If you have a computer, television, or radio, by now you’ve heard: the company you own a stake in whether you like it or not recently paid many of its former and still-employed employees $165 million in bonuses.
Yes, AIG—that three-letter acronym of a company that’s come to represent bad calls, bailouts, and bonehead moves like giving its staff bonuses with government money—has done it again, spitting in the face of the hand not only feeding it but holding the plug to the IV it’s been sucking on for months.
To say the least, AIG’s decision to pay employees bonuses because it’s contractually obligated to do so has proven to be a terrible one. On Monday, a day after the payments went public, AIG offices were bombarded with angry emails, phone calls, and even few death threats. Meanwhile, Republican Senator Charles Grassley from the Tall Corn State recommended that a few AIG executives either step up and admit they made an extremely poor decision, or else commit hari-kari. Later, the Iowa senator (sort of) retracted his statement that a few suits should take the honorable Samurai way out, but he’s still darn angry, like millions of others, that there’s been no public apology, and believes that handing out bonuses to folks partly responsible for crippling AIG—not to mention that the only reason they have or had a job was due to government (taxpayer) intervention–is an abomination.
The latest AIG blunder also inflamed the Obama administration and New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (who’s always up for a bonus fight; he already has Bank of America/Merrill Lynch in his sights, and he’s locked and loaded).