Bonuses at AIG ain't the problem or the outrage

I think, as a whole, we’re missing the boat on AIG. Yes, the bonuses in the face of failure, catastrophic failure, are difficult to wrap our minds around but let’s just step back for a minute and look at the greater picture. We, the American taxpayers, owned 80% of AIG. AIG is a huge insurance and financial services company. It seems to me, as majority owners of the company, that we need to figure out what is good in this company and sell off or close or liquidate the rest of the company. The department that thought up, bought and sold Credit Default Swabs needs to be cut, paired down and fired. Senator Grassley suggested that those folks commit suicide. I think that’s going a little too far but they need to be gone. Take whatever you have in your hands and leave. Bye-bye. Why hasn’t this been done yet?

Some on Wall Street are getting nervous as they see the dust-up over AIG. They should be nervous. If you have been bailed out and we own you then we are going to be corporate raiders like it is the 1980s again. We’ll keep the good and throw out the bad.

BTW, I’m not buying the line that we have contract that can’t be broken. All of those contracts have some clause that can and will let the company off the hook. They always have these types of clauses. Contracts are broken all the time in the US. Our courts are filled with folks who want to break a contract. (Glenn has much more.)

My problem is that our government is reluctant to step up (not Obama, but the other people that work for you and me) and do what is necessary. There are too many folks in the Treasury that have bought into the leave business alone theory of government. This theory isn’t going to work any more. I need for my government to protect my investments in AIG, Citibank and others. We have bought large portions of these companies because we were told that we had to. Okay. Now let’s do the right thing for the investors – us!

See video:

Eliot Spitzer has written a very thoughtful post.

0 Responses

  1. My problem is that our government is reluctant to step up

    You and me both. The first time congress pointed angry fingers at the evil CEO’s and went on about how angry / disappointed / impatient they were, I bought it. I said to my newspaper “You tell ’em congress! I’m mad too!”

    By the second time it had lost its charm. As a taxpayer (read: victim) there isn’t much I can do other than whine about what’s going on. The US government, however, can do something. They are loaning the money which means they get to call the shots. I am utterly fed up with congress whining along with me when what they *should* be doing is making demands.

    I’m not a legislator, but it seems simple and I don’t know why this isn’t being done:

    1.) Demand transparency in return for any loan.
    2.) Require the banks to offer fully auditable paper trails for every penny they receive from the US.
    3.) Start issuing indictments to anyone at AIG & Friends who fails to deliver.

    Banks play 0-compassion 0-excuses hardball with the consumer every day, even after they ruined out economy. Why is it so hard for us to play hardball with them when they need it most?

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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