Monday, March 16, 2009

Somewhat misplaced anger: AIG Bonuses

We're all outraged, rightly, that AIG is dispensing $450 million in bonuses (the latest installment of which is $165,000,000) when we taxpayers have handed them $170+ billion in bailout money so far. Here's how those amounts compare (Bonuses on the left; Bailout on the right):

Of course, it's the principle that offends.


Scooter said...

I guess I'd add that to the extent the bonuses went to profitable managers in profitable subsidiaries, I've got less of a problem.

Stephanie said...

Though if let them go bankrupt, they'd have no jobs at all, no matter how profitable some managers/subs were. How may taxpayers got NO bonus this year? And how many taxpayers who got bonuses got substantially less than $500,000? No, no, no. No bonuses, no matter how many hours they put in and no matter how profitable they were.

Scooter said...

Of course I agree. Just meant to the extent that some of the folks who got them were profitable, I have less of a problem. I think I've stated before that if one takes gov't funds, one has to accept the strings. Apparently, the plan's strings, if existent, were less than clear.

I forget who it was exactly, but last fall some big UT honcho got the ax when bonuses were paid to the endowment managers after a disastrous year (even though the bonuses were long since promised contractually).

I generally don't like the gummint coming in and rewriting existing contracts, but I suppose the money could be tied to both parties to the contract (in this case the company and the employee) being required to agree prior to the funding to the bonus emlination. (Sorry for that sentence.) That, however, would require the bailouts to proceed a lot more slowly.

But, as you said, without the bonus, there'd be no job to get the bonus. Pretty good incentive.

Stephanie said...

In this case, WE are now the owners of the company. I say we breach the contract by not paying bonuses, and then claim sovereign immunity as a defense to their breach of contract claim.

Stephanie said...

Just fixed my misspelling of "principle". I guess I should be able to remember which is which using the trick I use for stationary/stationery. The ones with the "a" in them are the adjectives.