If I was to try and personify AIG, I would do so by making it like a high school grrl whose daddy just didn't pay enough attention to her... that's right, she (AIG) would be handing it out. And of course, the "special gift" it would be handing out would be money, not worn out grrl parts... but it works...
AIG, the troubled global insurance company that is more than 79% owned by the American government, has announced that it is about to pay out some $165 million dollars in retention bonuses to its employees this week. Not bad for a company who last week was crying poor and had just gone back to the government with hat in hand asking for a few more sheckles to help it through its economic troubles.
The American Insurance Group (AIG), a company with global financial interests, has had to borrow $170 billion (that's with a 'B') from the government last year just to keep its lights on. And despite that, AIG managed to pay out $450 million in bonuses last year. $450 million!!!! It was those bonuses that has led many Americans to ask how anyone in a company that is claiming to be on the hook for billions managed to do anything that warranted a bonus of any kind. Are not bonuses paid out for doing good work? What... was AIG heading for a trillion in debt and these financial ninjas managed to get it to just under half? I don't know about you guys, but if you ask me a company billions in the hole should not have too many bonuses to pay out.
Of course, while paying out the bonuses, AIG's chairman and CEO Edward Liddy expressed regret over the whole mess, but followed that by saying "We cannot attract and retain the best and brightest talent to lead and staff the AIG businesses which are now being operated on behalf of the American taxpayers."
Well, ain't that sweet of him. Let's show Mr. Liddy some appreciation as he is oh so fucking cautious without money...
AIG maintains that while it sees the issue Congress, the President, and the American public has with the bonus payments, it maintains that the payments are not only necessary but required. In a letter sent to Lil' Timmy Geithner, our nation's finest economic mind, Mr. Liddy expresses his regret about the bonuses, but also claims that the bonuses are contractually guaranteed to its employees, and that AIG has an obligation to pay these bonuses out. The letter also claims that AIG is going to owe it's employees another $200 million in bonuses later on this year, but that it will try and get that number down by 30% (and again, that was TRY, not WILL DO).
The White House has commented on the whole AIG bonus thing by stating that while it finds the bonuses paid out by AIG to be inappropriate and unacceptable, but that they [AIG] is contractually bound to make these payments and they cannot be avoided. The White House also strongly hopes that AIG will be able to renegotiate these contracts to get the bonus figure reduced.
Maybe it is just me, but while I am a fan of the Free Market, and the invisible hand it uses to rule the world, I must admit that these bonuses being paid out are a lump of shit. I mean, are these people fucking kidding us?
Contractual obligations or not, this company is hundreds of billions of dollars in the hole to the American taxpayer yet they have the scratch to bonus off a couple of executives for their hard work (riding the golden goose to the ground)? Is it like the fucking SATs in there? Do you get five hundie just for writing your name right? Are these people so stupid or so greedy that they do not see the vulgarity of this practice in this current political climate? But not to seem like a rabble rouser, or like I am all bitch and no plan; I would like to propose a solution for this situation. A solution that will not only handle the crisis, but make sure that when it is all over, the market (and thus the American economy) will be strong and secure.
Let them die.
Do not give AIG another bloody nickel. Liquidate their assets on the open market to make the money back that they owe the American people. Have the executive officers at the helm when the loan was made make up the difference. Let what should have happened a year ago happen now. Let AIG die.
We have tried two rounds of bailouts and still nothing is better. Maybe killing off one of these toxic companies is the only thing to do.