George Graham

Bailed Out Insurance Giant Gives Out Bonuses Despite Record Loss

What special influence does American International Group exert in Washington? What right does it have to taxpayer money that I don’t know about? Why does the government keep pouring billions of dollars into the insurance giant’s coffers? Why not simply let the damn thing collapse?

In addition to distributing billions in bailout funds to undisclosed beneficiaries, AIG is giving its executives tens of millions of dollars in new bonuses. To me, this is just plain theft. What could those executives have done to deserve bonuses? After all, AIG lost $61.7 billion in the fourth quarter of last year, the largest corporate loss in history. I would think its executives earned pink slips, not bonuses.

liddygeithnerThe company says that it is contractually obligated to pay a total of about $165 million in previously awarded “retention pay.” And another $55 million has already been distributed to employees. The Treasury Department says it did not have the legal authority to block the bonuses. But Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (photo above, right) called AIG Chairman Edward Liddy (photo above, left) to demand that AIG scale back future bonus payments “where legally possible.”

That’s it? If you were president, wouldn’t you let AIG go bust and form a public agency to handle its obligations, as the government did when the Savings & Loans were looted two decades ago? I cannot fathom why AIG has received taxpayer bailouts totaling more than $170 billion dollars, especially since $30 billion was handed out after President Obama took over. Is AIG so powerful that neither Bush nor Obama dares to refuse to give the company billions of tax dollars?

Could there be a sinister force behind the cuurent financial disaster, which has brought the world’s economy to its knees? You will recall that the S&L debacle was engineered by organized crime. I wonder whether the cuurrent financial collapse was due to a similar conspiracy – a conspiracy so frightening that not even a U.S. President can oppose it.

About the author

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com