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Kevin Wolf

I'm not sure I can comment on this whole mess without completely losing my shit. I left a comment over at Shakesville in an open thread re AIG and, as is clear to anybody reading it, my blood pressure was surely rising.

Susan

I'd be inclined to argue that this is yet another reason we need confiscatory income taxes on gigantic incomes. Back to the glorious socialist days of Ike when the top rate was over 90%, and fix it so these monsters can't weasel their incomes past the IRS by calling it "capital gains" or some other name. Clean them out, shake them down, and when they die collect 90% of what they leave.

And one more thing - we now own 80% of AIG. That means we own the company. What in the hell is CEO Barack Obama waiting for? Fire them all, strip them, throw them and their families out in the streets.

Yes, I'm that angry. We have a country with the worst social safety net in the developed world and here we are throwing money at sociopaths.

Linkmeister

It's a really skewed compensation structure that has year-end "bonuses" as the bulk of an employee's pay. Apparently it's a holdover from the time when investment banks were partnerships and the firm's partners shared in the income or loss of the partnership, which couldn't be determined till year's end.

I submit that once they became publicly-held firms their boards should have redesigned the system. Ex post facto argument, I know, and not relevant to right now, but should any of us be in such a position in the future, let's all bear it in mind.

Willie

It's even more dismal:

"A.I.G. employees concocted complex derivatives that then wormed their way through the global financial system. If they leave -- the buzz on Wall Street is that some have, and more are ready to -- they might simply turn around and trade against A.I.G.'s book. Why not? They know how bad it is. They built it.

So as unpalatable as it seems, taxpayers need to keep some of these brainiacs in their seats, if only to prevent them from turning against the company. In the end, we may actually be better off if they can figure out how to unwind these tricky investments."

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/17/business/17sorkin.html?_r=2&hp

Barb

FALLOUT GROWS: Those who voted for the stimulus supported the clause to protect the AIG's bonuses. Obama's Own Stimulus Bill Protects the AIG Bonuses He Now Condemns —


http://www.butasforme.com/2009/03/17/obamas-stimulus-bill-explicitly-grants-aig-the-legal-right-to-hand-out-bonuses/

Chris The Cop


Barb - I went to your link and it is absolutley astounding.

I only hope the language cited ("shall not be construed to prohibit any bonus payment required to be paid") can also be 'construed' to mean that bonuses are not required to be handed out. 73 AIG executives got $1 milion + in bonuses????? (per Andrew Cuomo) Are ya kiddin' me?

I thought it would take Democrats at least a couple months to show they were as fiscally irresponsible (and corrupt) as Republicans, but hey, I didn't think Buffalo would lose four straight Super Bowls, eiher.


Apostate

Disgraceful. Worse than that. There are no words. Crooks, the bloody lot of them. We need a revolution and their backs to the wall.

sfmike

The "financial services industry" was essentially taken over by organized crime quite some time ago so I'm not quite sure why everyone is so surprised by this behavior. They also own just about everyone in politics including my local, supposedly liberal representatives Nancy Pelosi and Dianne Feinstein. It's going to be fascinating (and frightening) watching how this all shakes out.

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