In today's AIG hearing, Massachusetts Representative Stephen Lynch (not to be confused with comedian Stephen Lynch, who has penned such masterpieces as "Hermaphrodite") along with others committee members, lambasted AIG CEO Edward Liddy for the bonuses to be paid to AIG executives. A couple of points:
1) Liddy was not the CEO when the bonuses were drafted. He made that clear to the committee, and added that he would not have done them this way. Despite this, Lynch still went after him personally, so much so that Liddy took offense. "Offense was meant, Sir," replied Lynch.
2) Liddy was there voluntarily, because he was asked, much like he was asked to take over the failing AIG, by the government. His salary as CEO? One dollar.
3) One committe member said (condescendingly, I thought) that Liddy should just not pay the bonuses, pointing out that the bonuses amount to only about a tenth of one percent of the bailout money AIG received. I guess the idea is that because it's not that much, it's not worth causing all this trouble. The trouble is, you could argue that same point the other way: since it's only a fraction of the bailout money, and is contractually required, it's not worth causing all this trouble. Just pay it and move on. Institute measures to prevent it in the future, if you want, but this is done. Seriously, how much is it costing in time and money just to hold the hearings, not to mention the probable resulting lawsuits should either AIG or congress try to renege on the contracts. I'm no happier than anyone else that some of these people are getting bonuses, but a contract is a contract. I think it's a dangerous precedent to let congress decide what contracts should or should not be upheld.
4) So...Democratic congressmen are going after the current CEO of AIG, even though he wasn't presiding over the company at the time everything happened? The same group of congressmen who keep insisting that the current crisis isn't the fault of the current administration, and keep reminding people that they inherited it? Really? Pot...kettle...you know the drill.
5) I can't say this enough: these bonuses are contractual. Not only are they contractual, but the legislation, written by Congress, that provided the bailout monies to AIG had language in it to preserve the bonuses!! Chris Dodd and Barack Obama were the top two recepients of AIG contributions from 2000-2008, so one might wonder how that language got in there...but I digress. All that is happening here is that Congress is trying to deflect their own incompetence in passing this bill (obviously without having read it) by going after Liddy, who frankly is the only innocent in the whole shebang.
6) This didn't happen today, but I just wanted to say that Chuck Schumer is a miserable fuckin' lowlife for a lot of reasons, but lately it's because of his statement that if the bonuses weren't returned voluntarily, "we will do it for you." Frankly, I'm surprised we even heard the statement, considering that his head was, as usual, up his ass. Someone should remind this assdart, who recently remarked that the American people didn't care about "porky" amendments, that like AIG after receiving bailout money, he also is responsible to the American people! I wonder how he would respond if he was asked to give back his salary because of Congress's miserable approval numbers and track record, including failure to prevent this economic crisis. It would actually be easier to influence that money, I think--let's just not vote him back to office. I just can't express strongly enough my dislike for Chuck Schemer.