Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Bonus - Bailout Mystery of AIG

March 19th, 2009

My Dear America:

The incredible Saga of the massive bonuses given to AIG Executives with our taxpayer bail out money continues unabated. It seems as though every day there is someone new for the press to villify and condemn for this Outrageous Scandal.

First it was Edward Liddy, the CEO who saw it as his civic duty to come back to AIG, where he had retired from, for a salary of $1.00 a year. I would feel sorry for this guy except that I know if he is working for a buck a year he already has stashed away enough dough to keep him in a lavish lifestyle for the rest of his life.

I watched Liddy on Television yesterday at a hearing for the Congressional Finances Committee. He didn't seem like a bad guy. He had the look of a Robber Baron but under what intense criticism I could take before I fell asleep realizing that despite its importance to me and my family I just really have a hard time understanding what it is that has been going on with Wall Street. What really gets me is all these Republican Senators and Congressmen who are suddenly portraying themselves as saviors of taxpayer money even though they voted for legislation signed by George W. Bush that set up the present system, in which up to now Wall Streeters almost had no way to lose money. A young lady testifying before the Financial Committee yesterday said something that I could understand and which I thiink is a great clue to the problems that we are dealing with at the present time. She was with one of the financial regulation agencies of the United States Government and she indicated that although her agency was initially permitted to regulate Wall Steet banks and other institutions, that permission was taken away from her agency by the Bush Era Republican controlled Congress. Dick Cheny in an recent interview indicated that the Bush Administration should take no responsibility for the Wall Street Mess.

Another bad guy in the recent Bonus - Bailout Mystery of AIG is Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. I think Barack Obama was truthful when he said that this guy is working harder than anybody to solve the AIG problem. What seems to have been coming out the past couple of days, though, is that Geithner or someone from the Obama Financial team asked Senate Banking Committee Chariman, Chris Dodd, to take a provision out of the stimulus legislation which would have kept million dollar bonuses from being paid with taxpaer money given to firms like AIG through the TARP (Troubled Assets Recovery Program) funds.

So now, today, all over the 24 hour cable news networks Chris Dodd seems to be the AIG Villain of the Day.

I must confess that although I was initially in favor of bailing out Wall Street to Save Main Street, I think that this heartless episode of Greed Unlimited should teach us once and for all that what we are saving in our financial system is not worth saving. I hope that we are going to be smart enough to change our legislation to protect ourselves from future Wall shafting by those firms that we have saved only to screw us over and over again. The U.S. financial spigot needs to be turned off for any firm that we gave money to and which, in turn, gave our money out like candy in monstrous bonuses to their employees.

I realize that Wall Street Banks and Corporations have their Super Greedy ways of doing things but they need to learn what the American Taxpayer has learned.

The time has come for them to live within their means or else take the consequences.

Sincerely Yours

Jerry Gallagher