From the WSJ:
"American International Group Inc. will pay $450 million in bonuses to employees in its financial products unit. That division was at the heart of AIG's collapse last fall, which compelled the U.S. government to provide $173.3 billion in aid to keep it running.
Chief Executive Edward Liddy told Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in a letter dated Saturday that the next payments to employees of the financial products unit -- whose woes caused massive losses at the giant insurer -- are due on Sunday, and added "quite frankly, AIG's hands are tied."
Those payments are in addition to $121.5 million in incentive bonuses for 2008 that AIG will start making this month to about 6,400 of its roughly 116,000 employees. AIG, which was rescued in September as it faced potential bankruptcy, is also making over $600 million in retention payments to over 4,000 employees.
Together, the three programs could result in roughly $1.2 billion in retention and bonus payments to AIG employees."
If you want to get really angry, consider that this division, whose members will be getting nearly half a billion dollars in bonuses for the remainder of 2008 and 2009, has about 370 employees. That's well over a million dollars a person, to a group that lost over $40 billion (so far!), and bankrupted its parent company. Nice work if you can get it.
I'm all for letting those fuckwits try their luck in the job market just now. We don't necessarily need the arsonists who burnt the house down to have a hand in rebuilding it. Something tells me they wouldn't be using the latest in flame-retardant materials anyway...
And just for a little added outrage, how's this for cluessless?
Following up on the news that AIG executives are so arrogant that they are actually going to insist that taxpayers pay their bonuses in spite of their epic failures to fulfill their fiduciary duty, this will really make your day:
Champagne corks are always popping somewhere, of course, and the high life never disappears entirely, especially in New York. But these days, a $750 magnum of Perrier-Jouët stands in striking contrast to the scene outside Bagatelle’s glass-paneled door, where the Dow has lost half its value since the fall of 2007, the recession has claimed a net total of 4.4 million jobs since it began, more than 850,000 families lost their homes to foreclosure last year, and the word “depression” is being heard in the land.
As for how he and his fellow Wall Streeters could still afford such afternoons, he said: “We all made so much money in the past five years, it doesn’t matter.”
A 29-year-old man who works for a large investment management firm and was at Bagatelle’s brunch one recent Saturday and at Merkato 55’s the next, put it another way: “If you’d asked me in October, I’d say it’d be a different situation, and I don’t think I’d be here. Then the government gave us $10 billion.”
Fitzgerald was right. They really are different from you and me. I'm not even sure they're human.
They need to put down the champagne and pick up some history books. I'd advise them to start with the French Revolution. Specifically, what happened to the "let them eat cake" crowd.