Up until now I’ve refrained from joining in the orgy of A.I.G.-bashing.
As everyone knows, executives at the insurance giant are under fire for being paid lavish bonuses after their company was bailed out by the government to keep it from going under. President Obama is leading the charge against all this “greed”, and the company is under a virtual siege.
So, just to be contrary, I’ll go on the record and say that those corporate titans deserved every penny that they got.
“Baron,” you say, “Have you lost your mind? These fat cats pocketed $165 million while their company went down the toilet and was rescued by Uncle Sam! How could they possibly deserve those bonuses?”
It’s simple. Those bonuses are mandated by their employment contracts, and are performance-based: the amount of the bonus depends on how much income they bring into A.I.G. Last fall they steered $173 billion into the company’s coffers, thanks to the US government’s generosity with the American taxpayers’ money.
That’s an impressive accomplishment. As corporate managers, their job is to serve their company’s shareholders, a task which they performed admirably. The bonuses are a well-earned reward.
However, now that the government is the effective owner of A.I.G., any further bailout-based bonuses are an obvious conflict of interest.
So this particular gravy train was a one-off. Sorry, guys — that’s it!
The reason I broach this topic is that our new president, Mr. Barack Hussein Obama, received a little bonus of his own from A.I.G. His political campaign pocketed a cool hundred grand from the company during the 2008 election cycle.
According to The Examiner:
Senator Barack Obama received a $101,332 bonus from American International Group in the form of political contributions according to Opensecrets.org. The two biggest Congressional recipients of bonuses from the A.I.G. are — Senators Chris Dodd and Senator Barack Obama.
The A.I.G. Financial Products affiliate of A.I.G. gave out $136,928, the most of any AIG affiliate, in the 2008 cycle. I would note that A.I.G.’s financial products division is the unit that wrote trillions of dollars’ worth of credit-default swaps and “misjudged” the risk.
The Washington Post reports a “mob effect” at A.I.G financial products division:
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A tidal wave of public outrage over bonus payments swamped American International Group yesterday. Hired guards stood watch outside the suburban Connecticut offices of AIG Financial Products, the division whose exotic derivatives brought the insurance giant to the brink of collapse last year. Inside, death threats and angry letters flooded e-mail inboxes. Irate callers lit up the phone lines. Senior managers submitted their resignations. Some employees didn’t show up at all.
Now that the Wall street Journal has revealed that A.I.G. paid bonuses of $1 million or more to 73 employees, it’s time to ask if recipients of A.I.G. “bonuses,” including President Obama, will give what now ought to be taxpayer money back?
But it gets even worse. The administration is employing a bait-and-switch tactic by pounding A.I.G.’s officers for their greed and profligacy while more important issues go unexamined.
It’s relatively easy to set up rich Wall Street executives as greedy fat cats sucking the lifeblood out of the American worker. The tactic is tried-and-true, and it’s been a staple of Democrat rhetoric for well over a hundred years. Nobody ever lost votes by attacking the pig-snouted top-hatted capitalist with his cigar and his big bag of money.
But in this case the stratagem has the added advantage of distracting attention from what A.I.G. actually did with its bailout money. Here’s a report from Bob Owens:
Barack Obama’s lack of leadership in a down economy has now hit crisis proportions, as his claimed inability to block millions of dollars in bonuses for executives of bailout recipient AIG has caused even his supporters to turn on him.
But while the ire of Congress and the media focus are on the $165 million that AIG paid out in bonuses to their executives, the president is hoping you won’t notice the $100 billion in taxpayer bailout dollars that AIG paid out to other banks, including $58 billion to foreign banks and $36 billion given to French and German banks alone.
The Obama administration is allowing AIG to bail out the rest of the world with your tax dollars.
So by all means, the president is happy to have you railing at “evil” but relatively small potatoes AIG executive bonuses, as it points your outrage away from his own far more costly executive abuses.
It’s worth noting that this process — in which the government pulls money from the pockets of American taxpayers and funnels it through A.I.G. to prop up the international banking system — is one small piece of the Obama plan to create a socialist state in America.
First you destroy the collective wealth of ordinary people by devaluing their assets, assuming their mortgages, and taxing them to the bone. While you’re at it, you confiscate their firearms. Then, when they are once again helpless infants mewling and puking in their nurse’s arms, you make them into wards of the state, and the People’s Republic of America is born. The USA becomes just like Sweden, only poorer and with much less free enterprise.
But if that really is our future, ponder this: Among the largest contributors to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign were Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Wachovia, and Lehman Brothers.
These are hardcore capitalist-pig enterprises, the fattest of the fat cats. Why in the world would they bankroll the Socialist-in-Chief?
Are they really that stupid?
Or could it be that the wealthiest and most influential managers of the American banking and finance systems see an opportunity to turn a tidy profit by joining the Great Socialist Enterprise?
Hat tips: Holger Danske and Fausta. Thanks to Vlad for his help when our satellite connection went out.