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Republic. I like the sound of the word. It means people can live free, talk free, go or come, buy or sell, be drunk or sober, however they choose. Some words can give you a feeling that makes your heart warm. Republic is one of those words. - John Wayne

Monday, March 16, 2009
 
Big Brother, Can Ya Spare A Bonus?
by Cordeiro
AIG's foolish bonus payments are all the rage (literally) of today's news cycle. President Obama is "choked up with anger" . Congressman Barney Frank has all but declared himself judge, jury, and career execution of those who may have received bonus cash to which they are legally entitled.  Finally, and perhaps most troubling, the over zealous New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has threatened to publicly expose those evil capitalist derivative traders – and most likely other less evil AIG employees – through the use of his almighty subpoena.

 

In the realm of class warfare, it doesn't get any better than this. There's enough outrage for several news cycles.

 

For the record, I'd like to state that I find AIG's corporate actions to be some of the most reprehensible I've ever seen. I'm sure AIG will be to this decade what Enron was to the last one. I don't understand in the least sense the details behind equity trading and mortgage derivatives.  Perhaps my lack of knowledge will disqualify me from making a seven figure annual salary. I can live with that.

 

What sticks in my craw, so to speak, is the audacity of the political chattering class to take it upon themselves to judge who is – and more importantly who is not – worthy of the elusive compensation known as a "bonus". Most of these politicians have found themselves worthy – year after year – of unwarranted pay raises and a host of fringe benefits the rest of us everyday Americans will never receive.

 

The bonus figure drawing such rage is around $165 million. To most people, even leftists like Obama and Frank,  that's a rather large chunk of change. While you're getting your dander up, riddle me this: where was all this rage when we found out about Obama's buddy and economic advisor Franklin Raines? Over a six-year period he raked in $91.1 million - of which a paltry $52.6 million was in "bonus" cash.

 

At least the $165 million was "earmarked" for multiple people. AIG executives are being pilloried for "running the company into the ground". Has there been any such outrage expressed at the likes of Mr. Raines, James Johnson, or Jamie Gorelick? Has Andy Cuomo subpoenaed the financials of the aforementioned individuals? Methinks not.

 

In a hypothetical scenario, think about this. If Freddie and Fannie hadn't imploded under the weight of sub-prime mortgages and the cooked books courtesy of Raines and Gorelick, would AIG have fallen off the cliff? I'm no economist, but it seems to me that without the first domino being shoved, the rest stand up pretty well.

 

Be that as it may, here's some other points to ponder: Do you really want people like Barack Obama and his inept band of politically motivated dim bulbs  deciding – in their all to finite wisdom – who is worthy of a "bonus"? Should the companies be required to have their corporate rosters (from the CEO to the janitor) pass muster before the (less than) honorable Barney Frank?

 

The next bonus they decry or job they weigh in the balance just might be yours.
 
Here endeth the lesson.

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