Hypocritical posturing by Obama over AIG bonuses

by Hans Bader

In response to public outrage, Obama is belatedly criticizing the millions of dollars in bonuses that AIG, which is being bailed by taxpayers at a cost of $170 billion, is paying to its executives. But his criticism is hypocritical and dishonest, both because his administration had long known about the bonuses before they became public, and because the stimulus package he himself signed contains a provision specifically designed to shield those undeserved bonuses...


Supporters of capitalism are crazy, says Harvard

Ludwig von Mises Institute
by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

Last weekend, Harvard University sponsored a conference called (I am not making this up) ‘The Free Market Mindset: History, Psychology, and Consequences.’ Its purpose was to try to figure out why, since everyone knows the current crisis amounts to a failure of the market economy, the stupid rubes continue to believe in it. The promotional literature for the conference opened with That Quotation from Alan Greenspan — the one in which he suggested that there was, after all, a ‘flaw’ in the free market he hadn’t noticed before...


Crocodile tears over AIG

Foundation for Economic Education
by Sheldon Richman


If politicians spill any more crocodile tears over AIG , the EPA might have to declare Washington, D.C. a protected wetland. Sweep aside the phony expressions of ‘outrage’ over AIG’s government-financed $165 million in bonuses (the information was in black and white) and ask yourself this: Who supplied the money?


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp


Outcry Builds in Washington for Recovery of A.I.G. Bonuses

Jackie Calmes And Louise Story, The New York Times: "The American International Group, which has received nearly $200 billion in bailout funds, last week paid bonuses to 418 employees, including $33.6 million to 52 people who have left the failed insurance conglomerate, according to the office of the New York attorney general. The company paid the bonuses, including more than $1 million each to 73 people, to almost all of the employees in the financial products unit responsible for creating the exotic derivatives that caused A.I.G.'s near collapse and started the government rescue to avoid a global financial crisis. The information adds to the firestorm confronting the Obama administration and Congress since the weekend disclosure that A.I.G., almost 80 percent owned by the government, paid out $165 million in bonuses."


Venality Bites

Brian E. Gray, Truthout: "The Obama administration's assertion that the federal government had no power to stop A.I.G. from awarding $165 million in bonuses to the derivatives traders in its financial products unit, whose reckless decisions both destroyed the company and exacerbated the collapse of the international banking and insurance industries, rests on a faulty interpretation of the US Constitution. Speaking on ABC's 'This Week,' Lawrence H. Summers, director of the National Economic Council, explained that the United States could not block payment of the bonuses, despite A.I.G.'s receipt of more than $170 billion in federal TARP funds, because 'We are a country of law. There are contracts. The government cannot just abrogate contracts.' Although, it is true that the 'government cannot just abrogate contracts' for no good reason, the law is clear that the United States has the authority to impose significant restrictions on the administration of both public and private contracts to ensure that the expenditure of federal funds is consistent with the public interest. Although, it is too late to void the A.I.G. bonuses, the administration's narrow reading of the law should not deter Congress from amending the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of October 2008, the legislation that created TARP, to authorize the president or the secretary of the treasury to modify executive compensation agreements that are contrary to the purposes of the Act."




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