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You know what really gets my goat about AIG shelling out 165 million of our tax dollars to the top executives of the very same division that destroyed the company?
EVERYTHING, that’s what!! The arrogance, the greed, the secrecy, the lies, the elitism, the thievery, the weaseling, the numbskullduggery, the inconceivable nincompoopery! Skunk farms don’t stink as bad as this scandal.
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But one particular aspect of it hasn’t received enough attention, and it really rubs me raw. It’s the rationalization that was made by AIG’s CEO, and then docilely accepted as truth by Obama’s top economic team. Their claim is that, since the bonuses were part of the employment contracts of the executives, everyone must now bow down and meekly pay up. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner says he’ll prevent future AIG bonuses, but, alas, he shrugged, the sanctity of the existing contracts must be honored. “It would be legally difficult to prevent these contractually mandated payments,” he whimpered.
Come on, there are amoebas with more backbone than this! There is nothing sacred about a corporate contract – just ask union members and other workers. CEOs routinely abrogate legal contracts on wages, health care, and pensions for working folks. In fact, just last December, Washington demanded that car companies simply tear up their contracts with the United Auto Workers. Yet, suddenly we’re to believe that AIG’s contracts with these rich, incompetent investment bankers are so sacrosanct that even the President of the United States must stand impotently aside while they rob our public treasury?
This is a defining moment on whether the Obamacans have the stuff to stand up to corporate power. They should confiscate these ill-gotten bonuses, then let the recipients sue to get the money back – if they dare.
“To the losers go the spoils,” Austin American Statesman, March 17, 2009.
“At A.I.G., Huge Bonuses After $170 Billion Bailout,” The New York Times, March 15, 2009.
“Foreign and U.S. Banks Were Given Billions Against Bad Debt,” The New York Times, March 16, 2009.
“Bracing for a Bailout Backlash,” The New York Times, March 16, 2009.
“Wall Street Arrogance Meets Washington Meekness,” www.creators.com, March 17, 2009.
“How to Stop AIG’s Bonuses,” www.accuracy.org, March 16, 2009.