Wednesday, March 18, 2009

AIG bonuses? I. Do. Not. Care.

I know that the following statement will put me squarely in the (apparently very small) minority, but there it is. I'm willing to stand there if I must.

Here it comes:

I am not outraged, offended, or even upset by the AIG bonuses.

There. I said it.

AIG is a company that is in business right now because the US Government made the decision to bail it out. When the government assumed responsibility for AIG's business operations, they assumed responsibility for pre-existing contracts, such as those that required that these bonuses be paid. As a (now forced, with the rest of my fellow-citizens) part-investor in AIG, I really would prefer that the company be operated in such a way as to eventually make that investment back. This uproar drummed up by the President and the Democratic congressional leadership makes that less likely and, as such, is counterproductive in the extreme.

"If they don't give the money back, we'll put in place new law that will allow us to tack [sic: presumably he means either "attack" or "tax"] these bonuses at a very high rate. So for those of you who will be getting these bonuses, be forewarned - you will not be getting to keep them."

(For those wondering why such a law would not be grossly unconstitutional [Article 1, section 9: No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed], I'm wondering that same thing. Of course, gross unconstitutionality has never presented the Democratic majority from passing a law before, and there's really no reason to expect that concern for the niceties of our constitutional process would suddenly appear.)

Ol' Chuck's being pretty solicitous of the welfare of the American taxpayer, huh? Good old Senator Schumer, always concerned about the American taxpayer getting bang for the buck. The American taxpayer is out $170 Billion for AIG so far, but he really wants to make sure we get .0097% of that back, even if it means putting the other 99.001% at greater risk.

(By the way, this is the response of Senator Schumer to complaints about pork in the stimulus bill, items like $200 million [21% more than the AIG bonuses] "to 'design and furnish' the Department of Homeland Security headquarters" or $300 million [82% more than the AIG bonuses] "to buy 'green' cars for federal employees":

"And let me say this to all the chattering class that focuses on those little, tiny, yes, porky amendments - the American people really don't care."

If the American people "really don't care," Senator Schumer, what makes you think that they care about contractual bonuses to AIG employees which represent 1/10 of 1 percent of the bailout funds going to AIG, bonuses which the company is contractually obligated to pay because it wasn't allowed to go bankrupt?)

I am far more outraged by the behavior of Obama's teleprompter, Charles Schumer, Chris Dodd and Barney Frank than I am at the AIG bonuses. Far more.

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