two hospital visits and money paid out of pocket for prescriptions that AIG is refusing to reimburse those out of pocket costs. We have since been turned over to a collection agency. My wife would call her adjuster with AIG leave a message and leave messages with supervisors to no avail, phone calls were never returned. It became apparent to us that we could not trust this insurer, we then sought professional counsel.
    It is evident that AIG's empoyees neglect their responsibilities thus forcing customers to seek filing lawsuits. If my wifes situation is indicative of the way AIG handles their customers claims it is no surprise that AIG is having major problems. take away all bonuses

    March 17, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  2. Andre

    If we are a nation of laws, rules & regulations why is it so hard to follow the law in regard to a legal contract? Despite the Executive Officers of AIG recieveing bonuses for failure keep in mind that these Exec's were smart enough to get a contract.
    Despite me being upset with these Exec's recieving these bonuses during the current financial crisis it at the most is morally wrong but not against the law. I am more upset at the US Government who gave tax payers monies to AIG without doing their homework/research prior to releasing the monies that should be criminal but being stupid or nieve is not a crime either.

    March 17, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  3. Jolene Reif

    So AIG is claiming it is contractually obligated to pay bonuses to it's executives and key employees and can't violate those contracts? It seems that the same contract law obligation is not being applied to mortgage contracts in this current mess and mortgage contracts are being easily broken. However, what has me really steamed is that these AIG employees/executives still have jobs at all when they have obviously failed so miserably in their duties. The AIG business model does not work and the individuals who have implemented it and continued to execute it remain in place and we have given AIG 165 billion dollars to date to continue down this same path of failure. Why have heads not rolled and people been replaced?

    March 17, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  4. Jatin

    Board Day Light Thiefs!!! – this whole Bail Out is utter nonsense.
    why funds were given with no strings attached, no clear agreement, no obligations, no understanding... Is there free lunch, I guess that's only for richy rich institutions.
    Very disgusting.... can someone announce all the AIG products.. We should dump whatever we hold from this company. With these greed they can do only harm to their customer, vendor and employees and ofcourse investors too!!

    March 17, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  5. Andre

    Thou I am disquested with the Executive officers of AIG that are recieving these bonuses under these circumstances; keep in mind that these Exec's were smart enough to obtain a contract like it or not.

    My biggest problem is not with the Exec's of AIG but with the US Government who did not do their homework/research prior to giving the money. As a nation of laws, rules & regulations that are suppose to protect and enforce legal contracts; I believe contract law is also protected by these same laws, rules & regulations......Again, I find that these Exec's taking these bonuses are morally wrong but in regard to the law the contracts should be adhered too and shame on us if we violate the law & a legal contract that has been bargained in "good faith."

    March 17, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  6. Dianne Kalk

    Why doesn't this Insurance firm do to its staff what it does to all its customers? They don't exactly refuse to pay you for your claim, but they are constantly 'reviewing' it over the long term, while demanding incessant paperwork from each claimant.. If the Insurance company did this to their staff, they could not be said to be in non-compliance with the staff contracts, could they? It would simply take five years to pay out each bonus. If the company had gone bankrupt, would these staff with a legitimate bonus claim have been preferred creditors, getting payment on the dollar first before all other creditors, or would they have had to wait in line with all of the other creditors?

    March 17, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  7. Melissa

    I think its time to threaten those people with the IRS. I bet they have alot of skeletons in their closet that they'd rather not have auditted.

    March 17, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  8. Patty

    Well get this, earlier today CNN reported that AIG paid 73 employees over 1 mil each in bonuses, 11 of those people are NO LONGER EVEN WITH THE COMPANY!!! So obviously, the money, as AIG is claiming is not being paid to "keep the talent", (their words, no mine". They should all be fired!!!

    Just a foot note though. Why the heck is everyone saying that AIG is making a fool of the American people when WE HAD NO CHOICE regarding any of the Bailout!! Congress made the decisions to pay/loan all this money carte blanche to this company. Congress was blatently careless with our tax dollars so who is the FOOL? You got it, CONGRESS & AIG knows it! Watch out Congress, elections in two years and in my honest opinion, YOU ALL NEED TO GO!

    March 17, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  9. All In Greed

    I am a Veteran of Foriegn Wars and have been a lifelong tax paying citizen. I will state that if these crooks get away with more of my money...I will stop paying my taxes completely!!!!

    March 17, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  10. David

    Please ask all the members of congress who are complaining about the $165 million bonuses at AIG why they were not so upset with the $8 billion in earmarks in the last spending bill.

    March 17, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  11. Lisa D

    AIG "has to" give out the bonuses? For what? I thought bonuses were a reward for good work. These geniuses bankrupted their company. The bonuses are to retain these valuable employees? Who's going to hire them?

    March 17, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  12. Janis Brown

    AIG: It is painfully obvious that this company, its executives and employees are completely aware that it will fail regardless of the help from the American taxpayer. AIG's only objective at this time is to get as much as it can while it can. The idea that they are honoring BONUS contracts when this company can not support itself is meaningless. ALL ASPECTS SHOULD BE UP FOR RENEGOTATION. That is the self serving attitude that is so disturbing to the hand that feeds you. Everyone else in this county has given up something . Some gave up hours so a co worker would not get laid off. Other gave up raises and bonuses. What makes them above the rest of us?

    March 17, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  13. Douglas Reiser

    I have a better Idea.
    Since Obama wants to close Gitmo, how about putting the current residents in charge of AIG. And put all the AIG folks into Gitmo.
    One thing is for sure, the so called Terroist at Gitmo have done a Whole lot Less harm to the USA than those folks at AIG.
    Put them all in the AIG building at NYC, and let the National Guard watch over them. As for the AIG folks, maybe they'll commit suicide once they've been at Gitmo for a couple of months.

    March 17, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  14. Jeanette

    These thieves should be behind bars!!! How can they get by with this? Its completely wrong and immoral for our government to allow this to happen. when is our government going to wake up and make people responsible for their actions instead of rewarding them. I makes me sick.

    March 17, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  15. Joyce Grissom

    Greed needs to be considered terrorism. AIG is holding the American taxpayer hostage in it's terroristic act of giving bonuses while taking tax payer money. In essence, the terrorism is AIG is rewarding bad behavior. No other employer would do the same. They are just as bad as Bin Laden

    March 17, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  16. earle,florida

    This is all political theater! These politicians are blowing smoke like usual! They stay on the fense til they smell blood,an talk about harsh treatment for something that happened six/eight months ago! Kinda like Obama's excuse for earmarks being last years stimulus plan! Yea, and by the way ,do you realize that JP Morgan Chase (Chemical[old name] Holdings Bank) leap-frogged from #3 largest US Bank to #1? Co-incidental,or not,where's the SEC?

    March 17, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  17. Dave Stirling

    Is it possible as a taxpayer owner of AIG to know the names of bonus recipients?
    I certainly wouldn't want to hire them.

    March 17, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  18. M Warner

    If the US Government owns 80% of AIG, why can't we do what most stockholders do in companies where the board of directors don't perform as they should? Let's fired the board of AIG and bring in a board that will safeguard the US investment and stop these practices of large bonuses regardless of performance. Get rid of these non-performing employees, without severance or any other type of 'golden parachute'. And if they want to take the company to court for non-payment of those bonuses, let them. The 'owners' of the company should insist on a jury trial, and let the 'fired' board members find 12 sympathetic members of a jury that will take their side!

    March 17, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  19. Joanne Pacicca, Solvay, NY

    Leno had plenty to say about this issue. My question is this: who let AIG use the bailout without oversight? Was it Bush or Obama?

    March 17, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  20. Joseph Loundy

    I have a simple solution for the AIG problem –

    1. Give the people who received the bonuses a deadline by which to return them.
    2. Recipients who don’t return them should have their names published and the American public should be encouraged to shun them and their families. Shunning is effective, fast and inexpensive

    Going forward – the Boards of Directors of corporations like AIG need to be held accountable for stupid policies such as giving bonuses to employees who harm the company. Why has there been no discussion in the news media of the accountability of corporate Board Members. If the media started confronting them perhaps they would do something more than collect their director’s fees.

    March 17, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  21. Kevin

    It seems to me that AIG has been identified as a single point of failure when it comes to risking the world economy. We keep hearing that its too big and has too many tentacles to allow it to fail. Isn't this a kind of monopoly? I don't understand why the company isn't broken up into several entities, several independant companies so that we don't have this single point of failure going forward. It seems to me that for as long as they are allowed to remain one large company then they will have us all by the short and curlys.

    March 17, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  22. Charles Bates

    I keep wondering why, everone is screaming about the AIG executives and I don't hear hardly a word about "Where was congress and the people's representatives when the ladling out of the money came to be approved? Why don't you corner some of these mis-representatives and put them on the hot seat and not let them double talk their way around you? Congress is the entity that approved the money, they are the ones who control the purse strings, they are the ones who are now standing around with that Pelosi deer in the headlights look, pointing their fingers and saying look at those unpatriotic executives. Well those executives don't get paid to be patriotic, they get paid to do what is in their contract. The deed was done, the time has come to pay the fee, Pay it and preserve the law of contract. Congress on the other hand just blubbers and points and stutters. Apparently they are also either blind or can't read the bills that come before them. How often do we hear that congress did not read the bill when the results go to hell in the inevitable handbasket. Hold Congress accountable. Take them to task the way Stewart took Cramer to task. / Charles- Roseville, CA

    March 17, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  23. Darrell Bobbitt

    Why don't we change the law to consider Bailout a modifided Bankruptsy. Legally, we could write-off some contracts/BONUSES.

    March 17, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  24. Robert Davis

    Anderson, believe me I am outraged by the unconciousable bonuses by AIG. But, the President and the Congress had better watch-out. Such behavior is so blatant as to obviously be an effort to get them to take their eye off the ball, so-to-speak. These bonuses are equal to just 16.6 cents out of $165. While there is no question that these bonuses are undeserved. We need to follow the real money. For example, how come Goldman Sachs wound-up with $94 billion(with a "B"), when AIG gave assurances that such debts would NOT be paid out of this Fund? Does this lie constitute fraud? Can, or should, the taxpayers, represented by the President and the Congress, allow any future bailout money to AIG?

    March 17, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  25. Jonathan R

    I have said elsewhere that all of these companies that receive "bail out" money from the government should be run through bankruptcy. Force them to reorganize. Force other to share in the taxpayers pain. Get rid of these ridiculous contracts like the bonuses. Take discounts on the debt. Don't give the shareholders a dime. Fire the management and get new. We can still maintain the system without giving these guys a free ride.

    March 17, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  26. keith ciaffafrafa

    i love your idea Porus and i believe we should cut big business budget costs for people who actually make a hard honest living

    March 17, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  27. Jessica in PA

    I don't understand how a company relies on us taxpayers to bail them out and then proceeds to pay out $165 million dollars in bonuses! All of the executives at AIG should be FIRED for allowing this happen! How greedy can one company be?

    March 17, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  28. JC-Los Angeles

    It's becoming more and more painful to continually see leadership address issues post facto; we need leadership with vision so these endless problems don't even occur.

    It's nothing short of a national embarrassment to even be talking about all of this.

    March 17, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  29. Alice

    Why doesn't someone publish the names and addresses of the people who received the bonus money from AIG? Public accountablity for greed might cause some of them to rethink their acceptance.

    March 17, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  30. Balki

    You need to have the Congress realize that they are all hypocrites. How can they complain now about AIG? Didn't Sen Shummer just a few weeks ago say that us as American Tax Payers "Don't care about a little pork" in the Stimulus bill. We are rewarding incompetence daily by our senators and congresmans by keeping them in Washinghton. Are we not the ones paying for Pelosi's air travels to the tunes of millions a year? Isn't the Congress getting a raise when they are driving this great country into bankruptcy? Shame on them.


    March 17, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  31. Darren... Missouri

    OK, It's time for the press to tell the whole story. Yes i do believe it is wrong for a company that has not made a profit to pay a bonus. However in this situation these bonuses are being paid to staff members for staying with the company over the past year. All of the employees that will be receiving these bonuses that will range from $1000.00 to $3,000,000.00 were told over a year ago that they would be losing there jobs. They were asked to stay till the end to ease the transition. The CEO and others are only taking a $1.00 salary for 2009. The only money they will receive will be this bonus. The outrage over this is unbelievable. The outrage should be over the bailout they were given in the first place!

    March 17, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  32. Brian S. Galpin

    I don't think his comments should apply to just the private sctor. Those same principles ought to apply to anyone in a leadership position not matter if it's public or private. Can you say H A L I B U R T O N or "W"?
    Trying to be an optimist makes me think that somehow responsibility and hiding behind "LLC" may just change. The founder of AIG even said last night he was appaled. The hypocrisy here is those unfortunate hardworking Americans who have lost their jobs will have the IRS crawling all over them if they have no job BUT owe taxes, what will they do to the robber barons at AIG who started the house falling? NOTHING!
    God bless America, those who are struggling and our brave men and women serving our nation!

    March 17, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  33. Diane N.

    Since it's tax payer money can't the tax payers do a class action lawsuit or something lol. In Vegas on the tables insurance is a sucker bet. In other words no one gives a damn anymore about their clients or their contracts. CLOSE AIG DOWN!!

    March 17, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  34. Keith F.

    What i think Obama & the government should do is pass a bill making bonuses from any company recieving government bailout money 100% taxible. I think we can all be sure that such a bill would pass. I would love to see any politian voting against such a bill try to explain his/her reasons to the tax payers.

    March 17, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  35. Lisa in CA

    And again we reward people for being incompetent. Why drive to succeed and be adequately rewarded when we can fail and be richly rewarded? If I could only find someone to let me be CEO (or high management), help drive my company to the brink of insolvency then be paid millions either to retain me or to go away.

    March 17, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  36. Phil Gillespie

    I have not heard of any of the boards of directors of AGI and other companies being held responsible
    for the actions of the CEO, CFO. Does the board not have a fiduciary or at least a moral responsible to the stock holders ?

    March 17, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  37. Gary

    Corporate bonuses should be tied to performance and profitability! Period. Make your numbers, get your bonus. Can't make your numbers....show em the door !

    March 17, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  38. Helen

    Could you please post AIG's other business relationships and other business interests that they support? If all could be boycotted then they and their associates will be put out of business. Let other small and upcoming businesses come in and do what is needed and right.
    Talk about stimulating the economy.

    March 17, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  39. John Bush

    Those 11 executives that resigned from AIG has done something good for a change. This is another example of greed for oneself. I bet they wouldn't go hungry if they gave the money back to the American People. I hope that they never find another job. With that kind of money they will never have to work again. Now AIG can dip into a pool of unemployed executives that is looking for a job. Fresh ideas is what this company need to get it back on track.

    March 17, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  40. Elaine Youness

    Dear Anderson,
    I think all the AIG executives that are recieving these huge bonusess' should donate that money to healthcare programs in the communities where they live. Wouldn't that be a good faith gesture!

    March 17, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  41. A. Arlin

    OMG!!! Another bailed-out conglomerate, AIG, giving their CEOs huge bonuses for a “job well done.” Really!!! Mr. President, you hoped they would do the right thing. What they decided as the right thing was, “what would be most profitable” for themselves. They seized upon the opportunity to increase their own personal wealth at the expense of the American tax payers. Greed, greed, greed is their mantra. They have no moral compass. They knew exactly what they were doing. So now may I suggest, no more “Mr. Nice Guy”, Mr. President, seize their bank accounts; cancel their bonus checks, make them give the money back. I wish we could tar and feather them and flog them out of the country. The phrase “off with their heads” sounds appropriate and justifiable to me.

    AIG stands for: Abhorrently (self) Indulgent Greed.

    March 17, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  42. Carl

    Billions have been handed out to AIG and others with no restrictions, no strings attached and Obama is surprised by this? I thought he was smarter; he was duped. Or was he?

    I find it ironic that he is the one who promoted the "Stimulus" payments with essentially no strings attached and pushed for the AIG bailout. Now he is outraged that the fox raided the henhouse? Helloooo!

    Now he says that he can't do anything about legally, and if that is true, we the taxpayers are screwed, once again. The CEO of AIG is being called before Congress on this and I would love to hear him say: " You gave us the money with no strings. We gave chunks away to national and international banks and we're going to reward our executives who put you in this mess with millions in bonuses and there is absolutely nothing you can go about it. So, go deal with it.

    Maybe next time you'll think twice before you put the cart before the horse. You didn't learn when Bush gave the bailouts and yet you turn around and do the same thing. Well, shame on you. You gave it to us and you have absolutely no recourse.

    This is just another example of democrats spending and spending and spending with out any thought of what will happen to the money.

    He has broken our trust, he is irresponsible with the tax payers money. I don't trust him to handle any more of my future. $$

    I love how all that is talked about is banks, big business and the stock market when America was built by small businesses that grew.

    The only way the economy is going to move forward is from the ground up. How about we stimulate small businesses? My business could use some capital, but all I hear about is how I am going to get taxed.

    March 17, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  43. Jim

    I Think the new C.E.O. of A.I.G. – President Obama- should take that $165,000,000 and give me – a person who has paid taxes for over 20 years just $20,000.00 of that money & I could pay off my one debt to a private individual that has helped me this last year while I have been unemployed by keeping a roof over my head, food in my stomach I owe him- $ 7,000.00, I could pay my 8' X 8" X 20' storage – Buy the container outright for $3,500.00
    then only pay $25.00 a month space rent for 10 years- $3,000.00
    buy 4 new tires & 1 new spare tire for my pickup truck- $530.00, get the Muffelers redone for $300.00, get a new wind shield- $400.00 put $1080 .00 aside to put gas in the truck for a whole year, buy 12 cans of coffee for $72.00 for coffee for 1 year, $1,584.00 for cigeretts for one year. that is a total of $14,466.00- the rest I could use to buy a good computer- the programs to properly write a book and I would then be able to pay the $20,000 plus interest back in taxes in less than 5 years once the book is published & provide recipts & stimulate the economy for over a year in the process!!! The Government has given these financial morons BILLIONS- & what does the Government have to show for it??? And These people wonder WHY we the taxpayers are about ready to skin these greedy bleeps alive!!!!!

    March 17, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  44. Peter keiser

    You got that right. I am as angry as anyone could be. All the senisism I have had for most of my life has been confirmed with the out break and/or truth that has come out of this. This is so appalling,because it's not just about this tiny period and episode currently. This has been going on for ever. These people have been laughing all the way to the bank for decades. It was Enron, Freddy and Franny and the damn broke. Greed sickening greed and selfihness beyond the imagination. Stealling and minipulating the systen every minute of everyday They are some times young they are parents teaching thier children basic standards. Oh that would be a fun conversation to listen in on. All the main streeters struggling day to day.Hardly getting by to support their families. Thinking and checking their standards to be good people.Wanting so much to do good yet, silently abserving these extremely wealthy we see when we are stuck in traffic or walking about town and seeing certain types who drip money who we (maybe me) wanted to be like them. But I could do what they did for so long. Thay are all fakes and spinless ignorant lowly not a care about anyone but themselves. Disgusting. Burn them all. Save those out here scared to death in fear of loosing everything and the conditions that will be created for the children and their families everywhere.

    March 17, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  45. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Only in America can a talented company with the best minds available in the market-–run a company into the ground-–and at the same time--be paid golden bonuses--and that is because we have such a talented Congress-–and we say that Madoff ruin the lives of many investors--Congress is ruining a nation and we are all being held hostage by Corporate greed and usury-–I think that Madoff should not be the only one going to jail!!!!

    March 17, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  46. Michael C. McHugh

    It's about time all these big companies were investigated by the FBI, IRS, and so on. As a new stockholder of Citibank, Bank of America and AIG, I DEMAND they be investigated!

    March 17, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  47. Cindy

    UMM..from the way it looks AIG is the boss. I mean they keep coming back with their hands out and the government keeps doling out the cash with no strings attached. If the government would have really looked at AIG in the beginning they would have seen this bonus mess before it ever happened and could have dealt with it then. But they didn't and now we have this mess going on. So whose fault is it really!? The governments....because they doled out the cash too fast with no looking into the companies or their contract agreements.


    March 17, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  48. Patrick West

    I thought bonuses were for people who showed particular fortitude or if a company showed a profit, part of those profits could be shared by the rank and file. I don't see that there is any cause for a bonus in either case. How can there be "contracted" bonuses. Hey where I can apply for job like that? I can conduct myself in such a way as to plunge a company into bankruptcy and still receive a paycheck and a bonus! That's the best thing I've ever heard....

    March 17, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  49. alex lyrics

    If I were the president, I would implement a whole new law on collections fraud department, and take it all back.

    I would take back everything AIG's/ MADDOFF entire family have. That includes children, grand mom, uncles, aunts, lovers everyone , every penny, even the toilet paper off the rolls in the houses.

    Leave no comode. One man had a great idea that I heard. He sais put them in the center of washington, and blow them up infront of the world. Tough justice is the only true solution to this type of theft that has a massive global impact.

    March 17, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  50. Porus

    You know what AIG stands for? AMERICAN INSURANCE of GREED. Enough said.

    Porus D.
    Utica, NY

    March 17, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
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