Tuesday, March 17, 2009

AIG Blarney Day

McCain flips on AIG bailout one more time: We never should have rescued them.

Last fall, as AIG teetered on the edge of collapse, then-Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) came out against using government resources to rescue the firm. Less than 24 hours later, McCain decided that a bailout was necessary [...] after learning of the AIG’s plans to award $165 million in bonuses to its employees — McCain apparently decided that saving “literally millions of people” from financial ruin wasn’t worth it...

Grassley clarifies his call for AIG execs to commit suicide: I want ‘contrition,’ ‘remorse,’ ‘full responsibility.’
Angered over the AIG’s decision to dole out bonuses to its top employees, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) yesterday caused a stir when he suggested the company’s executives should follow “the Japanese example” and resign or kill themselves. Grassley appeared this morning on Bloomberg TV, where he was given a chance to clarify his views.

Conservatives Suggest Torture Tactics For AIG Execs: ‘Exemplary Hanging,’ Guillotine Party, ‘Boiling In Oil’

Politicians and pundits from both sides of the aisle have expressed outrage at the recent news that bailed-out insurance giant AIG will be paying $165 million in bonuses to the same executives who “brought the company to the brink of collapse.”

Perino Defends AIG Bonuses: They Are ‘Middle Class People’ Who ‘Are Expecting To Get This Bonus’
Reports over the weekend that bailed-out insurance giant AIG will be paying $165 million in bonuses to executives “in the same business unit that brought the company to the brink of collapse last year” have sparked bipartisan outrage. [...] However, it seems that Dana Perino, former President Bush’s press secretary, didn’t receive the memo. On C-Span’s Washington Journal on Sunday, Perino defended the bonuses:
PERINO: And the people who are working there that are middle-class people, are expecting to get this bonus. If they do not get it, maybe they won’t be motivated enough to try to help the company turn around and getting the company to turn around and be more profitable is important for all of us.
Perino then chastised the “rhetoric in Washington” that “can try to make things so black and white, and make things sound so easy — demonize people when I don’t think that that’s fair.”

It appears that Perino either doesn’t know who is set to receive the bonuses or is unaware what it means to be “middle class” (i.e. those American households that generally make between $40,000 and $70,000 per year). In fact, while as of Sunday, it was unclear what the salary range is for the executives who are set to get the bonuses, as The New York Times reported at the time, some of them will receive more than $3 million in bonuses alone.

ANALYSIS: Current Bush Tax System Saves AIG Traders More Than $7.5 Million
According to our analysis, thanks to the Bush tax system, these traders are taking home $7.5 million more then they would have in the 1990s.

CNBC's Rick Santelli says the 165 Million dollar AIG bonuses are 'no big thang'
He's baaaack. Rick Santelli, the right wing hero and the man who too cowardly to represent CNBC on The Daily Show is now calling the payouts of bonuses to AIG executives nothing more than a bathroom product compared to other monies being spent.

Barney Frank on Maddow: We Own AIG so there should be no bonuses
Barney Frank is one of the only Democrats that can speak succinctly about the economy and knows how to mix it up with the obstructionism that rules the GOP and FOX News.

Barney Frank: It’s ‘Nonsensical’ To Retain AIG Employees To Undo The Mess They Created
That’s nonsensical. It’s clear they made a lot of mistakes and we need to undo what they did. If they really understood what they did in the first place, seriously, they probably wouldn’t have done much of it. Secondly, when you are trying to undo something, it is often not the case that the people who did it are the ones to put in place. People are sometimes committed to not admitting mistakes. … So that argument I think is in fact almost counter, because the argument that you take the people who made the mistake and put them in charge of undoing the mistake goes against the human impulse not to admit a mistake.

Rep. Frank: Systemic Risk Regulator Will Be Able To Say To Any Entity, ‘No You Can’t Do That’
Today, the House Financial Services committee held a hearing to examine the regulation of systemic risk in the financial services industry. Committee chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) has been outspoken in his desire to see a systemic risk regulator — most likely the Federal Reserve — that would oversee all activity, across the spectrum of financial institutions, and flag behavior that is threatening to the entire system (like that undertaken by, oh, AIG).

Frank sat down with ThinkProgress today to explain his vision for the regulator and why the role should be filled by the Federal Reserve...

McConnell misleadingly suggests he favored Wall Street salary caps.
This afternoon on CNN, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) pretended as though he had favored capping the salaries of bankers whose firms accepted TARP funds, claiming that his position has been that bailed-out companies “are going to have to operate in a different sort of way.”

The day in AIG diaries
Sometimes the most interesting stuff is right under your nose, and that is certainly the case today with diaries on AIG. Here's a selection of some of the diaries on the subject from Tuesday as of around 5:30PM Pacific time, ordered by recency. (Please note: this is only a subset, there were many great diaries tagged AIG, and this post only mentions a few of them.)

An Irish Toast To Ye All

Here's to me, and here's to you,
And here's to love and laughter-
I'll be true as long as you,
And not one moment after.

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