Washington, on cue, is outraged

The nation is outraged that insurance giant AIG, 80 percent owned by taxpayers, paid out $165 million in bonuses to executives while drawing down $173 billion in public money. 

The public’s outrage is a signal to President Barack Obama and to Congress that they, too, should be outraged. And they are.   House Democrats directed three committees to come up with legislation to recover bonus money paid to beggar-companies.  Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) thought suicide would be an honorable way to show remorse and accept responsibility, though he backed off that suggestion on Tuesday.

Among the thundering herd of the outraged is the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.).  Yet, Dodd himself may have played a large role in preventing any recovery of the bonus money.  Fox News reports that Dodd amended the $787 billion stimulus bill to include language that restricted executive compensation, but the final bill contained an “exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009.”

Dodd denied the pre-Feb. 11 clause was his.   “I can tell you this much, when my language left the Senate, it did not include it. When it came back, it did,”  he told Fox. “Because of negotiations with the Treasury Department and the bill Conferees, several modifications were made,” Dodd’s spokesman said.

Dodd, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, was the largest single recipient of AIG’s campaign contributions in the 2008 election cycle at $103,100.

The bonuses are bad public relations — and most likely are, too, the tipping point in taxpayers’ tolerance for bailouts.  Had AIG been allowed to go belly-up, a bankruptcy judge could have dealt with contracts and bonuses as warranted. Once politicians and bureaucrats are making the decisions, they do as Congress and the Obama Administration has done. They sign off behind closed doors — and run to the microphones to express their outrage when they see the angry mob.  Change looks an awfully lot like Yesterday in Washington.

104 comments Add your comment

Davo

March 18th, 2009
8:49 am

Outraged indeed, JW. But, in the end it isn’t really AIG that deserves the brunt of this anger. AIG executives proved themselves incompetant by running their business into the ground, so we shouldn’t expect any better behavior from them. The blame falls on Obama directly.

Aside from the entire arguement that the bailout was neccesary, Obama and Gietner decided to keep the same bunch of fools at the helm of AIG.
I guess his reasoning went something like “I don’t know a thing about running an international insurance company, so let’s get some experts in there that do…and low and behold here they are.”

Honeymoons over for our savior in chief.

Glenn

March 18th, 2009
8:54 am

But Jim, on Barney Frank you demured.

thomas

March 18th, 2009
8:57 am

I don’t like the idea of these bonuses, but we (taxpayers/Congress) were too dumb to put on any restrictions that would preclude such bonuses. Maybe next time we will be wiser. In the meantime, writing tax laws with the sole purpose of going after specific individuals and their legal earnings is a scary thing. Can you say “Illegal search and seizure”? With our economy in the tank the last thing we need is the total breakdown of the Constitution and the rule of law. I can’t help but feel this whole outrage is orchestrated to distract us from looking into some other issue (like the billion dollars of earmarks in the spending bill, maybe?)

fed up

March 18th, 2009
9:05 am

I think it can be summed it up in one word for this administration and those in Congress…. “phoniness”.

Rick

March 18th, 2009
9:05 am

Why is everyone crying about the one tenth of one percent of the money they received being paid out in contracts that were in place already? How about the 90 billion ( with a B ) that they gave to European banks? Half the money went across the Atlantic. Poof….gone.

Curious Observer

March 18th, 2009
9:11 am

What a stupid issue for Congress to be handling! All the bonus money put together amounts to less than 1/10 of 1 percent of the bailout money awarded AIG. The larger issue remains: Was AIG so large and crucial to our economy that it could not be allowed to fail? If a company makes an utterly stupid gamble–i.e., that people who make $35,000 per year will be able to repay $500,000 mortgages–is it the obligation of the taxpayer to redeem the losses? How could an investment bank as large as Lehman Brothers be allowed to go under, while others were bailed out?

The entire bonus issue is merely a manifestation of buyer’s remorse. It has been customary for decades for large companies like AIG to provide the bulk of executive compensation in the form of bonuses. What we are seeing in Congress is a major-league CYA act to attempt to justify actions that should not have been taken in the first place. The AIG bonus issue at least has the redemptive feature of at least bringing taxpayer outrage over the entire bailout issue to a boil.

A dad

March 18th, 2009
9:13 am

barney Fwank’s “outrage”, when his boyfriend commited such fraud at FreddieMac or FannieMae, is so hypcritical it deserves nothing more than this breif comment.

Glenn

March 18th, 2009
9:14 am

“Change” does look like yesterday, Jim. Like the yesterday you have to shave today.

A dad

March 18th, 2009
9:16 am

And let’s not forget that a significant portion of AIG’s troubles involve those wonderful sub-prime mortgages that Pres. Bush and John McCain warned Congress about several years ago. I may be wrong, and if I am I’m sure someone will correct my with real “facts” and not merely unsupported opinions/regurgitated talking head mantras, but didn’t our economic woes really start to develop after the Dems became the majority in the House?

Glenn

March 18th, 2009
9:21 am

More importantly…Veterans Unite!

mark

March 18th, 2009
9:28 am

The real business men/women of this world would not say forget about this swindle because it is only 1% of the gross amount of money.

The real business men/women of this world would not try to fundamentally alter a country’s tax code to recoup a swindle like this.

They would fire or replace those who are in any way responsible…So why does Chris Dodd and those in Congress who participated in this mess still employed?

Chris Broe

March 18th, 2009
9:32 am

Wooten surprised us all with his support of socialism in the Bush Bailouts last year. So why should we be surprised with his communist’s solutions about contractual law now?

Cheney’s Iraqi Risk Assessment to Bush: “Cool-(aid) heads will prevail”.

Last Sunday on Television, CheneY answerED questions about how Osama escaped him with strategic analysis about Iraq. His “we were at war, 911 wasn’t a crime scene, but collateral damage in a larger war” works if he was talking about Afghanistan.

He was talking about Iraq.

Checkmate. He’s admitted treason. He’s admitting that he himself took the reigns of our commander in chief who ordered the army to Afghanistan.

Twitter “Dubai”.

Ga Values

March 18th, 2009
9:32 am

I would like to see Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) standards applied to congress. Blood would be running in the floors. Just remember that our 6 real Republican Congressmen voted against TARP while our 2 Socialist Senators voted for it. Saxby admits that he did not even read the 400+ page bill but did take the $2,500,000.0 from banks, insurance companies and lobbyist. We are being sold out ny congress.

Ga Values

March 18th, 2009
9:33 am

we need the edit feature on this blog so I can correct my spelling.

Big Bucks GOP

March 18th, 2009
9:37 am

China rejected Coca-Cola’s $2.5 billion bid to buy a major Chinese
fruit juice maker Wednesday in a closely watched case that stirred
nationalist opposition to the sale of a successful homegrown brand to
foreigners.

Big Bucks GOP

March 18th, 2009
9:37 am

The chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
has asked for records on the $3.62 billion of year-end bonuses at
Merrill Lynch, to see if the panel was misled about the payments,

Big Bucks GOP

March 18th, 2009
9:38 am

The State of New Jersey sued former executives and directors of Lehman
Brothers on Tuesday, contending that fraud and misrepresentation had
caused the state’s public pension fund to lose $118 million.

Barry

March 18th, 2009
9:38 am

Abolish the payroll (a.k.a. FICA) tax. Let’s let Hendrik Hertzberg of that notoriously right-wing magazine, The New Yorker, explain it: “The payroll tax…skims around fifteen percent from the payroll of every business and the paycheck of every worker, from minimum wage burger flippers on up, with no deductions. No exemptions either – except that everything above a hundred grand or so a year is untouched, which means that as salaries climb into the stratosphere the tax, as a percentage, shrinks to a speck far below. This is one reason Warren Buffet’s secretary (as her boss has unproudly noted) pays Uncle Sam a higher share of her income than he does. In fact, three-quarters of American households pay more in payroll tax than in income tax”. Read all about it in the March 23 issue – the one with the hilarious depiction of the Rushster on the cover. Annoyance alert – I will post this suggestion every day until we get some traction.

Big Bucks GOP

March 18th, 2009
9:39 am

By lending to its own employees to fund capital calls, Goldman Sachs is
risking “TARP rage” — the special wrath that taxpayers and lawmakers
reserve for potentially questionable actions by those that receive
money under the Troubled Asset Relief Program,

Big Bucks GOP

March 18th, 2009
9:41 am

Some of the billions of dollars the U.S. government paid to bail out
American International Group stand to benefit hedge funds that bet on a
falling housing market, The Wall Street Journal said, citing documents
and people familiar with the matter.

Big Bucks GOP

March 18th, 2009
9:43 am

Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that they would seek to reclaim more
property of Bernard L. and Ruth Madoff, including stakes in real estate
funds affiliated with an investment company controlled by Fred Wilpon,
the owner of the New York Mets. They are also seeking $31.55 million in
loans made to the Madoffs’ sons, Andrew and Mark.

Big Bucks GOP

March 18th, 2009
9:44 am

Mrs. Madoff has declared her estate in Palm Beach, Fla., as her primary
residence, a move that may shield the $9.4 million home from creditors.

Glenn

March 18th, 2009
9:46 am

@@,

Your appreciation of Ron Silver was appreciated. I’m similarly concerned viz the family of the lovely and talented and highly intelligent and let’s face it just plain HOT Natasha Richardson. If she dies, deep sadness at this end. I remember, well and unfortunately, the despair that set in when the surreal news came that Lennon was splattered across his wife for the crime of being insufficiently pacifistic.

If Natadha goes, Spring will really hang me up the most.

Churchill's MOM

March 18th, 2009
9:49 am

Who leads the Republican Party?

According to a recent report from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, it seems like nobody knows.

Just 27 percent overall can even offer the name of someone they consider to be the leader of the GOP. Seventy-three percent of Americans said either that the GOP has no leader or that, if it did, they didn’t know who that person was. Among Republicans, only 32 percent can provide a name when asked who leads their party.

Overall, of those surveyed who could name someone, 11 percent named Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), and radio host Rush Limbaugh ranked second at 5 percent. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele both garnered about 2 percent, while House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Govs. Sarah Palin and Bobby Jindal and former Gov. Mitt Romney each got about 1 percent.

The survey, which polled more than 1,300 adults, was conducted between March 9 and 12.

wondering

March 18th, 2009
9:50 am

The statement Geithner and Obama that they did not know of these payouts until late last week is pure BS – all of this was announced in October or November when the company announced that it would be paying $450M to 400 employees, with part paid in December (which it was), part in March(which is was) and part later in “09 and possibly in early ‘10.

And, what is wrong with AIG paying billions it owed to the banks and brokerages to which they owed the collateral? It just goes to show that AIG at least lives up to their contracts – if they had just said no to begin then they would still be in the spotlight for reneging on those initial CDO and CDS obligations! What total farce for Washington and all the citiizens to be in a tizzy over all of this, when their at $787B reasons to be in a tizzy, especially with Congress now set to expand on this with a second “stimulus” package!

Chris Broe

March 18th, 2009
9:58 am

Proof that Christ is the Anti-Christ. First, the matter/antimatter paradox in physics. Second, the Greek Acronym for Christ is ICXC. IC is 99. XC is 90. Dont add these, but put them next to each other according to Flavius’s Rule of Ordering Numerals, and you get, 9990. Where’s Waldo in that picture?

We are the second coming. Christ is ourselves. Proof: “What you do to the least of yourselves you do to Me”. (Christ on Bethlehem This Morning in the year 30 AD. the earliest Larry King Live)

Christ came from the House of David. To become the King, David crucified the remaining seven threats to the throne of Israel at one time, all from the same house. ( The house of Larry David).

Glenn

March 18th, 2009
9:58 am

Pardon me. That was supposed to spell the lovely “Natasha”.

JD

March 18th, 2009
10:04 am

Henry Paulson spearheaded the bailout of AIG. Paulson is a former Exec at Goldman Sachs. The largest investor in AIG is goldman Sachs. Gee, what a surprise.

Cerebrus bought an 80% interest in Chrysler for $7+ Billion a little over one year before receiving $4 Billion in the first of 3 bailout payments. Cerebrus also owns 51% of GMAC and GMAC received another $4 Billion in bailout. The Chairman of Cerebrus is John Snow – the Treasury Secretary just before Henry Paulson. The Chairman of International Investments at Cerebrus is J. Danforth Quail. The auto industry analysts could not understand the purchase by Cerebrus of Chrysler and GMAC at the time but now the picture becomes more clear.

Cerebrus bought Chrysler simply because they knew a year before the fact that the crash and bailout were in the near future. There is no other explanation. THAT ALSO means Congress and the Executive Branch knew at least one year before.

Then the “Sheeple” bought the “change theme” without questions from the media and here we are now – on the brink of becoming a socialist country at the hand of a President who only seeks to destroy the United States.

You Obama supporters must be so proud!

Davo

March 18th, 2009
10:10 am

Here’s how it works…ummm…I mean, here’s how Obama manipulates the economy.

Citigroup’s top economist tapped for Treasury post
(you know, the company that needed a multi-billion dollar bail-out from the Federal Government)
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Citigroups-top-economist-apf-14671442.html

Change….whatever. Obama is looking alot like W these days…when are we gonna get a real leader.

Glenn

March 18th, 2009
10:11 am

TO THE COMMUNITY:

This new blog format involves some sort of quintssentially ad hoc screening, prior restraint, horseslop version of censorship. Jim Wooten daily preaches the virtues of transparency, but meanwhile he holds the secrets of a bunch of screeners who resemble nothing more than vindictive separatists from one of the Seven Sisters.

You go, Girl

AIG guy

March 18th, 2009
10:12 am

See you on the French Riviera suckers!

Redneck Convert

March 18th, 2009
10:14 am

Well, the Trickle Down done started already. Right after AIG give out the bonuses sales over at MarineMax Cumming over on Bald Ridge Marina Road shot thru the roof. The biggest boats are the first ones to sell. I expect all the stores and honky-tonks over that way will be ordering extra cases of beer to help everybody sellabrate. That means more work for me but plenty of job security.

That’s what all the people harping about the AIG bonuses don’t understand. If AIG just plunks our tax money in the bank nothing happens. If they give it out to people in bonuses then Trickle Down starts. All the people that get the million dollar bonuses got to do something with the money. They don’t have no credit card debt and the house is paid for and the banks ain’t paying no intrust and the stock market is in the tank, so they got to spend the money if it’s going to do them any good. Next thing you know sales of RVs will go way up and the doublewides will go flying off the lots.

Anyhow, this is Capitalism at work. Your grandkids probly won’t have much use for the money they will use to pay down the guvmint debt so it won’t hurt them none. Besides, they’re too young to understand what’s happening. So all you Socialists need to shut up about the bonuses and let Trickle Down work.

That’s my opinion and it’s very true. Have a good day everybody.

Rush Limbaugh for President

March 18th, 2009
10:20 am

Davo, JD and Wondering(sp?), I know you have been listening to me because I can see the Rush Limbaugh logic in your positions. No matter when something happened(2008) or who was in charge (George Bush and Henry Paulson)blame it on Obama. Simple enough. You guys are great.Keep it up. Don’t ever look at both sides of an issue, forget about the facts(why didn’t Bush and Paulson reject the bonuses back in 2008 when they first bailed out AIG)and keep your mind blank so I can keep telling you how to think. Love Rush

Chris Broe

March 18th, 2009
10:21 am

Point of order. Math majors can easily win spelling bees. If you’re going to try to edit your comment down to 25 words or less, then don’t pile-on six 25-word comments back to back. That’s just as unreadable. Is your audience asking themselves, “Duh, I’ll read this and this and this and this and this and this……Duh.” New Rule : Lurkers here must be self actualized and self fulfilled m(word)s. Please stop torturing lurkers with self parodies.

Twitter: Koolaid Heads Have Prevailed!!!

Dusty

March 18th, 2009
10:27 am

Is there anything at all going on in Congress besides INVESTIGATIONS? That means they are only looking backwards. How about Congress sitting down and reading whatever stimulus package might be thrown out next? Let us hope that they might then say NO MORE STIMULUS PACKAGES. That will stop this lollipop bonus business.

Doesn’t Congress realize that these shock treatments are killing the patient? Or that the patient is already dead and these treatments will NOT bring it back. AIG is on the gurney going OUT!

I do not want any more CHANGE. Forget it. How about some normal sane business practices now? Even Democrats may realize they have finally gone too far. It is their baby. Straighten out fellows or pack up and leave. Your political life is kaput!! More Republicans are needed to stop Obama before he does his swan dive off the cliff, carrying us with him.

Chris Broe

March 18th, 2009
10:27 am

Cheney’s Iraqi Risk Assessment to Bush: “Cool(aid) Heads Will Prevail”

Just a point of order.

Twitter Dubai

Dusty

March 18th, 2009
10:42 am

To Chris Broe

Please remitter ’cause you ditter and twitter. Is that a non seQUITur?

Copyleft

March 18th, 2009
10:44 am

Davo’s first post was right on the money. Congress shouldn’t have made ANY concessions to preserving the existing corporate structure in the original bailout… the times of pandering to corrupt incompetent executives is OVER.

Congress should’ve assumed direct control of AIG from the outset. This half-measure, done in the name of “preserving the free market model” (a failed model, after all), was an error. We supplied the funds, so we should be in direct control of AIG and its operations.

Let’s fix this on this second pass.

Maniac is accurate

March 18th, 2009
11:34 am

You raise valid points about hipocrasy. However, anyone who isn’t outraged about these bonuses (Laura Ingraham) I just don’t get.

Curious (Laura Ingraham) Listener

March 18th, 2009
11:43 am

What’s the big deal? Yada yada.

Churchill's MOM

March 18th, 2009
11:43 am

Where’s Raghead? Was he laid off or on his way with Redneck to france to spend his $6 million bonus?

TheTruthHurts

March 18th, 2009
11:53 am

Obama and his administration are a joke!! What a bunch of incompetent amateurs……this has to be the worst administration since Jimmy Carter!! OBAMA means **One Big Ass Mistake America** this guy and his cronies are phony idiots and need to be impeached!!!!

Ga Values

March 18th, 2009
11:57 am

David S

March 18th, 2009
11:57 am

Let’s just remember the long list of both republicans and democrats that voted in favor of all of the wasteful bailouts last year. First among them, Saxby Chambliss who wrote to me “something had to be done.” Next, Johnny Isakson, who likely would have voted for this year’s stimulus package if he had been bought off with enough real estate industry pork. At least the Georgia house republicans and most of the house democrats voted against the bailout. Of course we all know the democrats only did it because it was being proposed by Bush (for proof, just look at their voting records on the Obama waste package).

As always, it comes down to government. They want to point fingers at everyone else, as if stealing money from taxpayers or printing worthless dollars out of thin air is either something the government MUST do or policy that cannot be changed. We all know that change can happen, but never the kind that increases freedom or diminishes the size, scope, or power of government.

If there were no Federal Reserve (a bill has been once again introduced by Ron Paul – the only man who has gotten all of this economic stuff right in all of his predictions since the 70’s), there would have been no bubble of credit in the first place to allow all of the criminal lending, the mortgage backed securities, the credit default swaps, or the insurance crap of AIG. A sound monetary system based on gold or other commodity stops government manipulation of interest rates, quantity of money (inflation) and deficit spending.

Yes, the behavior of AIG and everyone else is appalling, but so long as we continue to allow the government to have the power over our currency, all this will not only be possible, but should be expected.

Ron Paul got into politics the day Nixon finally severed all connection between the dollar and gold. The financial statistics since that fateful day in 1973 read like a disaster film compared to the period prior, but the statistics since the founding of the Federal Reserve in 1913 till now are just as bad.

While everyone is ignoring the elephant in the living room (nothing personal republicans), namely the Federal Reserve and how it is destroying our nation, virtually every government official and government mouthpiece in the media is distracting us with all of the symptoms of the problem.

It is time we take our national medicine, learn to live within our means, and demand that our government do the same by restoring sanity and market predictability to our monetary system.

Right now the World Bank is working to come up with a new global monetary device (fake money) that they will attempt to foist on all of us. Don’t think that we won’t be forced to take it either, or that our government wont’ sell us out. Here is a link:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/recession/4986287/IMF-poised-to-print-billions-of-dollars-in-global-quantitative-easing.html

Get ready for global monetary collapse and a world-wide depression – courtesy, as always, of your government.

@@

March 18th, 2009
12:02 pm

…and right on cue, Obama is behind the eight ball on this AIG fiasco, Jim.

His loyal followers should have no fear, however……when his words no longer matter, taking advantage of <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5Asid0m8zc”a crisis of dry throat will have him back up and running in no time.

He feels your pain. He’s not gonna miss an opportunity at the 2:45 mark to get a laugh at your expense.

@@

March 18th, 2009
12:12 pm

‘Scuse me. ‘Twas a hairball what done it.

Ya-ah-aackkk

Good grief! The guy’s using his teleprompter at a press conference?

@@

March 18th, 2009
12:30 pm

Glenn:

I saw a brief mention of Natasha Richardson’s accident on the news. Very tragic for her family — two young sons in their transformative years? The fact that she’s an accomplished actress, of which I know little, speaks well for her. No messy divorces, philandering husband (Liam), drug abuse. A private entity to be admired.

My thoughts are with all whom she has loved and been loved by both near and from afar.

"Charles", The Original

March 18th, 2009
12:43 pm

The educational system in America has produced a peculiar American. The overwhelming majority has eyes but they can’t see the obvious. And the people have ears, eyes, and hearts that have been injured via integration. Said differently, we have a serious case of Americans being dumb-ed down.

The economic crisis has been purposefully orchestrated by the satanic enemies of the American people. And they are influencing every area of people activity (economics, education, entertainment, labor, law, politics, religion, sex and war) in the name of Martin Luther King Jr. Namely, they are the integrationist New World Order devotees… Now why should the American people consider allowing any integrationist New World Order devotee to solve the economic crisis? They willfully caused and are perpetuating it. The American people should be talking about trials and executions.

And by the way, I support the youngest child of Martin Luther King Jr, Dexter King; well certainly the youngest son. Dexter King is the perfect candidate to write a book entitled, How to Escape the Satanic Influence of the Integrationist New World Order Crowd: an evil cabal that parallels the ideals of Martin Luther King Jr.

Glenn

March 18th, 2009
1:06 pm

Oh no, @@,

Please don’t be so judgmental; it so ill becomes you. They’re all people of the Left, but they bleed. I’m so sorry for losing her because I’ve long thought of her as an artist. We in America need lots of them, and the better they are, the better.

That’s all. As Joyce might say, the loss is general…

Hope & Change!

March 18th, 2009
1:26 pm

Well I hope all you morons that put the Teleprompter In Chief in Washington are happy now. You can return to watching your mindless shows like American Idol and Jon Stewart. AIG had Demoncrats written all over them from said Teleprompter in Chief to that slobbering queen of banking in Washington, Barney Frank.

What the Idiotcrats and Teleprompter have done to this nation in two years and two months, respectively, is more than Bush and his cronies could have done in twelve years: destroy the infrastructure of America and rebuild it in their eyes, the way THEY want it. And you stupid idiots in this nation, you mindless college kids that don’t know the hole in your a$$ from a hole in the ground who voted for Obama; you brain dead welfare teet sucking unwed moms out there; you independents who wanted “change”; and the rest of you morons: hope you enjoy what you are seeing, because I sure as hell am not.

Fortunately, the Teleprompter In Chief’s disapproval rating is rapidly rising towards the 50% level…in TWO MONTHS. So, there is hope. Were we better off four years ago than today? You bet your @ss we were. The bloody irony here is that the lamestream DNC lib media is doing NOTHING to tell us what is going on in Washington under Dhimmicrat rule. Even further, the audacity of The Nanny to whine about “news” papers needing to be saved just takes it all. God what mindless idiots.