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.

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. Maria

    I wish her get well soon

    March 17, 2009 at 10:54 pm |
  2. Moore, NC

    Richardson story truly is tradgic

    March 17, 2009 at 10:54 pm |
  3. Rikki, Fargo, ND

    My thoughts and prayers go out to Natasha and her family for quick and full recovery!

    March 17, 2009 at 10:54 pm |
  4. Lydia

    Hi Anderson

    I am so furious regarding AIG. The agreement to give bailout money should have been reviewed for any loopholes and disclosures and high penalities for violations especially in this time where so many are losing there jobs, layoffs, benefits cuts and pay cuts. Our government has some of the best legal counsel in the world and not structuring this bailout agreement corrrectly and holding these companies accountable is a incomprehensible.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:54 pm |
  5. Paul

    Where is the outrage towards the congressional leaders who didn't do their job. They just try to hold everyone else accountable, who is going to do the same to them.
    Leaders like Sen Dodd were helping adding amendments to protect just the kind of bonus that was doled out. Just Unbelievable.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:54 pm |
  6. Nattada, Houston, TX

    My preyer goes to Natasha.
    Hope she get well and get back on her feet soon.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:53 pm |
  7. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    My heart goes to Natasha Richarson...... Get well soon Natasha!!!

    March 17, 2009 at 10:53 pm |
  8. Dodie from Irvine, CA

    @ Lori from IL

    I completely agree with you. They are using the "fear card" which works so well in the USA

    March 17, 2009 at 10:53 pm |
  9. Maren in Oregon

    @ Tom Foreman: any monopoly is a dangerous threat to our survival. Our economy, the world';s economy, can be viewed as a new type of feudalism. We are the tax paying serfs, the legislative bodies, state and federal, represnt the various peerages which develop. The corporations and their highest ranking leaders, are the seriously high ranking – equivalent of Dukes, Lords and on up to the Kings, who rule us now. If anyoe thinkg this economic collapse was an accident of regulation, it wasn't. it was deliberate and is designed to further reorganize the pie – so to speak. Guess who gets the crust?

    March 17, 2009 at 10:53 pm |
  10. LisaL - Canada

    hi anderson
    different kind of broadcast from LA – much closer to the heart of the people. i guess being on the road is a good reason to shed the Suit and Tie – you look comfortable – nice t-shirt!

    wow. the crowd behind you tonight is very high-spirited – you can fractically FEEL the energy.

    looking forward to the rest of the "on-the-road" rescue series.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:53 pm |
  11. Annette

    Who are these employees of the American people that took these bonus'? Have they no conscience? I fear for the future and was appalled that I hesitated to give the local boy scouts food for the local food bank. At least we still have food on the table. I bet they wouldn't like their names made public but "we" paid them, so who are they? Seems like a witch hunt but what were they thinking? I know it is just a small part of the story but the rich are richer because they took from less fortunate. Robin Hood were are you now.......

    March 17, 2009 at 10:52 pm |
  12. Jacqueline, NY

    I'll say a prayer for Natasha Richardson.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:52 pm |
  13. Nancy

    Why is it no one asked me if I wanted to spend my money bailing out AIG? How can you expect me to pay for something I did not agree to. I must perform to get my bonus.

    AIG exec obviously did not perform when they have to beg the american people for a bail out.

    Let it go under, there are other companies that will insure the same things AIG does.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:52 pm |
  14. Don, WA

    Yes Tom Forman – you can't put so many eggs in one basket – AIG has it's tentacles everywhere and that's why they think they can get away with anything – there just "too big for their own britches."

    March 17, 2009 at 10:52 pm |
  15. Dodie from Irvine, CA

    @ sabel, Brazil

    That sounds like a good idea.
    I think our problem is that AIG is also involved in Washington DC government employees retirement pension...

    creating a...... conflict of interest! AIG also seems to have paid wallstreet billions of dollars so they seem to be all linked together. What a mess

    March 17, 2009 at 10:52 pm |
  16. Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio

    I wish the best for Ms. Richardson and her family. She is a wonderful actress.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:51 pm |
  17. beth

    What about the fact that Geithner, Chris Dodd, Barney Frank and others knew about the bonuses at least a week ago– maybe longer? Why the sudden outrage over the last few days? Distraction maybe?

    March 17, 2009 at 10:51 pm |
  18. Bea

    Is the green tortilla thing really new? I've seen them before but maybe they were his. Great if so.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:51 pm |
  19. Gloria, Brooklyn, NY

    Have a good night, everyone!

    March 17, 2009 at 10:51 pm |
  20. Casey Jones - Palm Springs, CA

    @Tom...I heard a great idea that I liked a lot. Why don't we break apart AIG, like we did with the baby bells years ago? I do believe (now) companies can become too big for their own good as well as for the good of the county/state/country where they exist. This brings up other discussion points like consolidation among legacy air carriers, Sirius/XM, and on and on.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  21. Esma

    I really hope Natasha gets well, this is such a sad story.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  22. Jonathan Wilson

    Mr. Gergen I agree with you completely. What if the the American people could do as the Chinese are doing? As we bailout the world the Chinese are buying the world. What if we the people of America could buy these companies rather than our government bailing them out. I have a plan that would cost us nothing at all but trust.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  23. Fred

    Would someone explain the difference between a loan to the
    auto industry (bailout) and farm subsidies, or any government program
    that gives direct pecuniary aid to private industry or individuals.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  24. Lori from IL

    Tom - Thought I heard someone on the "Sunday" circuit talking about enacting legislation that would prevent companies (like AIG) from becoming "too big to fail" - but haven't heard any talk of it since. Not sure why AIG can't be broken up like AT&T was years ago.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  25. gayle mccauley Malden,Mass.

    Perhaps it's time to make laws that could apply in the future,as far as bailouts and bonuses etc. You know to help protect the country from going through this again.That is,of course once we get out of this mess.If there were explicit guidelines set up for the future as far as what the govt. would or wouldn't do regarding bail out funds perhaps it would deter individuals from uncouth business practice to begin with.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  26. Sandy

    saw magazine back cover tonight at daughter's dance studio about AIG (from Aug '94 Parenting magazine): "AIG The financial organization to choose for your great, great, great, great, great grandchild. Over $700 billion in assetts, 50 million customers and 85 years of experience say we'll be around. For her and her grandchildren, too. Insurance/loans/retirement. AIG We Know Money" (boy do they ever). Disgusting.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  27. fred

    If Benny can't keep people very poor and very fecund he's out of work right?

    March 17, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  28. EJ (USA)

    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.

    Sounds like me – except I haven't found the boring uninspiring job that I have no interest in yet.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  29. Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    @David Gergen: I would love for our government to determine how we can prevent companies from getting "too big to fail" to begin with. I realize that AIG is not considered a monopoly but it does make you wonder. Thanks for blogging.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  30. Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio

    Tom, About taxing those bonuses. Doesn't the Bill of Attainder prevent that?

    March 17, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  31. Mary Ann Parker

    I loved the tortilla story. I would like to see CNN cover unemployment among Native Americans. It's never discussed and i find it troubling that it goes unnoticed.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  32. niwat, Chicago, IL

    Completely agreeable with AC there, start small, think big and be innovative.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  33. Lauren--NY

    Kira, I think a graduate degree might actually hurt you because it makes you overqualified for so many things. Not only that, if you needed to take out loans to go to school (as I did for my Bachelor's) then I'd imagine those of you who have Master's degrees and higher are in worse shape than I am in the debt department.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  34. Chris Sosa - Boston, MA

    @Tom – It is a discussion that needs to be had. I understand that at this point in time, given our economic situation, companies like AIG are "too big to fail." However, it seems that such a situation should not be able to occur in the first place. Call it an almost unavoidable fault of capitalism. That raises the question, is there any way to subvert such dangerously large companies from acquiring such power without compromising our capitalistic values?

    March 17, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  35. Bea

    Michelle Obama spoke today about public service versus corporate service. I disagreed with her comments. We need people in the public sector but also people who are public service minded in the corporate sector. This AIG mess demonstrates that. The only way you get to be in decisionmaking positions in that environment is to stay there. She tends to project her own personal experiences onto the rest of the world. She hated it and she bloomed late to public service and so everyone must have.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  36. Dodie from Irvine, CA

    @ Jim Coakley, Metuchen NJ

    Not a chance. They are all Luxury/power hungry sociopaths!!

    March 17, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  37. B

    Can any of the panel explain to me why the government has not broken AIG down into smaller companies to manage to failures? If they are such a large company that is "unable" to fail. Why are we not breaking this into managable entities?

    March 17, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  38. Charlotte

    From the attitude of the country, it scares me that nothing will be done in NOLA! The gov't seems to have wrote the city off, as if it doesn't exist. Love that city and know private citizens are doing all they can, including some celebrities trying to get things done w/their own $$.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  39. Nattada, Houston, TX

    This tortilla story shows that with creativity, innovation, and dedication, you can keep you business going even in this hard time. Keep your hope up and keep going. Cheers to them!! 😀

    March 17, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  40. Guillermo Martinez

    I willingly chose to serve 21 years in the Armed Forces, then finally retiring in Oct 2004. We still have thousands of men and women willingly putting their lives in danger to protect American from enemies (foreign or domestic.)

    AIG must not get away with this! The president must stop this from happening.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  41. Karen C

    Tom Foreman, I keep hoping that, indeed, a by-product of this recession would be to make sure companies cannot become "too big", but I suppose it will clash with "free market" or "captialism" and would be highly unpopular with conservatives. I can hear them panicking even now. Even though I think it would be smart.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  42. Caroline, Los Angeles

    @David--you guys showed us tonight that every one in Congress is guilty. Many of our heavy hitters, including Obama, took money from AIG.

    My great fear with the current administration is that they are just putting on a good show. Both sides of the aisle are talking fierce, talking change, talking prosecuting people for crimes and creating more regulators and regulations, but I fear it's all a show. Let's hope that things really change and if they don't, please keep reporting on the lack of changes!

    March 17, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  43. Lori from IL

    David Gergen,

    Always appreciate your perspective. Is there any legislation being written to stop these companies from becoming "to big to fail?" Seems like AIG is kind of holding us hostage.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  44. Maren in Oregon

    "Reinvention" is a popular catchword, but how does a person, with no assets, no job reinvent themselves? Talking about it is interesting, but actually accomplishing this worthy goal is really difficult. Congrats to those who can.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:47 pm |
  45. Texas Ted

    Just because there were contracts did not mean that the greedy executives had to receive the bonuses. The people who received these bonuses have put themselves in the public's eye as bad idealist.

    America is rightfully holding them in bad moral stature.

    More than shame, punishment. Taxing 35% so that we, the Americans only lose 65%to bonuses is bat guano at best.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:47 pm |
  46. Fay - California

    What is the holdup on oversight management for these bailouts? There has to be accountability–I thought that was supposed to be one of the main goals for any subsequent bailout.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:47 pm |
  47. kristen

    Yay for the surge in volunteerism!!! Research has long proven what philosophers and mom have always said, a happy person is a giving person. Since we can’t find happiness in our bank accounts anymore, we are finding it in a more deeper way…by giving. Perhaps we really will be a better and stronger country when this economic mess is over.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:47 pm |
  48. Kathy

    The fact that AIG is paying bonsuses when the company needs bailout money to survive and that the rebuild in NO is so mismanaged explains why we are in the economic situation we are in. What happened to accountability and doing a honest day's work for a honest day's pay.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:47 pm |
  49. Esma

    Reinvent myself...then can I get a bailout to become the 6 Million Dollar Woman?

    March 17, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  50. Ken in NC

    WOW Good evening Anderson down in the Big Easy. I thought you guys were having issues tonight since I couldn't find the blog at 10PM. Good show tonight. Sad about the state of La. building only one house with all that FEMA money they got 3 years ago. That is shameful.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
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