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. Elliott Wilkins

    Food for thought?
    If AIG is the largest INTERNATIONAL insurer as reported, then why doesn't someone investigate if some of the 170 million dollars in bailout money that has already been given to them at taxpayers expense in the form of bonuses has not been given to executives of foreign countrys? There certainly must be a regulation somewhere in the distribution of american money as part of the stimulus packages that explicitly prohibit funds being sent out of the country???
    I also can't understand why nothing has been mentioned about these exhorbitant bonuses going to executives who are evidently high up on the food chain of AIG who have been making exhorbitant salaries in their respective positions for many a year and probably wouldn't be affected at or at least minimally affected by the loss of these bonuses this year when confonted with the AMERICAN economic problems as compared to their individual sense of GREED!!!

    March 18, 2009 at 7:07 am |
  2. Clint

    Obama and his administration knew of these bonuses yet chose to allow them by not restricting them as part of the conditions of AIG receiving the bail out funds. Now when the general public becomes aware of these bonuses and becomes outraged and rightfully so, Obama has the audacity to go on national TV and act as though he knew nothing of the bonuses and urges AIG not to hand them out.

    I view this as somewhat akin to Obama allowing all the pork when he campaigned against it. Obama's platform during the Presidential campaign was "Change" and no more politics as usual. Well it seems to me that nothing has changed except the stakes and the faces (and pockets). Obama is talking out the side of his face.

    At least with President Bush we knew when he was sticking it to us. Obama puts one arm around us while he is stabbing us in the back with the other. In my opinion Obama is a modern day snake oil salesman – a really good one that sold a bill of goods to most of America.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:57 am |
  3. Cliff John (Lynnwood, WA)

    If AIG can't handle its finances, then let it fail.....

    We all, including the government, should take a page out of Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection, that only those who can adapt will survive. In a world where there are so many other competition from other insurance companies, those companies who want to rise to the occassion should take over AIG's place as the "giant" in this business.

    As for those who got bonuses for a job "not well done," let them walk or resign to find another job(s) with other companies. In this bad economy, I wish them the very best.

    March 18, 2009 at 5:52 am |
  4. Platon Rigos

    You totally miss the point .. we have noleverage on AIG, the minute they became too big to fail a few years ago, we lost leverage.; we need an overhaul of the antitrust laws. As for AIG the threeat of nationalization might be the only credible leverage. To make it credible, ithas to be proposed in legislation.

    And we really don't need the archictects of the desaster, they should be closely followed to make sure they don't go elsewhere and cause more damage and let's get heri names, haul them into court, make their lives a living hell. They'll eventually give back the bonuses if we give them enough reason to do so

    March 18, 2009 at 5:20 am |
  5. John Schwimmer

    Everyone at AIG, management and staff, should be put on notice immediately, that any illegal acts that are uncovered by anyone at AIG, will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The auditor general of the US should then go in and take charge of the business and require all transactions to be reviewed before execution. These AIG people cannot be trusted at all and must be monitored or terminated. They are losers who have no value to the business and should not be given respect for their indicretions. We the people have controlling ownership in this firm and we must take it over, clean it up or let it fail. NO MORE MONEY!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:37 am |
  6. 1 voice in crowd

    So, it's obvious everyones upset. What are YOU going to do about it.
    I don't see any protest . Just alot of talk. Words spoken from the security of your computer. How upset can you be really if your not willing to get off your chair go outside your home and publicly let your opinion be heard. We The People are being robbed by corporate America and our own government is holding the gun to our heads.
    It's about that time for the people to stand up for ourselves and let corporate America know exactly how we feel. This is your time to make change and stand up for what you believe. Stop depending on the government to do whats right because they're not doing anything for us anymore GREED has taken over. The only change I've seen since this administration has taken over is that now they'll tell you to your face how they're gonna screw you over . The only time in our history that the government has done anything on behalf of it's citizens is when brave people took to the streets and made thier voices heard. You can ignore a letter, a call on a phone, or blog on the internet . But you can't ignore streets full of angry people.

    March 18, 2009 at 3:59 am |
  7. Neo

    Even though it's a loan(!.?) how does the government guarantee AIG will pay it back? If they are the only shop in the game and if they employ so many people that it would have disastrous ramifications then so be it (and let's hope & pray they can repay). If I'm a bank I would ask why are you under the water? Can the people at CNN ask AIG or someone who bailed them out .... why they are under the water? If they are getting taxpayer dollars we should at least know why they are failing as a company. Why do we trust that they aren't a high risk loan? Like most banks they give to their upper management and foster overseas activity. <-- Once again the latter is why we are in financial trouble.

    March 18, 2009 at 3:22 am |
  8. David

    Who cares about 165 mil for executives- what about the $65 billion giving to foreign companies by AIG... AKA uncle sam? What a smoke screen

    March 18, 2009 at 2:57 am |
  9. ed williams

    There's two thoughts that come to mind.
    The first is what have we done to dictators throughout the years, like Sadam Hussian we tried them for the lives they took. Well look at the hardship AIG, Bernie Madoff and others like him have done. Some people have killed them selves, other my have bad outcomes in life do to the losses they have suffered. We don't really know. It would appear that greed is destroying our way of life. How does one meter out punishment for such an act. The other is our elected officials have not risen to the occasion to protect us, because they themselves are getting rewarded for the INactions, congressmen, senators, presidents etc. How do we hold everyone accountable? It's called a vote. Lookat their voting record and see if they did what's best for us the people.

    March 18, 2009 at 2:38 am |
  10. ARC

    I feel like there's an opportunity to make insurance companies non-profit businesses. They were set up to serve a primary interest is their customers but instead they have chosen their short term profits over their duty. In non-profit system: employees are paid and profit, the company runs at zero and shareholders are out. They took money from the government and are insoluble, they continue to operate as corrupt and short sided business. In the end they have no interest for the common good of society or their customers they are meant to serve.

    March 18, 2009 at 2:33 am |
  11. jose

    AIG, or rather crooks, who knew what they were doing, and actually hustle the government-they knew that they could not be terminated because the cover many of our nations businesses and people. They should be extorted and televised....as for our capital, i thought we opened our eyes when our own government was showing sighs of incompetence.

    March 18, 2009 at 2:28 am |
  12. brishen welsh

    P.S. American Insureance Group!!!! It is a corp from China!!! Look at how is started. It is a trojan horse. We should borrow as much as we can, rebuild our nation, seal the boarder to all trade and not repay any debt.

    March 18, 2009 at 2:19 am |
  13. Page

    I can not even bieleve they did that i say "Criminal charges should be filed"Sick,and we are supposed to be civilized.

    March 18, 2009 at 2:15 am |
  14. brishen welsh

    AIG who? Congress gave themselves a $4700 raise this year on the tax payers back. That ads up to $2,514,500. Plus $$$ that groups like AIG gave to there steeling asses. They should all kill themselves!

    March 18, 2009 at 2:15 am |
  15. Patrick

    AIG has handled this entire situation horribly and should be ashamed for their willingness to make this seem like business as usual. Had we not bailed them out AIG was going to fail and these so-called retention bonuses would never have happened. I say we fine them $165 million for this ignorant move and distribute the cash to veterans and unemployed families who have lost their homes.

    I'm not a Republican or someone who likes to knock the leaders in D.C. but I have to express my disappointment with the oversight of the bailout program. If I take an extra $500 deduction on my taxes, the IRS comes calling in less than 3 months demanding answers. But, we give billions to rich clowns on Wall Street and then walk around clueless as to the application of those funds.

    I say hire all the unemployed accountants in this country as auditors, place them inside each bailout HQ office complex, and ask them to track every penny. If they get no cooperation from the CFO's, then toss them in jail with Madoff. Helps create jobs, tracks the money, and holds them accountable. Why not?

    March 18, 2009 at 2:13 am |
  16. KIm

    Send the bonus money back or you're headed for an iceberg and Chapter 11 ! Americans will survive without you !

    March 18, 2009 at 2:12 am |
  17. Arturo Duran

    What if you were a salesman or a manager at AIG and you were given your goals and you work 10 hours a day, weekends and with the products and rules they gave you you achieve your goals, your contract states you have the right to a bonus... you deliver what you were supposed to, not fair to take it away from everybody.. take it from everybody that had a C level... on the other hand shouldnt Senator Dodd, whose job was to oversee all the banking system, give back ALL the money WE the taxpayers gave him, since that committee failed to do their job of supervising the whole financial system ? many other House representatives and Senators are members of committees that they get extra income for being part of, but they failed to do their job.... think of it..

    March 18, 2009 at 2:10 am |
  18. bob lear

    How disgusting has our system become? We have become an embarrassment to all that have served our country! My family has served this country for 200+ yrs; two of my sons have put their lives on the line for this country, one still serving in the US Army. One of my daughters is facing bankruptcy of her small business that thrived for 10 yrs; another son is struggling in the construction business, all while my tax dollars are creating millionaires?? Mr. President, if you change only one thing? Change this! The integrity of all the people that built this country are on the line. Thank You, Bob

    March 18, 2009 at 1:37 am |
  19. Dee

    From what I understand a large portion of thr $170B has been paid back. Can anyone at CNN clearly state how that has happened. How much is China Life worth that is now held by the federal reserve. Not to mention the common stock that the Federal Reserve holds and therefore the success of AIG will pay back the tax payers.

    hmm. did any of you know that AIG financial product employees are located in london, how was those tax laws going to go after the bad guys exactly? Personally I am tried of sensationalism and fear base reporting. what happen to integrity of journalism? If your going to tell the story, how much does AIG actually owe the feds now?

    March 18, 2009 at 1:30 am |
  20. Al Leong, San Francisco

    Three interesting things about insurance:

    1. Risk behaviour: once you have insurance, you act interestingly, more wrecklessly assuming MORE risk, not less.

    2. History without insurance: we have operated with insurance before insurance is legislated as mandatory. it IS possible to operate without mandated insurance through pools of funds assumed by policy holders and requiring non-insured to pay for damage (auto insurance).

    3. Rewarding stupid behaviour: home-owners who rebuild in hurricane zones do so at their own peril, rather than allow the general public to fund doing something with common knowledge (which would look stupid by most people–such as building a house on an eroding cliff or river bank). and expect insurance to further cover damage and risk in the future.

    In these ways, and in others, insurance poses excessive risk-taking behaviour. it is the paradox of insurance. And insurance is NOT a necessity unless it is MANDATED by law.

    Anyone who goes against the wishes of the President of the US for US funding is in direct disobedience, and can categorically be placed as an enemy of the state, in as much as Al Qaeda is an enemy.

    In this case, the executives of AIG should be declared criminals and be either persecuted, or have warrants for their arrest or simply shot.

    March 18, 2009 at 1:26 am |
  21. Eric Sandstrom

    Are there any AIG executives volunteering in New Orleans?

    March 18, 2009 at 1:25 am |
  22. jackie

    Throwing money at companies like AIG is a little like playing the slots-there are winners and losers,mostly losers-the american tax payer.

    March 18, 2009 at 1:23 am |
  23. Peter Romero

    AIG employees should understand that bonuses are given out when companies turn out a profit. As far as we can tell this company was on the verge of bankruptcy due to their bad choices and poor performance. Therefore they are not entitled to bonuses. The only bonuses they should get are a few months in jail.

    March 18, 2009 at 1:23 am |
  24. frank b az

    I would say the government is soft on aig because of large contributions to political campaigns. Furthermore aig insures congresses retirement pensions. They are all guilty of ripping off the public in backroom shellgame meetings. Wallstreet and the government. It used to be politicians were part time and did it because they cared about the country. Career congressmen and women have a severe disconnect with the real world. I see why militia enrollment is up.

    March 18, 2009 at 1:21 am |
  25. MichelleM

    I watched the news last week where they showed hundreds of people living in tents in California because they are out of work and have lost their homes. It's a horrible day when our people begin to act out the past. They seriously need to watch movies like Les Miserables and Germinal. To give money to those people in such large amounts shows that they have no pity for those of us who work hard every day and can barely feed our families. Our dollars go less and less every day. Almost all food items are $.50 to $1.00 more expensive than 2 years ago and gas prices have come down some, but they are still almost double what they were 4 years ago, but our paychecks remain the same. I could use 2 million right now, but I would not do it at the expense of my neighbor living in a tent. How sad and shameful they are at AIG.

    March 18, 2009 at 1:21 am |
  26. andrea

    well im glad to have oama as my president i now it well all work out despite what all you loser say ! greed thats what happend to everyone you and me . we put our selves here take responablity for it ! as far AIG greed yep again prime example and anderson im so tyred of thmedia its seems like everytime you people talk things get worse ! makes you look bad ! i dont think you guys like obama and im not the onley one that feels that way ! im so tyred of the media there not helping

    March 18, 2009 at 1:20 am |
  27. wiseman

    I think people need to chill out. Yes, I'm mad at AIG and Wall Street. But, on "Main Street" not having a job, losing your home and on top of that no health insurance that's anger. We need to keep our eye on the prize. Let the media get rating. Let the American people get help.

    March 18, 2009 at 1:19 am |
  28. mr. clo O

    I'm a little wierd about this AIG stuff at this point... At one time AIG was very profitable; evident of the bonus amounts they pay out.

    So let's think, if these bonuses were being paid to government employees...

    You finished thinking?

    You see it would never happen if these were government employees.

    So, I wonder if AIG was completely owned by the government where would this money be going? It looks like AIG and it's survival is just as important to our country as any other government agency/department is. Too bad for us that we let it get so important!!!! But now that it is I feel we should take advantage of it and just take it over 100%.

    March 18, 2009 at 1:19 am |
  29. June Carter

    Are these companies trying to take the American people down through greed. Where is the pride?

    March 18, 2009 at 1:17 am |
  30. David Hook

    I'm so frustrated. I work so hard to pay my rent, and just survive in one of the most expensive cities in North America (San Francisco). I pay my taxes, contribute to charity and live generally a low key life. All so my government can bail out bad businesses and people that don't do their job? If I don't do my job, I get fired. I've had enough of this already.

    March 18, 2009 at 1:14 am |
  31. Benedick

    AIG = America's Incredible Greed

    March 18, 2009 at 12:42 am |
  32. Val

    Isn't AIG considered a CONGLOMERATE?

    CON.....to swindle or persuade by deception
    GLOM...to steal
    ER........ interjection (used to express or represent hesitation or
    ATE......pt for eat; to use up especially wastefully

    March 18, 2009 at 12:35 am |
  33. A Thunes

    AIG and other offenders – Here's a revelation. The first milestone any responsible company has to achieve before employees become bonus eligible is to turn a profit. What does it tell you about a company that contractually obligates itself to bonus pay in a year where it not only fails to return a profit, but loses billions upon billions of dollars?

    March 18, 2009 at 12:21 am |
  34. jase

    I am so glad that there is more light in the midst of this country's darkness... We have decided that there must be a tough guy in the mess. But... Should the tough guy be the one that is borrowing money from China and the sons and daughters of this and the next generation while wasting money at 60 times the amount of the AIG bonuses right in front of the country? At least AIG tried to cover it up.

    March 18, 2009 at 12:20 am |
  35. Annie Kate

    There doesn't appear to be much thinking done at all at AIG – for the country, for good business practices, or anything else except how to maximize their own individual riches. I'm not sure AIG deserves to stay in business but I do know the American people don't deserve any more hardship caused by them – so I guess we keep them propped up but if we own 80% of the company I'd like to see us exercise some of our ownership rights and review these managers and fire a bunch of them.

    March 18, 2009 at 12:16 am |
  36. Tom in ca.

    Although the bonuses for AIG are wrong ,remember these are one dollar out of every thousand that was given to those Morons,with no strings attached.Who knows how they will waste the rest of it.

    March 18, 2009 at 12:14 am |
  37. Paula Davenport

    This will not be the first nor the last corporate scandal that will be shared with the world. More shameful news is on the horizon. Just have a seat.

    March 18, 2009 at 12:09 am |
  38. Jerry Tillman

    Still believe in totally free capitalism? Just get government out of the way and let these companies make money! No regulation! It wasn't too long ago that many conservative lawmakers complained that The President was on a "slippery slope" for dare suggesting that execs should have their bonusses determined by the government.

    March 18, 2009 at 12:08 am |
  39. leon schopp

    I agree with this article 110%!! I hate to say that we need more goverment control but when we the tax payers own 80% of a company and they are clearly continuing to run the company into the ground, the government needs to either step in and fire all these Exec's and get the company going in the right direction, or cut our losses and let it go under.

    March 18, 2009 at 12:02 am |
  40. Ram

    Are we really concerned about our tax money? We gave money to AIG, replaced it's CEO and have someone(Edward Liddy), a capable CEO as our leaders want. Now we prevent AIG from doing it's regular business. You are going to bring a new Tax to stop people from getting bonus ? Why do we have law? To manipulate whenever we need it ?? If the bonuses are legal, why stop it? Why not make an arrangement with those folks and give them an 'IOU'. Some may accept.
    BTW, what happened to the $15 billion that went un-accounted for in the Iraq war? I am more concerned about that than this $165 million dollars.
    How did media forget that? Are they manipulating American people? By all ways, Media is making all of AIG non profitable and lose the whole $180 billion. I love watching CNN. But why can't they discuss about AIG businesses that can be profitable and help us recover the money?
    I am not saying that AIG should go unpunished. But while doing that why shouldn't we promote it as it's our company? I want the tax money back from AIG and be used for a better purpose. I want AIG to succeed and pay back.

    March 17, 2009 at 11:57 pm |
  41. Robert Findley

    Would someone please track down and post the names, addresses and recent photos of the people receiving the bonuses in question? I think it's only right that the rest of us know just who (and where) these folks are, so that when and if they step out of their gated enclaves to shop, their fellow citizens and involuntary benefactors will be in a position to greet them as they so richly deserve.
    Youtube would be a good venue for such information...

    March 17, 2009 at 11:51 pm |
  42. Julia

    No...flat out no...no bonuses, no stock options, no special treatment. Just a one-way ticket to jail and they should feel lucky about that. If it were one of us, we would be fired and sent to jail. What makes them so special other than they have their hands in so many politician's pockets. Hmmm, preferential treatment? I'd say so.

    I agree with the other suggestions as well, FBI and IRS do your thing! I know the IRS would show no mercy to the common citizen. Use the same tenacity. These puppies, with as greedy as they are, you know they've been doing something. There has to be skeletons in their closets. IRS, be the hero for once, go find, seek and destroy.

    March 17, 2009 at 11:48 pm |
  43. anita

    as an american, i would like to see AIG Executives performing poorly,
    taking in bonuses, as if they are entitled to in handcuffs, going to jail
    and in frontpage newspaper, that would make my day!!!

    March 17, 2009 at 11:45 pm |
  44. Jerry Engelson

    Seeing reports on how charities are falling on hard times, along with reports of obscene AIG executive bonuses (and the doubtful prospects of Congress' attempts to recover or tax them), has anybody suggested a public relations campaign to "encourage" the recipients of these bonuses to donate all or part of them to charities whose work will directly benefit the economy and people's lives? Who knows? Maybe they could even get a tax break.

    Big stick, a few carrots and plenty of shame.

    Anderson Cooper and CNN: Make it happen!

    March 17, 2009 at 11:43 pm |
  45. Joe west

    AIG fire them all.let them go under or hire me I have been out of work for 7 years.

    March 17, 2009 at 11:35 pm |
  46. antonio beltran

    AIG should be allowed to fail and file bankruptcy. Everyone says that this cannot happen. It is not true. All of the airlines filed bankruptcy back in the 90's (chap. 13) and were allowed to break their contracts legally under bankruptcy law and reorganize. They continued doing business as usual. Why can we not let AIG do the same?

    March 17, 2009 at 11:35 pm |
  47. Joe west

    did you know Jehovah's witnesses built more than 5000 homes between new orleans ,miss,Ala.Fl..

    March 17, 2009 at 11:34 pm |
  48. Glenn P.

    If AIG is too big to fail, why doesn't the government break it up into smaller companies? After all, we own it. Break it up into smaller companies by division. Make the financial investment division a separate company and let that company fail. No more toxic assets and no more bonuses for the people that created this mess because that division would be bankrupt. The healthy divisions go on as separate insurance companies which the government can one day sell for a profit.

    March 17, 2009 at 11:33 pm |
  49. Cheryll Lawand

    AIG shouldn't recieve another dime from the tax payers. The fact that they are in the risky business of insuring companies and individuals on a global scale should not equate tax payers paying out billions for them to stay afloat. It's the responsibility of those insured companies and individuals to find another company to cover their risks.

    March 17, 2009 at 11:32 pm |
  50. Jenn Posner

    Why is it that everyone is so outraged about bonuses that they knew would be paid out? “the Dodd Amendment” by the Obama Administration provides an “exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009” - which exempts the very AIG bonuses Dodd and others are now seeking to tax. I think this is feigned outrage to direct attention away from the fact that AIG is using more than half of the 170 billion dollars, not million, more than 85 billion dollars of the money that we gave to AIG is going outside of this country. German and French banks received $36 billion from the AIG bailout. The money going toward bonuses are a drop in the bucket compared to what they are doing with the rest. Maybe you guys should be looking into this, Glenn Beck has been talking about it for days now......catch up Andy 🙂

    March 17, 2009 at 11:30 pm |
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