Points of interest:
- "AIG disclosed its retention-payment program more than a year ago, and the amount of the bonuses -- more than $400 million for Financial Products alone -- had been widely reported." [Curiously, just now on the TV I hear that Tim "tax evader" Geithner only heard about the bonuses this past weekend.]
- "At the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which has directly overseen AIG since its federal takeover in September, officials have studied the possibility of rescinding or delaying the bonuses. They even brought in outside lawyers for advice. The conclusion: If the bonuses weren't paid, the AIG staffers would be able to sue the company and probably would win, not just what they were owed but also punitive damages that would make the ultimate cost perhaps two to three times as high as the bonuses themselves."
- "The senior executives whose decisions caused the company's collapse are long gone. Most of those left behind are trying to unwind complicated derivative contracts. Completing that process correctly is essential to preserving as much value as possible for taxpayers, officials at both the government and AIG have argued. If it is mishandled, it could expose taxpayers to billions of dollars in additional losses."
So... now, after all that, and despite the stimulus bill explicitly protecting those bonuses thanks to Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Obama is whipping people into a frenzy. (And unfortunately, he's not alone; Senator Grassley shoved his foot far into his mouth.) People at AIG are receiving death threats, and some have resigned or just stopped showing up.
I wonder when Mr. Obama will deviate into competence.
Good question. This is more of the same "never let a crisis go to waste" mentality, this time to pump up the politics of naked envy.
Oh, and the source is one even the leftists can't complain about: the Washington Post.