Senator Charles Grassley, Republican from IA, has this to say about AIG:
"I suggest, you know, obviously, maybe they ought to be removed," Grassley said. "But I would suggest the first thing that would make me feel a little bit better toward them if they'd follow the Japanese example and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say, I'm sorry, and then either do one of two things: resign or go commit suicide. And in the case of the Japanese, they usually commit suicide before they make any apology." [emphasis added]
Doesn't this help the public discourse so much? Isn't demonizing people who make more money than the average bear a great idea? Yes! Let's increase the amount of class envy in this country! What a great idea!
What a stinking idiot. We've already thrown a pot of money at AIG; now they need to use a portion of that to insure the employees who will make the money to keep them afloat stay put and do just that. If we intended AIG to fail, we shouldn't have given them a dime, and they would have gone under quickly as their competitors picked off all of their best people. Which is exactly what will happen if AIG doesn't pay these bonuses.* The only added benefit now is that we have thrown taxpayer money away to save a company, and then hampered that company so it can't save itself. Guess what? The people getting these bonuses at AIG don't work for free; they don't even work for less - if they can make more down the street they will do so. You don't get into that kind of job without deciding beforehand that more money = ultimate good, and acting accordingly in all instances.
And if I were a politician, I would think twice about throwing all the blame on Wall Street and "greedy corporations." Not only does it create unnecessary class warfare, something this country is not supposed to be known for, but generally, people in grass houses shouldn't throw lawnmowers. Congress is at least as much to blame for our current mess as anyone else, and if the public is actually smart enough to figure that out (and some have already) Mr. Grassley and his lawnmower-throwing brethren are in a pile of trouble. And it couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of guys.
*Thank you to Husband for making this argument so vociferously from the couch the other night.