Representative Barney Frank today blasted the bonuses that are going to AIG executives whose bad decisions pushed the insurance giant to the edge of going under before a federal bailout.Don't get uppity, Barney. You're talking about "the government" owning "AIG" as though there was a meaningful difference between the two. You may have many tons of seniority, but you're still just the seasonal hired help. The big boys care what you think about as much as I do ... which ain't much.
The $165 million in bonuses was to be paid to the executives by Sunday, and most are going to AIG Financial Products, the unit that sold credit default swaps, the risky contracts that caused massive losses for the insurer. AIG, which lost $61.7 billion for the fourth quarter of last year -- the largest corporate loss in history -- has received more than $170 billion in a series of federal rescues.
Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat who is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, suggested that if the federal government, which now owns an 80 percent stake in the company, can't rescind the bonuses, it could force some dismissals.
"These people may have a right to their bonuses. They don't have a right to their jobs forever," Frank said on NBC's "Today" show.
No doubt, there'll be an entertaining amount of simulated outrage squirting forth from our "representatives." Watch and see what happens the next time AIG wants a big treasury check. On second thought, no need to wait: you already know. They'll get it. As I say, it isn't as if AIG and "the government" were really different entities.