Quote of the Day: “The actions of men are the best interpreters of their thoughts.” –James Joyce
ed. note. For another take on the AIG bonus fiasco, check out Supercynic’s blog by clicking here to the Daily Wit.
TB mentioned a few days ago that my intelligence network had gotten wind of a conversation with the CEO of AIG that was poised to take place. The “powers that be” who monitor this site apparently decided that since I would be privy to all that was said they might as well let me take part in the sit down as a representative of the people. What follows is a transcript of my conversation with AIG Capo Edward “the rat” Liddy and some faceless bureaucrat that Treasury sent over.
The Rat–So, as I was saying, without these bonuses AIG would lose much of the top talent that we’ve spent years accumulating.
Revenuer–Yes, this is an important concern. While we think the bonus payments are highly improper, your logic seems unassailable.
Man o’the people–Well Rat, on one point we can agree. It took a lot of intellect to come up with a Ponzi scheme with enough complexity to stump the prosecutors, swindle your shareholders and crash the entire world economy all the while ensuring you and your mob scored mountains of cash. Speaking of “ensure”, weren’t you formerly the Boss at Allstate? Turn around a minute so I can stick my foot up your ass for that too. With that out of the way, I must say I grudgingly admire your moxie. A lot of media types are probably going to carefully consider whether its too dangerous to lose all those foot soldiers. But as you know, I’m a man of the people. I don’t give a damn if we lose those financiers.
Rat–Whaddaya mean, “we.”
Man ‘o–I mean “we.” We own your little organization now, didn’t you hear? If TB has anything to say on the matter, we’re gonna start attending your board meetings pretty soon. I might even run for Boss. But that’s beside the point. I was addressing your loss of manpower.
Rat–You don’t want to do that mister. The whole company could go down the tubes.
Revenuer–(shifting in seat and looking around the room)
Rat–Ok, you got me there. But we need those guys to turn around the company. Only they know how the hell they broke it in the first place.
Man’o–But Rat, you still don’t get it. The people are on to you. There is no fixing AIG. It has to be rebuilt from the ground up. And I’d rather the foxes not build the henhouse this time. Your people are replaceable, even expendable. A thousand land grant grads could never figure out how to steal the way you Ivy Leaguers can, so their brand of incompetence alone will save the company billions. But the people also know, Rat, that it will never come to that. You see, we know your team will never leave these jobs. Where are they gonna go? Who’s gonna hire them?
Rat–You think your smart, don’t you Man’o. Got it all figured out? Well, perhaps you should consider one more thing…(beady eyed stare, twirls fingers and flashes sinister “Mr. Burns” grin)…there will be lawsuits.
Man’o–Don’t go that route Rat.
Revenuer–Yes Rat, I mean no…but whatever, don’t let them sue rat. That would cost the company a LOT of money.
Man’o–Why are you here T-man?
Man’o–(sits back in chair, stares intently at Rat. Then shakes head, chuckles and takes a sip of cool, delicious Diet Coke–find it in your local grocery)–Rat, I’ve been tryin to get it through your skull. You are dealin with the people now. Guess who sits on juries, Rat. The people. Guess what happens before a case gets to a jury Rat. We get to take a look at all those contracts. We also get to ask about everyone’s job performance over the last decade or so. You ignorant rat bastard, I’d have already filed a lawsuit to get all this information if I was allowed. We, the people, welcome these lawsuits. To coin a phrase, bring’em on. All these arguments….are you tryin to be funny? Are you here to make me laugh? Cause I’m laughin Rat. You’re finished Rat. This meeting’s over, but first, come back over here and let me punch you right in the nose one time. For the people.
Revenuer–Anybody up for lunch? I’m buying.
Thanks for the link. These jackasses (both AIG and Treasury) are causing me all kinds of grief. Several of the “top talent” folks are getting $9.5M a piece.
Do you know how much I could stimulate the economy with $9.5M? A lot. I would stimulate like a 3-year old hopped up on Lucky Charms, Hershey’s Kisses, and 2 bags of Skittles.
The latest news is that the top recipient received only $6.4M. My bad.
However, some of the recipients don’t even work for AIG anymore. So much for the talent retention argument.
$6.4m or $9.5m – either one is a travesty. This country is out of whack! No bailout money should have ever been given in my lowly, semi-educated opinion. Let the chips fall where they may.
Uh, Man’o, I am wondering why ,as Pres., and founder of the BBRP, I was not invited to partake in this little soi’ree with AIG and the Govt. I think that ALOT could have been accomplished,or, atleast I would feel better after doling out a lock-in-a-sock treatment, free of charge for the people of course.
Your role is left for the shadows, my friend.
You like the nod to our Irish friends?
While the bonuses are a big topic of outrage for sure…they were only 1/10 of 1% of the bailout money given to AIG….the real scandal (and i can’t wait to see what the majority party says about this) is that over half of the bailout money was doled out by AIG to foreign banks…..50% vs. 1/10th of 1%…..the bigger one does nothing to stimulate our economy or help the ailing company and the smaller one goes to people under contract for work they performed…..can’t wait
quail09, I have all kinds of problems with the bailout w/AIG. However, the bonuses are a particular outrage, not because of the amount, but because of the principle of it. These bonuses are for some obvious crappy work AND for retention…of some people who then left AIG.
I know there are always 2 sides to every story, but I’m not hearing any defense of these bonuses except that AIG was contractually obligated and it had to retain the “top talent.” BS. There are reasons these contracts are unenforceable and/or breachable (new legal term I just made up) and, in some instances, the retention plan didn’t work b/c some people left after getting their bonus.
Good points. I think part of the problem is that Americans, including this one, can’t wrap their minds around the enormity of 165 billion, a trillion or whatever they name the next 3 zeroes, so we cling to what we do understand. In this instance, being made obscenely rich as a reward for destroying the financial world.
I also agree the majority party has to address the bigger issue and Geithner in particular must be held to account. He is the only player who was involved when Bush/Bernanke started this and has continued running the show since they left, so he should have a handle on things by now. If he’s made things worse or failed to improve them, its on Obama for selecting him. But I don’t think we’re gonna know one way or the other for another year or so.
On the payments to foreign entities, I’m assuming its because that’s who AIG was insuring on the derivatives. They made a claim, AIG couldn’t pay, so the natural use of some bailout money goes out of the country to pay these claims. I don’t like it, but I don’t have heartburn about it because that’s how I’ve understood the mess all along–worldwide. I’m sure my take is embarrassingly oversimplified, but it’s the best I’ve been able to figure.
I do take issue with the idea the executives under contract are being paid for work they performed. Though I doubt the contracts specify “not running the company into the ditch”, I think it can fairly be construed as an implied term. Personally, I can’t wait for the fruits of the New York Attorney General’s investigations and I hope he looks at the political connections of these executives and the possibility they took illegal kickbacks or some other form of compensation to make this Ponzi go.
TB…i too have a simplified understanding of the situation….i think most do….my overall impression is that very few understand how some of these exotic financial instruments work, therefore they went unregulated….there were no regulations in place because these instruments were out of the normal scope of the everyday financial world….my point was that we/they honor the claims of foreign banks (who must’ve done little due diligence) with our tax money, but we throw a fit about paying people money owed them by contract……..i also understand from the wall street journal that congress knew about these contracts before the bailout money was voted on ….why are they squallin now?
Man’o (TB)- alas,in the shadows I shall remain,you are of course correct, I get a little zealous in my duties as patriarch at times. However, while I agree with most of the aforementioned comments, I still think that the bottom line comes down to the fact that it is going to take one person (or a very few) who have enough clout in Washington to be insightful enough, truly care enough about his fellow Americans(even the middle class), smart enough, and brave enough to stand up and make a stand against the establishment(both parties,by God). We are well on our way to a revolution, my friends, and Hell, I think we should be. I love my country and would not want to live anywhere else, I would die for it if I had to, but there is no excuse for the condition it is in at this juncture. REAL CHANGE is needed, not the slogan variety.
Like Sam Cooke said, “Change gon’ come…oh yes it will”, but it needs to be for the better. Can you say Sylvester Croom???
I am completely ignorant to the intricacies (sp?) of the bailout BUT I was taught an early age that money comes with strings – when someone gives it to you they usually want something in return at some point. There should have been many more rules in place when this money changed hands. I am not a very trusting person, can you tell?
*I didn’t know Rev. Wright was a racist
*I didn’t know Bill Ayers was a domestic terrorist
*I didn’t know Gov. Blagojevich was corrupt
*I didn’t know Tres. Sec. Geithner worked with former Tres. Sec. Paulson hand/hand on AIG bailout, given Geithner is the former president of the New York Federal Reserve and participated in every meeting re TARP
*I didn’t know Sen. Dodd wrote an amendment to TARP which excluded the AIG retention bonuses from being subject to any restrictions associated with giving AIG money (Dodd rec’d over $100,000 in campaign contributions from AIG)
*I didn’t know I rec’d over $100,000 in campaign contributions from AIG
Obama’s law degree is coming in handy. When hit with facts, throw up a smoke screen, and divert attention from things that can hurt your case.
I do note McCain rec’d some AIG campaign contributions, too. He also voted for TARP I while Bush was still in office. I don’t remember if Sen. Obama vote yea, or obstained.
If McCain were President right now, what do you think the mainstream media would be focusing on? There would be calls for his impeachment.
As is the case in most things in life, law, business, politics, etc.: Follow the money.
I am more and more thinking the govt is hiding the true threat to the economy. I think the AIG/financial collapse is bigger than comprehension allows. How else to explain Obama basically continuing the Bush bailout without change? How else to explain the ultimate conservative Bush folks embracing socialist policy? How else to explain the continuing bailout money by Obama when those expenditures are essentially killing the prospects for success on his domestic agenda?
I don’t think the other shoe has dropped. It doesn’t appear to me the current administration has a coherent plan or the political courage to address the problem. And no one from the right even wants them to successfully address it. Their posture seems to be, “we create the mess, hand it off to you and criticize your ineptitude in cleaning it up.” I, personally, am very concerned.
And I read too much. Just today I was reading an essay on how eras like this bring out the worst from left and right. In the 30’s, Depression led to the rise of some bad, bad characters around the world. Some of the rhetoric being tossed around these days is even more frightening than the prospect of economic calamity.
YEEEES!!! They all are corrupt. Left, Right, Green, Blue. I wonder how many of congress’ retirement accts/portfolios are with AIG. Or do they have them? I would think so.
From the USA Today:
The news continues to be dominated by the outrage over $165 million in bonuses for executives at the taxpayer-supported insurance giant AIG — and in particular by word from CNN that Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., says he agreed to a suggestion from the Obama administration and amended language to the economic stimulus plan so that such bonuses could continue to be paid. The language gave Treasury the authority to review such bonuses and seek to have them returned, Dodd says. It wasn’t aimed specifically at AIG, but at any firms that use “retention” bonuses.
I can’t believe no one commented on the Croom analogy, that was good stuff.
I think that the “crisis” is less serious than people are saying. Business is going along because they are getting hundreds of billions in bailout (“free”)money, and Obama is using fear to impose his radical leftist agenda upon America.
MD, the flaw in your thesis is that the funds required for the bailout will almost surely kill his “radical leftist agenda.”
Viva Revolucion!!!!!! Viva Revolucion!!!
One would think so TB, but he is printing trillions of dollars to pay for the programs. Check out the $685 billion that he “set aside” (what does that mean?; where are these funds exactly?)for “health care reform” (government run health care).
Its a simple anwesr. Name 1 conservative republican, Pres Reagan was a conservative, so was Jessie Helms, but name 1 today that is. Not one that says they are a conservative. Definitely not one that the media says is a conservative, to the media anyone that’s a republican is a conservative. But one that really is a conservative, I can not think of any, at least there are no conservatives republicans in either the House, Senate, nor any of the Governors. That is why, although I am very conservative, I am not a republican, because the republicans are liberal, just not as liberal as the democrats.