Saturday, March 14, 2009

Capitalism Gone Very, Very Wrong...
I am so LIVID over this, that it's got my blood BOILING...

I didn't think I'd be posting this evening, but all of a sudden...well, it all started when I went online and ran across an article in the New York Times (My comments in italics):

"WASHINGTON — The American International Group, which has received more than $170 billion in taxpayer bailout money from the Treasury and Federal Reserve, plans to pay about $165 million in bonuses by Sunday to executives in the same business unit that brought the company to the brink of collapse last year. Word of the bonuses last week stirred such deep consternation inside the Obama administration that Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner told the firm they were unacceptable and demanded they be renegotiated, a senior administration official said. But the bonuses will go forward because lawyers said the firm was contractually obligated to pay them."

This kind of stuff is just so blatant, so in-yer-face, so damned OBVIOUS that you'd think perhaps AIG would want to 'hold off' on those bonuses right now; even if the firm is contractually obligated to pay them, It just kinda Looks bad right now. Go back to the first sentence above..."AIG", which received more than $170 BILLION in bonuses, is paying out, in effect, $165 million to FatCat Executives...and as you'll read below, the money flow doesn't stop there, 'cos these money-grubbing fatcats won't even have to spend any of the 'Above' money, 'cos they still have closetfuls of other cash which they received in the not-too-distant past...

"The payments to A.I.G.’s financial products unit are in addition to $121 million in previously scheduled bonuses for the company’s senior executives and 6,400 employees across the sprawling corporation. Mr. Geithner last week pressured A.I.G. to cut the $9.6 million going to the top 50 executives in half and tie the rest to performance. The payment of so much money at a company at the heart of the financial collapse that sent the broader economy into a tailspin almost certainly will fuel a popular backlash against the government’s efforts to prop up Wall Street. Past bonuses already have prompted President Obama and Congress to impose tough rules on corporate executive compensation at firms bailed out with taxpayer money."

You've got these fatcat operations basically flaunting their wealth and insatiable greed in this most rotten of economic times. We, us, the taxpayers, are in effect, GIVING our money to these business-suited-so-and-so's. I admire President Obama for trying to do something, anything, to prop up our country, but for those of you who say that Obama is not good for the country, how about the big corporations who are basically sticking their fingers up our noses with the attitude of, "ha, ha, we're gonna do ANYTHING WE WANT even if people get cold, go hungry, lose their houses or not be able to pay their taxes." No matter what the President does, nothing in this country will change unless Corporate America Changes First.

"A.I.G., nearly 80 percent of which is now owned by the government, defended its bonuses, arguing that they were promised last year before the crisis and cannot be legally canceled. In a letter to Mr. Geithner, Edward M. Liddy, the government-appointed chairman of A.I.G., said at least some bonuses were needed to keep the most skilled executives. “We cannot attract and retain the best and the brightest talent to lead and staff the A.I.G. businesses — which are now being operated principally on behalf of American taxpayers — if employees believe their compensation is subject to continued and arbitrary adjustment by the U.S. Treasury,” he wrote Mr. Geithner on Saturday."
Huh? What? So these earlier bonuses can't be withheld? For Legal Reasons? These Are BONUSES, for cryin' out loud! Do the right thing and Hold Off on These Payouts until the economy looks a little bit better. People are losin' their homes, for cryin' out loud. But it's pointless to ask these questions, since it's so OBVIOUS that "A.I.G." and similar operations don't CARE. People around the country are tightening their belts, except in Corporate Boardrooms. What can the President do, if Corporate America doesn't set a good example? And the argument that AIG has to pay thru the nose to keep the 'best and brightest'? It needs to be pointed out that these bonuses are in addition To The Huge Salaries these corporate shlubs are already sucking out of the system.

"Still, Mr. Liddy seemed stung by his talk with Mr. Geithner, calling their conversation last Wednesday “a difficult one for me” and noting that he receives no bonus himself. “Needless to say, in the current circumstances,” Mr. Liddy wrote, “I do not like these arrangements and find it distasteful and difficult to recommend to you that we must proceed with them.” An A.I.G. spokeswoman said Saturday that the company had no comment beyond the letter. The bonuses were first reported by The Washington Post."

Awwww...widdle Mr. Liddy doesn't get a widdle Bonus...awwww...that means no new Rolls Royce; he'll have to quit drinking Chateau Laffite '59 and cut back to a beverage whose label reads "Gallo". He may have to remember to keep his million-dollar-penthouse suite's temperature at 68 degrees or below. He'll have to find someone who sells caviar for a lower price. Somehow I think he'll get through this...I mean, we all have to sacrifice...right?

"The senior government official, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said the administration was outraged. “It is unacceptable for Wall Street firms receiving government assistance to hand out million-dollar bonuses, while hard-working Americans bear the burden of this economic crisis,” the official said. Of all the financial institutions that have been propped up by taxpayer dollars, none has received more money than A.I.G. and none has infuriated lawmakers more with practices that policy makers have called reckless."

And that's where it's at. Somehow "Capitalism" gets morphed into "the rich get richer while we don't give a damn about the poor, the homeless, the starving, the disabled or those who cannot get by on their own." This is the Bad side of Capitalism, in which more and more money is being made by those who need it the least, and IT'S BEING FLAUNTED IN OUR FACES. "We're gonna do what we want", the executives are telling us, "and No One Can Stop Us, neener-neener-neener................"

"The bonuses will be paid to executives at A.I.G.’s financial products division, the unit that wrote trillions of dollars’ worth of credit-default swaps that protected investors from defaults on bonds backed in many cases by subprime mortgages. The bonus plan covers 400 employees, and the bonuses range from as little as $1,000 to as much as $6.5 million. Seven executives at the financial products unit were entitled to receive more than $3 million in bonuses."

Let's see if I've got this right... Seven Executives get THREE-MILLION-Dollar Bonuses EACH, while the other 393 employees in the bonus plan each get $1,000 or perhaps more. In short, 7 Out Of 400 Employees are getting almost Half of that $6.5 Million In Bonuses!!! What are these guys doing to generate these bonuses? Putting Golf Balls on their Green Office Carpets? Gosh, why take the trouble to become a criminal, why engage in covert activity or swindle people (a la Madoff) WHEN YOU CAN MAKE ZILLIONS LEGALLY FOR DOING NOTHING?

The article goes on to detail what you've seen above already, but I think you get the idea. And it's obvious that Corporate Greed is Alive and Well. And what makes me so mad about this is that Corporate America doesn't care how it looks. They can thumb their noses in our faces, "nyaaah, nyaaah", while Joe-blue-collar-plumber-taxpayer struggles to make payments on his 7-year old vehicle that needs repairs he can't afford to have done. Corporate America, I HATE you. Finally, I'm not a money-grubbing-so-and-so, and I can prove it: I don't need millions and millions of million is all I 'bout it, "AIG"?


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