March 17th, 2009
10:17 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 03/17/09

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Tonight on AC360°, we’re following all the latest on the AIG front as the outrage over billions in bonus payments boils over. Today we learned that AIG gave more than 73 employees in its Financial Products subsidiary (yep, that’s the rogue unit that nearly drove the company into the ground with its risky investments) bonuses of $1 million or more. 11 of those employees no longer work at AIG. New York’s Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said the top 10 bonus recipients combined take was $42 million, with the top recipient getting more than $6.4 million. Now lawmakers are scrambling ot find ways to get the billions back. It’s your money after all – taxpayer bailout funds paid for the bonuses. We want to keep the live blog on this one topic. So, please share your thoughts on AIG below.

And, don't miss Tom Foreman's webcast on the AIG outrage during the commercials. Watch our WEBCAST

Want to know what else we're covering tonight? Read EVENING BUZZ

Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules.

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Filed under: Live Blog • T1
soundoff (302 Responses)
  1. Maren in Oregon

    If we bought 80% of AIG, who was in charge of inventory of what we bought – like contracts, ticking away like little dirty bombs! Are there any more "contracts" at any other banks or failed institutions that we should know about?

    March 17, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  2. Karen C

    David the Gergen (I swear that is what Anderson just said), I am wondering.....are perhaps people like Welsh, who would be great in such a position, simply not interested in possibly being called to a position that, in this volatile environment, could cause great backlash, despite all efforts? I wonder if that is not half the treasury's problem.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  3. EJ (USA)

    I applied with AmeriCorps. Hopefully I'm not too old.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  4. Philip, Bangkok

    If Katrina had happened in a third world country, Washington would be calling the resultant inaction a disgrace. Why are the funds being used to pay the volunteers? It would also help stimulate the economy.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  5. David, Indiana

    Hi everyone, I thought it was only me who couldn't get on the blog tonight. I'm sorry to say that things are kind of busy here a little stressful so it's good to get into the conversation.

    Kind of good to take in these reports from New Orleans though for a moment. I have to admire those volunteers, helping with building and repairing homes.

    On AIG, isn't there a problem w/ insurance companies being able to insure for instance homes in California against wild fires because there have been so many claims recently? So isn't it sensible to help keep a successful insurer from collapsing because of the mortgage crisis?

    March 17, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  6. Devon Boulden

    This is America. If AIG is too big to fail, then why don't we break it up? That's the American way. You can't deny it!

    March 17, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  7. Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio

    Tom, Glad to hear it, NOLA is really a beauty!

    March 17, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  8. Isabel, Brazil

    John Paul II was the Pope of the people, but the the Pope Benedict XVI seems out of the world ...

    March 17, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  9. Todd, NYC

    We are focused on the wrong outrage at AIG. While there were 160mm in bonuses, there were $29B of credit default swaps paid with taxpayer bailout money. These are nothing more than side bets that debt will fail. Our politicians should be focused on unwinding these swaps (wagers?) so that our bail-out issues are not compounded. Better to get 29B back than 160mm!

    March 17, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  10. Robert, Reno, NV

    We need to go back to a country where kids lose soccer games and people that bit off more they can chew find their own way to fix their problems and companies are allowed to fail. Enough bailing everyone out! If we'd make people/businesses ACCOUNTABLE for their own actions, we'd be in a much better spot as a country.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  11. Robert, Ft Lauderdale

    Mr. Foreman, Good to see you –

    So very tired of this AIG bailout blunder and now the conscious-ridden execs, the Madoffs, earmarks and the economic mess. And 11 of the AIG employees that are bonus recipients are not even employed at AIG anymore? Getting a Retention bonus? I am almost at the point of panhandling for coin.

    I am the new homeless, no job, no home, no benefits and living in my SUV. Don’t know what I am going to do when I am not able to watch the broadcast and read the blog, but I am not giving up.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  12. Lori from IL

    Sad to see the NOLA cottage project has only completed one house. Why not send all those unemployed carpenters to NOLA to get this project finished?

    Anderson - thanks for bringing us these types of stories. I'm guessing that bringing attention to the "cottage" project failures might inspire some action from the "powers that be"

    March 17, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  13. Bridget, TX

    @Robert, Reno, I'm with you, I wish Ali would explain what if anythng would happen if we allowed AIG to fail. I know many are angry and want the company to fail, but I don't want to react based on anger and in the end the American people suffer more. The execs and their families will be sitting high on our money while we could possibly be dealing with another crisis.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  14. Suzy

    I am just thrilled that Project St Bernard is getting this air time. It is a wonderful project and some of those kids you see are working on my house. My only problem is that Project St Bernard is not in New Orleans it is in St Bernard Parish. It is very frustrating that whenever anything about Katrina is mentioned you only hear about New Orleans. New Orleans took a fraction of the damage that St. Bernard and other areas took but it is all you hear about.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  15. Chris Sosa - Boston, MA

    @Kira – I might be finding myself in that position this coming January... I'm praying not, 'cause the proposition is a bit scary.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  16. Lindsay Koob

    One casualty of the economic catastrophe that nobody's talked about is the performing arts. America is the only major industrialized nation that doesn't subsidize the fine arts, so they depend on publlc support - and are thus the first to suffer in the face of economic disaster. Where I live (Charleston, SC), our world-class Symphony Orchestra and Ballet Theatre are teetering on the brink of collapse.
    The arts are any society's noblest reflection ... our artistic heritage will linger long after our current political squabbles are forgotten. So who's going to bail out our soul?

    March 17, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  17. Mike - Annapolis, MD

    Let them FAIL! Lehman failed and look we are still here!

    March 17, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  18. kim Jones

    There is definite and direct way for citizens to express their outrage: Withdraw their money from AIG. Although these bonuses are a 'drop in the bucket' in relation to their financial influence or the money issued to rescue them, it was morally and ethically wrong for them to do this. We, the so-called "Little People' can send a message that we can make an impact in a way that goes straight t the heart of the matter – MONEY

    March 17, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  19. Bea

    Those bonuses are probably in Swiss Bank Accounts by now. But why Geithner could not have required two weeks notice before any bonuses were paid out of any stimulus money I can't understand. We've been here before. I complained about Bush on this; incredible.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  20. Anthonia-California

    Heeey Yalll! Greaat to have you here Tom Foreman :]

    Geez, im still shocked that people in new orleans are still homeless after 4 years! i thought america was suppose to help every america living here...what happened?

    Nice name for a dog Tom!

    March 17, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  21. Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio

    James Hidle, That is exactly what I have been asking! No one seems to want to discuss it.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  22. Maren in Oregon

    @Lauren NY – good evening. Late start or not, we're where we want to be,!

    March 17, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  23. Isabel, Brazil

    I can't empathize with this Pope

    March 17, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  24. Gloria, Brooklyn, NY

    New Orleans is on the road to recovery, alright!

    March 17, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  25. EJ (USA)

    Here is a suggestion… Let the AIG executives keep their bonuses. As a consequence CNN everyday will post a picture, their name and where the live on T.V in the top right corner, minimum six hours a day. Let the public know who they are and where they live. If they don’t want to be on T.V and in the spotlight, then they have the option to do the right thing and give the undeserved bonuses back!

    Cute. But I bet CNN does not want to get sued for involuntary manslaughter!

    March 17, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  26. Bea

    Thank you, Anderson, for always returning to Louisiana and for doing a story on the good work Americans are doing.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  27. sara

    Love those gann academy kids, so proud of each and every one of them. I'm actually tearing now, remembering them as freshmen only a while ago... This is what makes teaching worthwhile. Haven't seen them since I moved away from Boston, and these kids just put a big smile on my face!

    March 17, 2009 at 10:36 pm |

    I liked hearing the question and answer about young people trying to find jobs after graduating. I have lots of friends in that position.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:36 pm |

    special shout out to all my friends back in New Orleans...wish I were there for St. Patty's at Parasol's Bar, like I was years ago...

    March 17, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  30. Casey Jones - Palm Springs, CA

    @Robert, Reno, NV...I think we're in too deep to let AIG fail at this point. Honestly, I wish that's what we had done with all the bailout recipients fromt he very beginning–let the free-market system prevail.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  31. Sam

    Martha I think its more like $500 per person, but point taken 🙂

    March 17, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  32. Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio

    David Gergen, Why weren't these people in place prior to all of this?

    March 17, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  33. Mike

    My wife and i lived in NV and had to pack up and leave due to her father being murdered in AZ. Now we have no finances and are about to lose everything we own due to the down job market. Where can we turn? is there any help for individuals out there. The Govt seems to help the higher ups, but what about the people who are really suffering like us? Give info for help please!!!!!

    March 17, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  34. Sean, Soldier in IRAQ

    I just want to get millions of dollars for being a screw up. Is AIG hireing? I have military experiance, 2 combat tours.. I will gladely work for the top brass of AIG. I have trainign, could I get a job.
    If not, Anderson are you hireing? You have a excited crowd behind you.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  35. Curtis C.

    Let AIG fail! There are plenty of other insurance companies out there. Take the bailout money and help those who would lose the most when they do fail. We cannot keep bailing out these companies without restrictions on how they use the money.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  36. Isabel, Brazil

    St. Bernard Project should be everywhere!

    March 17, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  37. Anthony Guiliano

    God It makes me so mad whats going on in New Orleans.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  38. Sheh Young

    I am not surprised that the top execs at AIG did not want to stop these bonuses as they are probably receipients. As major stakeholder in AIG, the US govt should sue these executives receiving the bonuses for negligence and breach of their duty in properly running the company, not only for the return of the bonuses but for the repayment of their salaries.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  39. Dan Jonas

    AIG claiming there was a contract to pay bonuses is a crock. Bonuses are paid on profitability, not failure. The AIG employees should be jailed, not rewarded, especially with taxpayer money, but our government lets it happen, democrates and republicans alike. The AIG employees that took those bonuses had better watch their backs.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  40. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    Hi Tom!!!!
    Happy Patrick's Day to you!!!!! I agree with your comment about AIG.... it is so horrible for people lost their job!

    March 17, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  41. starr formerly known as vincent

    QUESTION: Hey David G., or anyone else...

    when does a company become "too big to fail".? and with that reasoning, should very large mergers continue (i.e Exxon/Mobile?

    I just can't believe that the AIG bonuses HAD to be given at this time.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  42. Kim

    I don't understand how no one heard of this before Tues or Wed of last week.What is going on in this Administration? The President has to give justifiable answers. I am slowly but surely losing Faith.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  43. Kent

    Obviously AIG ran out of common sense several years ago. Send Steve Forbes there to iron those idiots into shape. By the AIG management guide folks who lost their companies money should all be elegible for bonuses instead of being RIFfed. As the manager of AIG, the Feds should rescind the bonuses and let the employees sue to prove they EARNED the bonus. My taxes should not go to people who lost billions, needed a bailout, and expect a bonus.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  44. Robert Lusch

    How stupid are our elected officials? The average person saw these bailouts, particularly to AIG, as sheer idiocy while our inept leaders shoved the plans down our throats as quickly as possible. How stupid are our leaders?

    March 17, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  45. Steve from the U.P. of michigan

    The American tax payer currently has an 80 percent interest in AIG.
    As tax paying Americans, we request the names of the employees we are paying bonuses to be published.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  46. Bridget, TX

    Hi Foreman, it is nice to see you blogging with us. I thought, I was beyond being shocked but since the economic crisis fallout, I find I am constantly amazed at the greed, arrogance, cockiness and stupidity of those on Wall Street and some of those who supposed to be serving us in Washington. Jindal turned down money with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. His state is still suffering from Katrina, with millions of dollar sitting somewhere raising interest but not being used. The stupidity actually exceeds the greed in some cases.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  47. Casey Jones - Palm Springs, CA

    Non-profit is a growth area–that's interesting. But after spending a bazillian dollars on an education, what college graduates are really going to seek out this work? Is that really practical or pragmatic?

    March 17, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  48. cindy Appleton

    Good on you for being in New Orleans – used to live there – what a fabulous place! Thanks for going back!
    I am quite sure that I am not the only one to have the idea for clawing back that 165 million in bonuses to AIG execs and say..... give it directly to taxpayers. I'm sure there are at least 165 million of us who would love to get say one mill. apiece – we didn't start this mess, but we could end it.....overnight. We'd stimulate the economy – we'd pay off our mortgages, medical bills, put our kids through college, buy goods, invest in the stock market and maybe even start a small business that would employ people. yep, that's what should be done, but probably won't happen as frankly it makes too much sense. Shame on AIG, Bank of America.....just to name a couple.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  49. EJ (USA)

    I have applied at tons of nonprofits, for profits, everywhere. Ohio is just not where its at.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  50. Isabel, Brazil

    Is Anderson wearing green today?

    March 17, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
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