In his Address to Congress last month, the President made no bones about the fact that in order to get out of our current financial mess, we need to stabilize banks and get them lending to regular folks again.
So I know how unpopular it is to be seen as helping banks right now, especially when everyone is suffering in part from their bad decisions. I promise you — I get it.
It's not about helping banks — it's about helping people. Because when credit is available again, that young family can finally buy a new home. And then some company will hire workers to build it. And then those workers will have money to spend, and if they can get a loan too, maybe they'll finally buy that car, or open their own business. Investors will return to the market, and American families will see their retirement secured once more. Slowly, but surely, confidence will return, and our economy will recover.
Obviously, financial industry greed is one of the reasons we’re in this mess, and telling the American people that another bailout is on the horizon isn’t going to be very popular. However, I can live with the above idea because we need to get money into the hands of people who will spend it and spending gets the economy moving again. I get it.
Enter AIG. These assholes of the universe so intertwined the worlds economy, that without government intervention, their collapse would bring everybody with them. The government does what they can to keep order and infuses AIG with $170 billion and takes an 80% share of the company.
So why, why, why do they think they can get away with doling out $165 million in bonuses, mostly to the jerks who got the company in this mess to begin with? They say that they are contractually obligated to pay the bonuses. They also say that they’re afraid afraid of the brain drain, losing the top minds of the company if they don’t pony up:
These employees are highly specialized and/or are part of businesses that control billions of dollars of revenue and value that will be needed to repay the U.S. taxpayer," Liddy wrote in a letter last month. "Our competitors understand how valuable our top executives are, and we are acutely aware that they would like to siphon off our most talented leaders.
If they’re so goddamned smart, why are we in this mess?!?! In Hollywood, the saying goes, “you’ll never work in this town again!” A doctor screws up, somebody dies, and lives are affected negatively. An engineer screws up, a bridge collapses, and hundreds lives are affected negatively. These guys negatively affected millions of people around the world and they are getting bonuses?! Brand them with a scarlet letter and never let them see the inside of a financial institution again. I don’t care how smart they are, THEY SHOULD NEVER WORK AGAIN!
This is so upsetting. Instead of getting the public to get behind another bailout, which would benefit everybody, Obama has to spin some tough talk directed at AIG, the biggest problem of all. The best Obama can do is order Treasury Secretary Geithner to try and stop the bonus payments. It makes me wonder what AIG has on the government. It appears that they’re accountable to no one.