In a grotesque misuse of public bailout funds, the American International Group Inc. (AIG) moved forward with over $165 million in bonuses to corporate executives, even though they needed $170 billion in federal bailout money to keep the company afloat.
It’s simply outrageous. The U.S. unemployment rate is at 8.1%, yet AIG’s corporate executives are receiving lavish bonuses and keeping their jobs after their company has been crippled beyond self-repair. Now I’m not so radical that I’d call for AIG executives to commit suicide. But had AIG been forced into chapter 11 bankruptcy or been liquidated due to the company’s failures – as it clearly would have without government aid – no corporate executive would have received a bonus. They wouldn’t even have a job.
I continue to be astonished at the clueless defenses that are launched in AIG’s defense, especially from the likes of CNBC’s Squawk Box host, Rick Santelli, who fails to see the morality that lies beneath the whole AIG bonus scandal and thinks the public outrage over the $165 million is like worrying about 16.5 cents.
He just doesn’t get it. We’re not outraged at the amount of money relative to the overall bailout package. We’re outraged at the sheer lack of values and respect that these Wall Street fat cats have for the American people. We’re outraged that they aren’t losing their jobs while our friends and families suffer from losing their jobs and life savings. And we’re outraged that they don’t get it.
We need our government to stand up for American taxpayers and stop the excesses of Wall Street – it’s time that AIG be held accountable for the money that you and I are paying to prop them up. Take action against the excesses and extravagance of AIG’s corporate bonuses – and make sure U.S. Secretary Geithner holds those who are responsible for AIG’s failures accountable.