March 17th, 2009
10:17 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 03/17/09

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/02/liveblogfinal.copy.jpg]

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.

Here are some of them:

1) Keep it short (we don't have time to read a "book")

2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (there's no need to yell)

3) Use your real name (first name only is fine)

4) No links

5) Watch your language (keep it G-rated; PG at worst - and that includes $#&*)

And take a look at our live web camera from the 360° studio. Watch the WEBCAM

Filed under: Live Blog • T1
soundoff (302 Responses)
  1. Robert, Reno, NV

    Innovation is what makes this country great. We have a TON of people (including everyone on here) that are brilliant. We just need to figure out the path! And again, THANK YOU to all the volunteers in NOLA. I wish I could be there to help out!

    March 17, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  2. Stephen Wilkerson Maryland


    Seems to me that some people want to pick apart every phrase, second guess every decision. Community service is a way to get in the game.


    March 17, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  3. Dodie from Irvine, CA

    @ David Gergen Good Evening

    Talking about AIG gives me indigestion.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:46 pm |

    Even those of my friends with graduate degrees are having trouble finding jobs. And those that have found jobs, in general its not in the area they're interested in, or a job they want to do long term. But most of them say, they'll take whatever they can get. Also a lot of them are going back to grad school or continuing on directly from undergrad

    March 17, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  5. Don, WA

    A Barn Raising in The Big Easy could get contagious through the country in hard times – keep the hammers swinging everywhere.

    Green light on green tortillas! (just keep the thorns from the prickly pears out)!

    March 17, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  6. Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio

    Those tortillas look like something I would be interested in! I am glad he is online.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  7. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    Hellooo David G!!!
    I agree with your comment, Yes it is so depressing for us to hear that!!!!!! I am really disappoint with AIG!!!!!!! I hope not give to employees!

    March 17, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  8. Rodney

    AIG executive bonuses are remarkable following the massive loss of capital resulting from their extreme incompetence and greed. It is as if a thief had broken into your house, and cleaned out your safe, and as he was fleeing down the driveway, you stopped him, handed him your wallet and gratefully said, " Don't forget this."

    Dyer, Indiana

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

    @Robert, Fort Lauderdale, I hope things work out for you. Everyday people are suffering while we watch those who ran the country were paraded by the media and those paid to serve us as the best of the best. Now we're learning that it was all a lie and most knew it but said nothing because they gained from the lie.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  10. Isabel, Brazil

    A few years ago in Brazil, the government did something alike. So was created a different classification for Small Enterprise (micro). For companies that have a low annual turnover, the payment of taxes can be made simpler and optantes companies collect the taxes and contributions due, calculated on gross revenues through the application of single aliquot.

    This encouragement of the government saved many companies from bankruptcy. And as a result minimized unemployment.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  11. mike - moreland, ga

    We need to reinstitue the idea of debtors' prison. These financial institution management types thought it was a cool idea in the 19th century to send common people to prison when they couldn't pay their debts, so let's turn the table and send the AIG managers and executives to debtors prison for not making good on their financial obligations.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  12. Maren in Oregon

    A non-fat, low calorie tortilla? I'm on board with that. Wraps are delicious.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  13. kierstyn

    Mr, Cooper Although a Border seperates our brothrs and sisters we are not immune to the difficulties that all of us are experiencing as a taxpayer. We too are involved in BAILOUTS.I have been watching the AIG bailout in the US but I have yet to here anything about the Canadian Branch of AIG. Being a BANKER for 13 years i am discusted at the fraud committed. As both our Countries transfer so much money to 3 rd world coutries in a time of Crisis I am asking on behalf of my family and friends is there anything we can do to help in one way or another. We are all loseing. I once heard in a School play that United we Stand Divided we Fall. What can we do on this side of the Border and where can we get this information to help our Brothers and Sisters. We thank you for keeping us informed.
    Kierstyn & Bob

    March 17, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  14. Rikki, Fargo, ND

    Mr. Gergen, I agree! They really need to get that oversight that they keep promising in place. But I'm curious they say AIG is too big to fail...what puts a company in that category of 'too big to fail'?

    March 17, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  15. Lori from IL

    Tom - I agree, CNN is at it's best when reporters and anchors are out of the studio. Would like to see 360 do this type of thing again and visit small towns, yet another perspective.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  16. Melinda

    Americans really do come through in times of stress. I am so impressed with those who are out of work building homes and helping others! Great for all concerned to be active and make a difference. Even the general public seems friendly lately – We Americans really bond in times of trouble...

    March 17, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  17. Casey Jones - Palm Springs, CA

    Small business is the heart that infuses the entire economy! Ingenius!!!

    March 17, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  18. Dodie from Irvine, CA

    Talking about AIG gives me indigestion.

    ((( AIG is synonymous to financial terrorism )))

    March 17, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  19. Jim Coakley, Metuchen NJ

    Can't even one AIG bonus baby come forward and say "I don't deserve this bonus. I'm ripping up my bonus agreement voluntarily. Keep the money."? Not even one??!!

    March 17, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  20. Isabel, Brazil

    Anderson Cooper and producers,

    Alonso Arellano has a small business?
    Will he be helped by the plan of the President?

    March 17, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  21. Eddie Moon

    It's great that there are a number of volunteers in New Orleans to help that city and their people get back on their feet. But, what about Galveston and the Texas Gulf Coast? It's not even on the radar screen at all. Galveston is like a ghost town now. It's future is really bleak. I really would like for you Anderson to come down here for a change. We need help as well.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  22. Damian, TX

    How can we get mad, we're the ones who said it was okay. Talk about the blind leading the blind. Everybody is focusing on how can we get out of this slump right now, that no one is paying attention to the overall situation. The mentality is: We will deal with it when it gets here. Well, this is just the beginning. Get ready for more.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  23. Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio

    I think innovation is the key to a company's survival.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  24. Mando in Texas

    If necessity is the Mother of Invention...............
    Then innovation must be the son of Recession.

    Green Tortillas and on St. Patrick's day nonetheless.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  25. Caroline, Los Angeles

    @Tom Foreman-yes, if it's income it'll be taxed, but how much suffering can that cause when someone earning $1.4 million has to give, say, a mere $180,000 of that back to the Fed?

    That's pain? If that's pain then please, someone torture me with a million dollars!

    March 17, 2009 at 10:44 pm |

    interesting question raised about when a company is too big to fail...i've had some discussions with economic types over the idea that such companies should perhaps be thought of as "too big to exist" if they can pose such a singular threat to the overall economy.

    just like we don't allow private companies to build up their own militaries, the argument would be that these companies threaten u.s. security

    thoughts, gang?

    March 17, 2009 at 10:43 pm |
  27. Greg B

    Why is it that most of the American public was aware that AIG would be paying huge bonuses from the bailout funds...and yet Obama and all his alleged "top people" failed to see it coming?

    March 17, 2009 at 10:43 pm |
  28. Rachael,Va

    That Madoff was bought by illegal fund and same with is wife(unless they can fully prove that none of the money is his), ain't people intitled to everything he owns?

    Don't understand why a lot of religious people believe sex is only for reproduction? The bible say that sex is a gift to you after marriage, and not just for reproduction.
    Dad just ranting about how he think there going against mother nature because it second strongest instinct beside survivial.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:43 pm |
  29. Dodie from Irvine, CA

    Wondering why we can not create a law which limits bonuses...

    Is it true that AIG is on the payroll for Federal Government Employee retirement pensions??? maybe that is why Washington is bailing them out....

    March 17, 2009 at 10:43 pm |
  30. Gloria, Brooklyn, NY

    It's good to know New Orleans is to comie back full speed ahead, hopefully.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:43 pm |
  31. Dennis Shook

    It`s not about bonuses, and it`s not about stock options. It`s about executive compensation and the huge amount of it. Call it what you will, it`s simply too much. Executive compensation need to be reduced to about the ratio it was in the 1960`s in comparison to the lower salaries and wages, and companies need to be more regulated to prevent their getting too big to fail. AIG is simply a poster child for whats wrong with corporations and executive salaries today.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:43 pm |
  32. Lamar- Aiken SC

    Here's an idea....why doesn't the gov give our money to us...so we can pay our bills and dept. We tha people can put our money to work for us better than the banks can. That will stimulate the economy and will most likely be cheaper for us all.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  33. David Gergen

    Hello everyone - the AIG story is soooo depressing that it was good to have those young volunteers from Americorps there on air tonight cheering. They cheered me up, too.

    Lots of fingerpointing in Washington today over who is to blame for AIG bonuses. One thing is clear: our political leaders need to get their oversight management in place ASAP and BEFORE any more bailouts of companies "too big to fail".

    March 17, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  34. Maren in Oregon

    I hope someone does stories on the corruption in NOLA tha is largely responsible for preventing it's actual recovery.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  35. Lori from IL

    Tom, Love that you got a message from your dog -

    Happy St. Patrick's Day!

    March 17, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  36. Lauren--NY

    I think African heads of state should start banning the Pope from entrance to their countries. They have every right to do so; he's not a monarch, president or prime minister. If he starts barging into other people's territory and spreading propaganda that flies in the face of every ounce of current scientific research, then they should throw him out.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  37. Cherry B - Ms

    So glad some of those Madoff victims will get a little relief. Amazing that this maniac actually got away with this, at least for awhile.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  38. Nattada, Houston, TX

    GLad to hear that Madoff's victims can get their money back.

    God bless all the valunteers. They are really sacrificing their time and effort in doing good deeds.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  39. Joseph

    the government giveth and AIG taketh, taketh, taketh taketh ......

    March 17, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  40. Chris Sosa - Boston, MA

    Does Pope Benedict XVI reside on this planet with the rest of us? Really unintelligent and counterproductive stance on his part.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  41. Philip, Bangkok

    If Katrina had happened in a third world country, Washington would be calling the resultant inaction a disgrace. Why aren't the funds being used to pay the volunteers? It would also help stimulate the economy.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  42. Michelle

    Didn't a couple of senators try and put something
    in the stimulus that would have prevented the AIG
    problem. I think 360 having people on the air saying
    clamping down on bonuses was an attack on capitalism
    and unfair to successful rich people.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  43. Dodie from Irvine, CA

    Good Evenings

    More important, the bonus issue is distracting from a bigger mess: the $44 billion in taxpayer funds AIG paid out to make good on payments due other financial firms.
    That sum includes
    $7 billion to Barclays (nyse: BCS – news – people ),
    $6.4 billion to Deutsche Bank (nyse: DB – news – people ),
    $4.9 billion to BNP Paribas (other-otc: BNPQY.PK – news – people ),
    $3.3 billion to HSBC (nyse: HBC – news – people ), among others.
    Many of those payments went, without restriction, to the coffers of the same Wall Street banks who paid out $20 billion in bonuses in 2008.

    ((( AIG is synonymous to financial terrorism )))

    March 17, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  44. Casey Jones - Palm Springs, CA

    So, Kira, since I brought up the question (about non-profit jobs) tell us what you know or what your friends are telling you, or what your perspective is, please.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  45. Jacqueline, NY

    Casey Jones – Palm Springs, CA
    "Thank goodness the blog got started! I almost fainted from the withdrawal! "

    Casey, you're crazy! Thanks for the laughs.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  46. Esma

    What I really want to know, and this isn't only in reference to AIG, but all the other companies, Bernie Madoffs, and so on is why is it so hard for people to be honest and do the right thing?

    March 17, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  47. Xavier - Portland OR

    @ Robert in Reno, NV

    You hit the nail on the head. Maybe you should run for office. You'd get my vote.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  48. Jay Baydala

    Re: non-profits. Indeed there is an increase in volunteerism, but it is critical to note that we are also seeing a massive increase in micro-philanthropy. People choosing between a coffee and a donation are willing to donate $5, if you make it easy and show them they made a difference.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  49. Rikki, Fargo, ND

    I really like the focus of volunteerism in NOLA! It is so wonderful and reassuring to see the kindness in people's hearts...especially since so often it seem like all of that is disappearing!

    March 17, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  50. Caroline, Los Angeles

    Hi Anderson and live bloggers. Can't stay, have to run, but I think it's very timely that AC 360 is doing a feature on volunteerism, especially as it relates to NoLa. I know one of the things I've looked into is joining Americorp in lieu of getting employed or going to grad school.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
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