The problems at AIG

There is such a thing as a “bandwagon”, and our US Congress is not exempt.  Sure, people were pissed about the bonuses paid to workers at AIG.  They took billions in taxpayer dollars, and are giving out millions in bonuses to its employees.

But here’s the thing.  They took $180,000,000,000 in taxpayer dollars so far, and could need more.  The $165,000,000 in bonuses that they paid out is less than 1% of the taxpayer dollars.  Is anyone paying attention that AIG had to pay out the equivalent of 1/4 of the bonus money due to the US Airways flight 1549 ditching in the Hudson?  Yeah, they insured the plane for $40,000,000.

But there are two things here.  First, it was the unregulated “credit default swap” program that is the real problem.  That needs to get reviewed and regulated.  Hell, I should not be allowed to take out a bet on YOU that you would die before next holiday season, without even knowing you, should I?  And then other people wrap bets around that, that have even less of a tie to you – that is just absurd.

Second, these AIG people worked for an annual salary of $1.  That’s right, ONE DOLLAR.  They had the bonuses to be paid out as their salary; they were working in good faith that they would get paid for the time they worked.  And the bandwagon of taxing the bonuses at 90% – give me a freakin’ break…  Next time AIG wants money, deduct $165,000,000 from it.  Or sieze assets worth the same amount.  But these people get a salary of $1, plus a bonus, and have to pay 90% tax on that bonus.  What, if anything is RIGHT with that scenario?

You want to hear it from the horse’s mouth?  There’s a good “Dear AIG: I quit!” OpEd over at the New York Times.  Gives you a good perspective on the situation.

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