The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


The Rundown

AIG Ruins Obama's St. Patrick's Day

By Ben Pershing
If President Obama doesn't appear to be enjoying his green beer at the various St. Patrick's Day celebrations he will attend today, there is a simple explanation -- blame AIG.

The furor over $165 million in bonuses paid out to employees of the insurance giant, which is being kept afloat by government funds, has quickly subsumed every other news story this week and seems to have caught the Obama administration off guard. The result has been a flurry of letter-writing and threats. Congressional Democrats wrote to Tim Geithner, demanding he do something about this. Obama also called on Geithner, demanding he do something about this. Hill Republicans want Geither to present a bailout "exit strategy" (and noted that they asked the same thing of Henry Paulson). There was talk of firings, hearings, new laws and new subpoenas. Members of Congress haven't quite stormed AIG's headquarters with pitchforks yet, but it may not be far off.

What are the chances that the government can actually force these bonuses to be paid back? Apparently, not so good. And after so many hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent on various bailouts over the last six months, why did this $165 million spark such particular outrage? It could just be that populist anger, which has been building steadily, reached a tipping point. Whatever the cause, the Obama administration is now scrambling to make sure that it doesn't get blamed for the bonuses, and that the public focuses its anger on AIG, and not the government officials who are supposed to be monitoring the company's every move.

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Posted at 8:24 AM ET on Mar 17, 2009  | Category:  The Rundown
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What next? 165 million dollars in bonus money for AIG executives.
Mardolf confesses to stealing 50 billion in a Ponzi scheme. Then Mardolf's lawyer requests the judge to release him back to his Penthouse while awaiting sentencing. Thankfully, the judge refused and sent him to jail. Where is the money, Mardolf?

Congress, we need regulations now for the President's signature before anybody else continues to steal taxpayer money without any real accountability. Wake up Congress and smell the coffee so the taxpayer does not continue to get the short end of the stick.

Posted by: amorr032 | March 17, 2009 8:10 PM

A surcharge on bonuses that are received from companies that have received funds from the TARP program. The amount of the surcharge should equal the percentage of total equity of the institution that those funds represented.

Dottydo can send a sympathy notice to all those so affected. This surcharge should last as long as the current contract lasts or until the funds are repaid to the government.

All bonuses should be related to the performance over 5 years not one year and therefore bonuses should not be released until 5 years after being earned.

Dottydo can send sympathy notices to those receiving bonuses that they will have to be earned. No contract should contain mandatory bonuses that are not performance based. Sorry Dotty, it's time for weaning.

Posted by: Gator-ron | March 17, 2009 2:36 PM

Hello everyone,

This is something I would not normally do but I feel that we all need to say what we think about AIG and what they are doing to this country. I hope you will send the ceo Edward Liddy an email about what you think of his and AIG's actions that have affected

this country and others. If we dont this will continue for many years to come. I had a hard time getting this email address so I hope each person who recieves it will send a note or letter to Edward Liddy and also please send to everyone in your email lists so they can too.

Lets all start taking a more proactive approach towards these situations. In the long run we will all be more successful

in what we do in life and companies like AIG will not be able to do what they are doing to us right now.

Here is his direct email at AIG.

Thanks again, Ryan

Posted by: Ryan38 | March 17, 2009 2:08 PM

Banzai, you've posted my favorite new song!

You know, it's too bad President Bush (remember him? He's the guy that signed off on the terms of the AIG bailout) was never on the other side of a corporate takeover.

If he and the other leaders in Washington had - they'd know how this works.

1)The first thing you do is give a great speech about how proud we are to be the new ownership of (YOUR COMPANY NAME HERE)and what success we'll build when we all work together.

2)FIRE EVERYBODY. This cancels all existing contracts, bonuses and agreements.

3)Make everyone re-apply for their jobs so you can begin to right size the company.

Everyone who has been through this drill (and that's a lot of us in the past 10 years of acquisition and mergermania)knows it's true.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | March 17, 2009 1:54 PM

So the new cunning idea for Obamaland funding, is to slap a sucharge tax on bonuses.
Going from bad to even worse.

Geeze it sounds like Ebenezer Scrooge coming for your Christmas "no turkey dinner for you" said the soup vermacht.
How about retracting the US citizen's money that Obamaland wrenched from them, and let the tent collapse?

Obamanomics is like an addict headed for the enabelers wallet all the time.

Stop the flow from your wallet into a possibly unconstitutional occupation of the Oval office.
Think Mc Gruber on SNL

Think Irish green and look for the next planned incursion by OAbamaland into wallet...utility bill taxes.

Think an Irish Green Gruber thought: A refurbished Symmetra 16kva, with a battery cabinet, and a solar panel removes a home from the grid, and gets a tax write off.

Mistakes can only be made with a US citizen's money if one is dumb enough to hand it to Obamanomics.

Stop the financial abuser to your Constitutional Republic life.
Keep the green, and snap the wallet closed.

Posted by: dottydo | March 17, 2009 1:04 PM

The problem I have with Republicans is they are often on the right side of the issue but their extreme partisanship and their willingness to do the wrong thing such as refusing to push the stimulus bill towards useful spending of the money rather than their exclusive focus on tax cuts.

Tax cuts to the wealthy will do nothing to help the economy at this time because the credit markets are not functioning properly. Many voting for Obama want a capitalist system to function but right now greed, incompetance and adherence to ideology have gotten us to this point and a TEMPORARY use of socialist methods are required if we are not going to increase the misery of those without the financial cushion to weather this. A

As things stand now, if I do not understand an issue I do not trust Republicans to do the right thing because their ideology blocks them and they all act like a herd.

People are not going to trust them for a generation if they don't get over that the country has to move on and we will. That will be with or without them. I personally feel it is better for them and therefore for us if it is with them. But if they insist on self-destructing so be it.

Posted by: Gator-ron | March 17, 2009 11:45 AM

(Bugger Off, Irish Drinking Song)


So bugger off, you Wall Street bastards bugger off! (Fook Yu!)
Bugger off, you deadbeat bastards bugger off! (Fook Yu!)
Like a herd of bloody swine that refuse to leave the trough
You'll get no more this evening so you bailout bastards bugger off

AIG you've been a lovely bailout zombie, but oh the time does pass.
So don't you all be bettin' the Feds won't kick you in the ass.
You've been a splendid bailout basket case, but enough is enough.
We'd take it very kindly AIG if you'd all just bugger off!


Here's to all the bankers and lawyers who've been servin securitized beers,
and puttin up their knoxious greed and their stupid drunken schemes.
So leave your money on their table when you go,
tomorrow you'll have a sorry head and nothin left to show


Here's to all them bailout hags who might be waitin with tin pans in their hands,
and thinkin one of them might make a charmin one night stand.
Please don't be offended girls this song is not for you.
Uncle Sam will be happy to oblige you to get this nasty job through.


So Timmy G you've been promisin these bailout bag ladies a night of lovin bliss,
but truth be told your far to drunk on bailout swill to stand up straight and piss.
So give it up you lousy sod you'll not be gettin laid.
and the sooner that you're out the door the sooner Uncle Sam will get repaid.


So bugger off, you Wall Street bastards bugger off! (Fook Yu!)
Bugger off, you deadbeat bastards bugger off! (Fook Yu!)
Like a herd of fooking swine that refuse to leave the trough
You'll get no more this evening so you bailout bastards bugger off

Posted by: williambanzai7 | March 17, 2009 11:18 AM

AIG is the poster child of the Republican Party. The Republican leaders in congress want to grant tax breaks to people who get big bonuses. ...................

Posted by: glclark4750 | March 17, 2009 11:18 AM

The underlying problem in corporate structure is that those setting pay scales are cronies of those receiving the pay. They all are antagonists of the owners of the companies, share holders such as ourselves.

Posted by: Gator-ron | March 17, 2009 11:12 AM

For a US Senator to suggest that the executives commit suicide to take responsibility for their action is leading to believe that this whole AIG matter is a National Security problem of the highest order. This kind of suggestion will not solve the problem yet to be known. The more I hear from the government, leaves me believing that we have just seen the tip of the iceberg!!!!! The present administration should stay focus on this problem, cause its like a runaway train!!!!

Posted by: jk330 | March 17, 2009 11:11 AM


Why didn't CNN's John King ask Cheney about the Sy Hersh allegation that he ran an "executive assassination ring" out of the White House?

Why hasn't the mainstream media followed up on the story?

Why has Rep. Dennis Kucinich's call for a full Congressional investigation into the issues raised by Sy Hersh received scant media coverage -- not even a mention here?

Why hasn't the mainstream media covered the proliferation of silent, inury- and illness-inducing microwave radiation weaponry (a/k/a "directed energy weapons") among law enforcement agencies coast to coast...

...weapons being deceptively sold as "non-lethals" or "less lethals," weapons that merely "heat" the "outer layer" of human skin -- when, in fact, such weaponry has the capability of "cooking" human tissue from the inside out.

I would argue that the issues enumerated above are political issues -- issues that a complacent, submissive mainstream media has been conditioned to avoid.

Colleagues, the revelations from Seymour Hersh represent but one strand of a complex and insidious web of policies and covert, coordinated "multi-agency actions" that, taken together, constitute an ongoing extrajudicial targeting and punishment network... authoritarian apparatus that in communities nationwide destroys lives and makes a mockery of the rule of law.

This is a scandal far worse than Watergate -- a cancer on the nation that has gone undiagnosed due largely to media malpractice.



* Silent, covert microwave radiation weapons (D.E.W.) assaults on innocent but "targeted" U.S. citizens;

* Terroristic vigilante community gang stalking, surreptitious home entry, police-tolerated vandalism;

* Secret federal "programs of personal financial destruction" that have used the IRS as an ideological tool of "social cleansing."

OR (if links are corrupted / disabled):

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 17, 2009 10:58 AM

If you are really unhappy with the behavior of AIG, you can stop using their products:
Cancel/transfer to another insurer your life, health and annuity policies.
Exchange any mutual fund managed by AIG or a subsidiary for one managed by someone else. This includes your personal accounts, an IRA and 401(k).
Contact your union/human resources department and ask if AIG provides your group health/life policies and if so see if any other is available or ask if they can find another insurer to use. (Not hard in this environment to find a willing provider.)
Move your homeowners insurance and auto insurance policies to another provider.

It's not just the politicians. We're not helpless, you know. Just DO IT!

Posted by: bgreen2224 | March 17, 2009 10:02 AM

Hypocrits all of them, while AIG was sinking they were taking
From Center for Responsive Politics
American International Group: TOP 10 Recipients last year
Dodd, Chris (D-CT) Senate $103,100
Obama, Barack (D-IL)Senate $101,332
McCain, John (R-AZ) Senate $59,499
Clinton, Hillary(D-NY)Senate $35,965
Baucus, Max (D-MT) Senate $24,750
Romney, Mitt (R) Pres $20,850
Biden, Joseph R JrD-DE)Senate $19,975
Larson, John B (D-CT)House $19,750
Sununu, John E (R-NH)Senate $18,500
Giuliani, Rudolph W (R)Pres $13,200

Posted by: msa651 | March 17, 2009 9:24 AM

Hey, check the record. Who set the original conditions on the AIG bailout deal? It was good old Tim Geithner when he was still at the NY Fed. Me thinks that Obama protests too much.

Posted by: BubbaRight | March 17, 2009 9:22 AM

Bonuses are small change in AIG's portfolio.

Drug dealers launder Drug money and AIG is laundering Billions of dollars for it's business partners.

The Obama Administration places Strings on Bailout money.

Give AIG $40 Billion and they relay those funds to their friends without Strings to foreign partners and many in the U.S. who are either not supposed to get our tax money or want the money without their Managers having to accept pay restrictions.

Posted by: ddoiron1 | March 17, 2009 9:19 AM

The WSJ today reports that bailed out WS firms are figuring out ways to circumvent the pay limits in the recent TARP bill:

Will President Obama and Congress get in front and fix the loopholes in the recent TARP legislation? Or is another "credibility gap" in the works?!

Posted by: pixiedust1 | March 17, 2009 9:18 AM

This could still blow up in Obama's face. He needs to make a real grandstanding show about getting those bonuses back...

Posted by: parkerfl1 | March 17, 2009 8:52 AM

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