March 17th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

What should be done about AIG bonuses?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The outrage against insurance giant AIG and its bonus plan continues to mount, with one senator suggesting the company's executives should kill themselves. Republican Charles Grassley told an Iowa radio station the executives should take a Japanese approach toward accepting responsibility 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."

What do you think should be done about the AIG bonuses?

Grassley later backtracked, saying he didn't really mean they should kill themselves. Grassley is only one of many angered with AIG's plan to pay its executives $165 million in bonuses after the company took more than $170 billion in taxpayer bailout money.

No wonder Grassley is hot; according to a letter from New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to Congressman Barney Frank, 11 of the people who got these retention bonuses are no longer there. The top recipient got $6.4 million; and the top ten recipients combined got $42 million.

Democratic Senator Chris Dodd has suggested possibly taxing AIG executives who got bonuses. And, House Democrats are trying to find a way for Congress to force the company to return money used for bonuses.

For its part, AIG insists it's legally required to give employees these bonuses under contracts that were negotiated before the company got bailout money.

Here’s my question to you: What should be done about the AIG bonuses?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Gerry from Toronto writes:
This is an industry were bonuses make up 75% of pay. Any institution that takes federal money should sign up to pay bonuses in restricted stock, with additional stock incentives designed to turn the company around and get the feds their money back.

Gloria from East Bay, California writes:
Class action lawsuit, lawsuit, lawsuit! Taxpayers of the United States of America VS. AIG. Give us our money back, you arrogant, sneaky thieves!

Carol writes:
Is it too late to freeze the bonuses? The government needs to get its big gun attorneys to look into the validity of the contracts; it should also deduct this money from the bailout's bottom line. Meanwhile, AIG execs should be forced to stand on street corners and beg! Their placards could read, "Will work for bonus!" Only then will they know what America really thinks of them. It won't be pretty!

Lama writes:
What kind of weird system is it where you have contracts that legally require you to give bonuses to your employees, even if those same employees drive the company into the ground? Forget the bonuses, they need to find the person who negotiates employee contracts and fire them.

Birch writes:
Senator Grassley has it right. It's time to stop talking in gray zones.

Beth writes:
You mean the government did not know AIG was committed to giving huge bonuses before we gave them the bailout money? Government is looking more and more stupid. We should take back the taxpayers’ $170 billion and let them file for Chapter 11.

Gary writes:
Jack, simply supply the American taxpayer with the names, photos, and addresses of the AIG execs, and perhaps they will not need to kill themselves.

Filed under: Economy
soundoff (287 Responses)
  1. Clayton

    While I agree the bonuses were excessive, the gov't is entering a gray area here. There was nothing in writing that says they should not have received this money. The only thing they are wrong about is being polictically incorrect. If Uncle Sam stopped giving money to every Tom,Dick, & Harry out there ,we wouldn't have these issues.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  2. Natalie - Dayton, Ohio

    The bonuses, the company and the inept execs should go down in flames...literally...they don't seem to mind sending the rest of us to hell.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  3. Ken in NC

    Jack, nothing should be done about the AIG Bonuses. This is how businesses function. The government cannot take the action it needs to take because President Obama has just put an end to torture. Just make public the names and addresses of the bonus takers and let nature take it’s course. It’s cheaper and more efficient that way.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  4. Matthew Schmitz Oxnard , CA

    Let them have the bonuses but when they come back for another bailout we can tell them 2 words, "Good Bye"

    March 17, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  5. Allen, Hartwell GA

    I agree with Sen. Charles Grassley that the executives of AIG (and any company which has to be bailed out by the government) should apologize and resign, and give back all salary and bonuses covering unsatisfactory periods. No company which fails to make a profit should be paying bonuses. This isn't rocket science after all.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  6. john

    Nothing is going to happen. Corporate greed wins again just like the last 8 years.


    March 17, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  7. chris south bend Indiana

    Dear Jack; AIG is exactly a prime example of what is wrong with this country, Jack the majority of the people that do not deserve the rewards get them, and the people that earn them rewards get screwed out of them, I still can not figure it out Jack.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  8. j/NJ

    What should be done about the AIG bonuses?

    What should have been done was not done viz. impose restrictions on executive bonuses and payouts before rather than after passing the stimulus recovery package...but since when does Congress consider its responsibilities with the American taxpayer in mind?...in any event some republican lawmakers are probably correct: assessing a congressional tax after the fact is likely to be unconstitutional...so the only alternative is to do what always seems to work: create a moral crucible and play the guilt card in spades...republicans esp those on the far right will respond favourably to that, they always have...

    March 17, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  9. Allen L Wenger

    When a company gets too big to fail, it is competing with the government and needs to be broken into smaller parts. As to the bonuses, we should pass a law that taxes all bonuses in excess of $500,000 at 90%. This should apply to all companies, not just AIG.

    Mountain Home ID

    March 17, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  10. Gary Anderson

    Stop all taxpayer money that is heading toward AIG. This is ridiculous
    Who gets a bonus for screwing up a company?

    March 17, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  11. Lynda in NC

    AIG should either get the bonus money back or give the taxpayers back their $165 million. We as taxpayers own 80% of their stock so can't we force them to "renegotiate" (as in cancel) these "bonuses" that were clearly not based on merit.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  12. Steve

    Legally, I don't believe we can get this money back. About all we can do is find out the names and faces of those who stole our money, and hope they pass us on the street.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  13. Koy

    The bonuses equal out to about $0.50 per person. It would be twice as much if th gov't didn't give them the bonuses. Where should I send in my $1.00?

    March 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  14. Abbie Herrick

    I think they should lock all those AIG executives up and seize their property. The reason would be that they didn't disclose that they were sending out bonuses before they took the government's money.
    New Hampshire

    March 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  15. Angie

    Take the bonuses back with interest!!!! Don't give them another penny of our hard earned money. They will never learn, if we just keep slapping them on the hand and giving them money to splurge as the PLEASE.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  16. Pete Indy

    Jack-The government needs take over AIG yesterday, just like Federal Reserves take over failing banks. Then Government needs to freeze all assets to the indivdiduals that received any type of so called bonus, the IRS is good at this. Sell all assets.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  17. Mathew H.

    I am tired of all this, lets move to canada where banks are still functioning.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  18. John

    I think the state department should revoke their passports, the trasury should freeze thier assets, and the attorneys general should coordinate with the state governments to investigate and recover what they can through judicial review. Keep them and their money in the U.S. and make them very uncomfortable until they give it back.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  19. Michael Buck

    Perhaps these irresponsible AIG execs should be vigorously investigated for financial malfeasance, SEC violations, and tax code violations. What are the odds they are dirty? Find the crimes, prosecute with extreme prejudice, & fine them to the max, and send them to prison!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  20. john johnson

    If the AIG exects insist on keeping this bonus money, it should be relabeled "severance pay"

    March 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  21. Gul Parekh

    AIG is being irresponsible in doling out bonuses for failed policies of these executives. Couple that with the rats bailing out of the sinking ship and you have a classic recipe of disaster. Least that can be done now is to bring out a national shame list of these people and putting stickers on their cars which says – i gobbled up your hard earned dollars without remorse!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  22. Claire, Melbourne, FL

    Hi Jack,

    Why aren't these AIG execs in jail with Bernie Madoff? They destroyed the company and made off with billions of the investors $$$? They stole from these people – don't they have a fiduciary to use other peoples money wisely and not deceptively?

    March 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  23. Kevin

    The people in charge of AIG should stand up and ask their employees to turn down the bonuses since there is no legal way to get the money back. If they don't give the money back fire them for being idiots for not being able to see what is happening around them.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  24. Carolyn, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

    Jack, don't you find it ironic, even amusing, that all these Congressmen (on BOTH sides of the aisle) are so OUTRAGED at pay for executives who fail at their job? If ever a group has failed for years and years at working for positive results for the American people, it's Congress!!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  25. lisadee

    Jack....ENOUGH...I am sick of listening to this. The bonuses should be taxed at 100% and then all the money comes back to the American people. All this greed and the laborious talk about it is giving me a headache. I am going to turn the TV off, take an asprin and go read your book.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  26. Bill

    I think they should be forced to supply the rest of us americans with massage treatments. I could certainly do with some tension release off of my shoulders. If we're paying for these bonuses why don't we get to see some of our hard earned money come back to us!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  27. Steve Smith

    Since the recipients are hiding behind the notion of contractual obligations, why don't we, the public that owns 80% stake in AIG, just let them fail?
    They can then stand on line at the bankruptcy court and pleas their case to the judges.

    Why shoudl failure be rewarded? we don;t so that for our kids. do we?

    Steve smith

    March 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  28. Jim Sluder


    What needs to be done is to print the names, adresses, and directions to where those who received the bonuses live...then let the public take care of it!

    Jim in College Station, TX

    March 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  29. Nell, Clemson, South Carolina

    Send their names to the IRS for an audit.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  30. Kim Barnes

    Publish the names, titles, bonus amount received, address of the AIG office where they work on the front page of all newspapers. Let them hear from us.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  31. Jesse Jr

    We should demand they give back EVERY penny. Many people depend on AIG to survive and doing this for them will not bring them any second or third bailout money ..then ...they will collapse and bring the whole world down with them.,...but then...maybe this is ALL planned that way !!

    Where is Obama's brain ..allowing this to even happen ???

    March 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  32. joseph

    Nothing should be done. The Obama administration's outrage is misguided. The real outrage is that AIG gave billions to foreign banks. Tens of billions of US taxpayer dollars went to France, Britain, Germany and Switzerland and we care about 165 million?

    March 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  33. John Brewer

    Funny how everyone had the wherewithall to make sure auto workers took cuts and made contract concessions before GM and Chrysler got any money but it slipped everyone's mind to ask Wall St. to do the same

    Stabily Banking in Canada

    March 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  34. Bob Evans

    Well, I guess the money is already gone out the door, so I'd force the company to release a list of recipients and then publish it. Then, I'd give the recipients a very public option, return the money or submit their resignation.

    It's not like people will line up to hire them once their names are known and they are also known as responsible and linked to the AIG failure.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  35. Bill Schouten

    Very Simple make them give it back or take all their funds back.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  36. Steve Smith

    Jack, it's time to bring back the guillotine. AIG and their ilk apparently think they're immune from the law and any consequences and they flaunt their misdeeds shamelessly in public and in our face. Perhaps if they see their bretherens' heads below the blade and rolling down the planks, they'll begin to finally fear the repercussions of their actions.

    Steve Smith

    March 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  37. Thomas Hudson

    Let the executives at AIG get their bonus's. The government says they can't stop it. Well as a tax paying, bill paying law abiding citizen of the United States, I propose the American citizens band together and propose a class action lawsuit against AIG and the Executives who will receive bonus's. A bonus is given when you did a good job! If the executives did such a great job, why do they need the money our families need. The American people are going hungry and getting evicted from their homes and this is the thanks we get. I for one will be pursuing action as a taxpayer. All citizens need to contact their representatives in protest.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  38. John Boston

    I say we send the IRS the audit the crap out of all of them!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  39. Tim

    Nothing should be done about the bonuses.

    If congress didn't want these executives to get the bonuses (which the company was legally required to pay, according to contract law), then congress should have put that stipulation in the handout before they gave it to AIG.

    If AIG isn't allowed to compensate their executives handsomely, how in the world can they expect to attract the kind of talent they need to succeed? And if they don't succeed, the $170 billion has been wasted.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  40. brian k

    all the names of the execs. that received the bonuses should be posted publicly...they received public funds from the tax payer so we as tax payers should know who got what...greed greed greed !!!!!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  41. Dave

    Embarassing the hell out of them is probably the only thing that can be done. Publish their names and the dollar amount in 144-point fonts on your web site and on the front page of every newspaper and news magazines like Time and Newsweek. If the contracts are legally binding, I doubt any Court or Congress would be able to force a payback.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  42. TK

    Sue the executives! In the name of the American people who are suffering from cruel and damaging mental anguish from the criminal neglect of these executives and their continual raping of our pocket books.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  43. Larry

    Yes, the bonuses are annoying and perhaps undeserved. But, that's not the real issue. Where was the Board of Directors? Where was the CEO in negotiating these contracts. If it is true that we own 80% of the company now, then let's clean the slate – new directors, new CEO, new top executives. My cat could do no worse.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  44. Jamie Shiner

    I hope some how the taxpayers money can be recovered, if not I pray no more bailouts are given to these thieves. One way to fire these people is to let AIG go Belly-Up. Then restructure it under new management. Jamie Green Bay, Wisconsin

    March 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  45. Ray S from New York City

    Jack, AIG should breach the bonus contracts and let those executives sue. I would love to see the executives argue why they deserve the bonuses in front of jury.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  46. Ester L. Holzendorf

    They should all be fired, and made to give back every penny of the bonus money with interest. It does not matter what was in their contract before the bonus money. Those contracts are void. Their performances do not merit salary, let alone bonuses. They all need to be locked up.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  47. chickadee

    Since we, the taxpayers, now own 80% of AIG, I would like to cast my proxy vote to fire all the AIG Executives. Let's hire new Executives that will be happy to have a job in this stinking economy the present scavengers are responsible for.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  48. Mike Vice


    It makes me sick to hear about this, but a contract is a contract. Further, I don't think you can "uebertax" these Bozos; wouldn't that be a law passed ex post facto?

    My solution is simple. Hand the execs their bonuses in an envelope that also contains a letter terminating them. Then those soon-to-be-unemployed biz grads would have somewhere to go in June!

    Angels Camp, CA

    March 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  49. easyice

    We need a goverment takeover of AIG and put
    former V.P. Al Gore in charge.
    I'm serious!!!!!!!!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |

    It is morally and ethically wrong for AIG to pay out bonuses to what they consider their top performers. It doesnt matter if it was in their contract for aig to pay out the bonuses. Why didn't AIG pay out the bonuses before the multiple bailouts they received. It strikes me as pretty fishy that the decision to pay the bonuses came after they received money from the government and the american taxpayers. If aig didnt receive any money from the bailouts would they have paid the bonuses? Why wont they release the names of the people that left aig after they got their money? I think aig should answer to the media and the american people as to what they are doing with our money. I guess they like getting tied to a truck and being drug through the mud!
    thanks for listening

    March 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  51. Ralph

    Jack ... This is very simple really. You tell the nuts there at AIG that this will be the last bail out if any of the money goes to bonuses. Let them suffer like the rest of the country.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  52. hank snow

    are my american neighbours so stupid to reward exc.that caused aig to be in trouble most companys would fire them for incompentince.ten years ago a billion dollar company takeover was big news now they talk billions as if they were ten dollar bills

    March 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  53. David

    mr grassley was correct, he probably didn't mean it literally, but we must all admit if we as regular folk did what they did we would be in troub.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  54. Mike

    Since when is it the American way to reward FAILURE??? If I caused my company to fail, I'd be homeless and probably in jail. These morons? Well, they are sitting on bonuses in amounts that a vast majority of the world population can't even fathom. I probably won't make in my entire lifetime what these guys got in one shot FOR FAILING. Shame on them and shame on our government, which continues to conduct business as usual in spite of a change at the helm. The truth of the matter is that the rich are always catered to while the middle class and the poor bear the brunt of the tax burden and funding of these ridiculous bailouts.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  55. Robert Diamond

    Contracts for multi-million-dollar executive bonuses are sacrosanct, but employee labor union contracts are not. Working people (those who AIG Execs are bilking) have to accept reduced salaries and reduced work hours, but we need to honor contracts with executives who did not honor their obligations to do a good job.

    In the case of the AIG contracts, why not just deem them in breach of contract for poor performance, and rescind the contracts.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  56. gary nielson

    we know the names, let the IRS audit their tax returns, who knows what they will find, if nothing else let them squirm a little!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  57. Bruce stewart

    Bruce from Toronto,
    How can bonuses be paid to executives that ran a company into bankruptcy. What were the achievement levels in these "contracts" that would allow them to receive these bonuses?? I am sure we all wish that we could be rewarded for under achievement.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  58. Andrew

    I think that the bonus should be scraped. These jerk fall down and get pat on the back for it. What kind of logic is happenning in this country.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  59. Judi in Illinois

    Had AIG gone belly up because they had NOT been bailed out on taxpayer backs, precisely where would those "contractual obligations" stood. Those execs would have been SOL. That's exactly where they should be now! THIS IS OBSCENE!!!!

    There is something wrong with the whole notion of a company being "too big to fail"....something needs to be done about that!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  60. Kathleen in NC

    If the tax payers are providing this money, we should know EXACTLY who it is going to. Bring to light the individuals who received these bonuses, and ask them to forfeit either a portion or the entirety of their bonuses not only to save money, but to save AIG's reputation (or what's left of it). The media should use this opportunity to hold these people responsible for accepting bonuses when they knew their company couldn't afford it. They signed the contracts when AIG wasn't in such a dire state. When the situation changes...so do the rules of the game...

    March 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  61. Ian, Canada

    The government gives AIG $170 billion and you're worried about a mere $165 million??? What about the rest of it? Let's begin with the $81 billion that went right out of your country and straight into the coffers of foreign banks. Get over it! These days, a couple of hundred million is pocket change. The Chinese must be rubbing their hands.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  62. Becky

    It should not matter what AIG execs signed before this stimulis. If a company is not IN PROFIT you don't get a bonus. This is TAX PAYER funded help and these jerks took advantage. Give me 1.5 million so I can get out of debt.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  63. John C Gilmour

    If their contracts require bonus payment, pay them, then have the attorney general indite them all for fraud. They are the people responsible for inventing and distributing the worthless certificates.

    John, Ontario Canada

    March 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  64. John

    Jack.... You are correct. We are mad as hell. We have had class action lawsuits?....let's up the ante. We need a Country action lawsuit. This is very similar to crimes against humanity. Hey .....Gitmo I hear might be getting some room.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  65. Lane from Nashville

    Legally, there's not that much that can be done if the contracts are valid. However, we have to learn from our mistakes and stop repeating them. Any "retention" bonuses given in any company that receives bailout money must require that the employees don't leave before they receive the bonus. I've received retention bonuses from a former employer, but if I left before the payout, I didn't get the money. (it's not rocket science.) There needs to be a standard agreement with ANY company receiving bailout money that defines that the money cannot be used for any bonus programs–contractual or not. This may require a law–I don't think even the Repugnicants would vote against this now. Secondly, we should publicly list the names of all the employees who "took the money and ran," and think of a way to make these people unemployable in the future–unless of course, they want to step up and return the public's money.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  66. Pam Michel

    The taxpayers own 80% of this company so that makes us the employer of these greedy people. As their boss, I'd want to be fair. Take the bonus and give up the job or keep the job and give up the bonus. Sounds fair to me. NO ONE is indispensible....they only think they are. This feeling of "entitlement" is what got this country into this mess and it's time it ended. NOW.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  67. Lee in MN

    Let the taxpayers take over the company. But first, list every one who benefited and where they live and list every AIG office and we will take care of the problem. Why ate the Mitch McConnell blaming this on everyone else when they started all the problems??

    Ask Mitch how much pork he took that he was against and how how much the conservatives pigged out during the Bush years??

    March 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  68. Donald Schulze

    Jack, I am sick and tired of hearing about this "contract" business with AIG employees. What about the UAW contract that the auto workers had to "re-negotiate"?

    March 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  69. Bill Eisenhood

    Contracts or not, why shouldn't these guys take it in the shorts like the rest of us? I say NO to bonuses! Let them eat cake!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  70. Bob

    Jack, I think the NAMES and ADDRESSES of those bonus folks should be loudly displayed via every media possible – and then "fugedaboudit" – let nature take its course!


    March 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  71. Julianne

    Jack, this is absurd and insulting to the American people who are struggling to put food on the table and face the very real possibility of being laid off every morning on the way to work. I hate to say it, but the Democrats who want to take the money back have the right idea. AIG executives are confirming what other countries always disparage the U.S. for- being greedy and imperialistic. Action needs to be taken, ASAP.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  72. Lee

    Put the entire company into receivership. This allows for an immediate freeze of any dispersals such as these bonuses. Split the thing into appropriate and manageable pieces, and spin off the center of the whole mess: the financial component – into bankruptcy. Then you get to take all the time you want to sort out the cancelling of these "bonuses" on the legal front.
    San Francisco, CA

    March 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  73. Ken

    I think it is unAmerican for the AIG executives to take the bonus' fully knowing that that money is coming from tax-payers like myself that is living pay check to pay check. The person at AIG that distrubuted MY MONEY to executive bonus' should be brought up on crimminal charges for misuse of government funds! I guess oversight means something different to me than the US Governments idea of oversite!!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  74. charles becker

    I think the names and faces of these people that took bonuses should nbe posted in all major papers and on internet for the public to see just who these people are. they should be embarassed in public

    March 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  75. Bernie


    The Government should call in their loans and force AIG into bankruptcy. Under bankruptcy laws, I believe there is a period of time that the bankruptcy can go back and recover any questionable payments made by the Company. This way, not only the bonuses but also payments made to foreign banks and companies can be recovered.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  76. Catherine - Parkville, MD

    I really don't know what can be done now BUT it is a real shame that the bonuses were not paid out before the Madoff scandal hit. Maybe these execs would have invested their millions with this crook and be left with nothing! Timing is everything.....

    March 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  77. David Stevens

    Since AIG's executives are in a position to appreciate the importance of the Federal bailout, we should allow them to demonstrate the spirit of public sacrifice it requires. Why not tax the bonus at a rate of 120%?.

    – David Stevens

    March 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  78. Terry

    The AIG bonuses should be voluntarily given back or the government should just take back all of the bail out money. Maybe we shouldn't have bailed out the financial institutions in the first place. Let them fail and start over. They certainly don't seem to be changing or helping the economy, just themselves. Our tax dollars are making the rich, richer.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  79. Gary Anderson

    Stop all taxpayer money going towards AIG now. Who gets a bonus for screwing up a company?
    Des Moines, Iowa

    March 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  80. Donni Melninkaitis

    Time to wipe the table clean in a "Five Easy Pieces" rage, Jack. These people have got to GO. If this is how AIG is going to repay the American taxpayer for their help, then they don't deserve a dime. Time to nationalize the company, haul out the dead wood, and use the money properly. If any of those execs had an ounce of conscience, they wouldn't take the money, contract or no contract. However, as we know, conscience is something sorely lacking in the financial sector these days. I agree with you ... send me the money, I'm damn sure I could manage it better. In fact, since my husband is out of work, how about putting him in charge of the Financial Products Department. He couldn't possibly do worse than they have.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  81. JimTx

    Bonuses could be paid by issuing derivatives from the current derivatives that these people sold. The mark to market could be suspended for these "assets" and use a three year moving average. Only current employees would be eligible cash these derivatives and only in the next 10 months.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  82. Nathan

    Everyone of those employee that got a bonus should have his or her picture published in every newpaper in the country. Since some of the tax payers money was used to pay out these bonuses, the American people should be able to see who these people are. Put them out on "front street". Plus I think who ever constructed that contract and the person that approved it should be fired.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  83. Eric Bracke, Fort Collins, CO

    Absolutely nothing, Jack. What AIG is doing is perfectly legal according to the Congress. Americans should be outraged at Congress for passing out the money with no oversight. Congress is not in the least upset about this situation. This is no more than a ploy by Congress and the whitehouse to distract the American public from who's truly responsible – those in Washington DC.
    The AIG bonus payouts are less that 0.1% of the government assistance they recieved. If you want to be mad, be mad about the $93 billion they doled out to foreign banks. How about the $150 billon in TARP money that was wasted by congress? How about passing the Omnibus bill with billions of earmarks? A $165 million in bonuses is a drop in the bucket compared to what Congress has wasted with fiscal irresponsibility and fiscal incompetence in the last 6 months.
    This phoney outrage is disgusting. It's like people watching there house burn down and they're complaining that the grass has a few weeds in it. Good grief America, wake up and smell the coffee.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  84. John E.

    Jack I think congress is to blame for this mess. All they did was hand the keys to our money bank over to these band thieves hoping to cover their collective political asses. I brand them all common thieves in an uncommon era. I give up Jack, does any one truly care about America any more?....

    March 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  85. Bruce

    The heck with congress and the president. Every person and business with A.I.G. insurance should call their agent and tell them that they will be cancelling their policy by April 1st unless every executive gives his bonus back by then. If the execs don't do it, then we the people should begin changing insurance companies beginning on the 1st.

    Victor, NY

    March 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  86. Marilyn Hansard

    Has anyone look at AIG's bonus structured contracts? With most companies, they are tied into profits and prerformance. They are NOT just given for no reason. They are tied to something!!!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  87. Bob

    Jack, the whole fiasco was engineered by AIG and several banks to absolve itself of its obligations and fleece the taxpayers. This constitutes, IMO, a criminal conspiracy and should be investigated by the FBI ASAP. Those who received the bonuses are co-conspirators and should be dealt with accordingly. In the meantime, all company assets and the assets of the conspirators need to be frozen pending the outcome of the investigation.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  88. Diana Menhennick


    Where is the logic? This entire financial bailout has gotten completely out of hand. The politicians who are so angered by the AIG bonuses are the very same individuals who voted to give AIG taxpayer dollars not once but twice. I think it's time to do some housekeeping tasks, sweep the entire house and senate and their political ideology out the door with the dirt and start all over.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  89. Suku John

    Based on the argument that AIG says that these bonuses were already promised before the bailout, my answer is simple:
    The moment AIG took the stimulus money – they conceeded that they were broke and did not have money to continue their operations. This meant that they would have to release all their employees and shut down their offices. All contracts – legal or otherwise are now targets for re-modification. This is the responsibility of their management. Using the bailout money to stay in business meant that they are now responsible to the taxpayer.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  90. John Boston

    EDIT: I say we send the IRS to audit the crap out of all of them!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  91. valerie craig

    The least the gov't could do is tax this money as unearned income. THAT shouldn't be hard to prove. Valerie, Norfolk, CT.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  92. James In Kamiah, Idaho

    Jack, I'm sure a lot of people will be wishing these bozos to a well deserved hell, but that only matters in the hereafter.

    I'm more for a hell on earth that strips them of their homes and lively hoods, adn to have their families relocated to a small home in an "Up and coming neighborhood", and the bozos themselves quickly incarcerated for their crimes.

    But what's needed right away is for the government to freeze their assets, rebuke their passports, and put them on 24hr surveillance; so they don't try anything else sneaky.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  93. Lee Riggs

    If the President of the United States, a country that owns 80% of AIG, cannot stop them from paying bonuses with taxpayer money, then he is not strong enough to either correct our economy or protect us from foreign enemies.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  94. Rick in California

    They should take the bailout money back from AIG. The first AND second batch. These people are arrogant and feel that their business is so big that they are immune from any repercussions from the government or the tax payers. I like the suicide idea. These people are no better than common thieves.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  95. Tom

    Retention bonus paid to people who have left the company that had to be contractualy paid. Seems to me that if you leave, you repay the bonus. Is that to simple to comprehend?

    March 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  96. Catalina

    Jack: you think with all the lawyers that we have they could find a loophole and make AIG paid the taxpayers for the money used for the bonous it looks like we are rewarding failure!!!. we have the whole nation very angry it should be a way to take back the bonus and use for something else to help people that really needs it.I for one don't think this people should get away with it. Catalina Sparks Nv.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  97. Jared

    AIG, AIG, what to do with AIG. Well don't the citizens and government own 80% of it? So we buy the rest of it, have health care for those who can't get a policy. And the Department of Health and Human services gives subsidize to other insurers and we maybe ccould get decent cheap health care.
    In CO

    March 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  98. Holly

    Require that the bonuses are re-invested in the company stock.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  99. Eric Barnie in Nashville,TN

    The AIG Executives can go ahead and take their bonuses and give them back to the company when they need another bailout.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  100. jack bracey

    Congress had a chance to do something about it before the bailout was given but they dropped the ball. There was the opportunity to exclude bailout money from being used for bonuses but the administration signed without protecting the taxpayers money. What can be done? I would say practically nothing except a bunch of cheap talk by our elected officials !

    Jack B. Bracey

    March 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  101. Cheryl

    What the hell is wrong with the government. AIG will shut down and hurt the economy if they did not get this money how is this helping but to make the ones at the top even richer. They all should be ashamed of them selfs. So many lossing their jobs and the fat cats still ripping the middle class off. Go Obama, How about firing your finacial advisior for this one that will show the american people that the White house is not full of idiots again.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  102. Bill

    The arrogance is Unbelievable!!! If AIG had folded, they would not have had recourse to claim "contractual agreement" for their bonuses. If AIG was not given the taxpayer dollars those bankers would not have ANY income, joining many of their fellow Americans at these times, out of work. It is appauling and really pathetic.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  103. Juan Esparza

    how would the AIG execs get their bonuses if AIG would have failed what is in their contracts about that. Surely there had to be some language which would have made bonuses null and void. And can we see those contracts to see the language?

    March 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  104. Taxpayer

    Pay the taxpayers back! The retention bonus is a company issue. Many companies have contracts to pay a bonus and they are unable to, hence, the employees do not receive their bonus based on economic strain. Taxpayer bailout money should not be their bonus. The bonus recipients should be placed in jail and all assets seized until the money is recovered. AIG itself should pay the taxpayers back, it was their problem to develop better contracts and not our hard earned tax dollars to pay them off. I would rather have that money go to Housing Assistance for the homeless rather then Wealthy Executives. It would have paid for 20 years of assistance for any state.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  105. Terry Andre Hayes

    If AIG can't get the job done and do what is right maybe it is time for this country to stop playing babysitter and cut there legs from under them and move on to take better control of what is going on with AIG and the tax money of our nation.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  106. Joe from Massachusetts

    I don't have a problem with paying contractually required bonuses. A contract is a contract. However, my understanding of contracts is that a value is recieved by each side. In this case, the employees perform a duty and the company pays the bonuses. If the employee fails to perform at the expected level the contract may be voided or renegotiated. Did each bonus receiving employee meet the expectations of the agreement? If not, an effort to void the contract MUST be considered.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  107. Cynthia

    Let AIG sink. Enough of us have sunk with their help through greed and avarice. I bet a bankruptsy judge is also a tax payer and would gladly null and void any contracts for future bonuses. Flower Mound, Texas.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  108. Al Granizo

    Jack, we all know that there'll be a lot of hallebaloo raised by our lawmakers about what they're going to do but in the end run, absolutely nothing will be done. Let's face it, our lawmakers, for the most part, are just as immoral as the AIG execs. I'll just keep on lowering my grocery bill until I get up enough nerve to try dog and cat food which is all we'll be able to afford.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  109. Butch Ray from Rome, Georgia

    Jack, The names and addresses of those who took those big bonuses should be made known to the general public. That way we taxpayers could gather with our torches and pitchforks amid the cries of "Get the Monsters".

    March 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  110. Bob Johnston

    Jack this is simple!

    All we need to do is to get those big -phony windbags such as, Frank, Schumer, Grassley, McConnell and their colleagues to actually pass a CLAWBACK PROVISION which will get those bonus and other outrageous compensation dollars back! Th eonly real problem is that NONE of these above named folks and?or their colleagues have the GUTS to actually do something right and justified for all of their constituents.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  111. Marilyn Beem

    This one is easy - change the tax code to require that any bonuses paid to managers of any financial institution receiving TARP funds are taxed at a 100% rate. That should teach them that we taxpayers are not stupid!
    Castle Rock, CO

    March 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  112. Jerry Harris

    Jack, we waste that much money on the worthless bunch we elected to office, to damn bad they didn't think of ways to stop the bonuses before we handed out the money, it's not like they didn't know AIG was handing out money to it's employees. What we've done is elect a bunch of dummies that seem to get dummer the longer they're in office. We are just in one sad mess and I don't see any hope of things changing as long as we just keep doing the same dumb things over and over and the politicians keep handing out to their lobbyist buddies.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  113. Mike

    Since "We" are the majority stock holder., fire the dip sticks that are there, sue the ones that left, prosecute all of them and find some honest replacements to put in their place.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  114. soca

    The executives of AIG should be treated like deadbeat dads. Show their faces and the bonus amount received and post their faces so all Americans can see who they are so we can hit THEM up for a loan.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  115. william, Oregon

    Jack. If the taxpayers own 80% of AIG the government should step in and start getting rid of the execs. Either hire people to run AIG or start selling it off. America has lots of good people out of work that could do a better job and not expect a bonus for a company taking taxpayer money. Shameful

    March 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  116. Steve T

    Ever since Ronald Reagan, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. We ship American jobs overseas and we bring in illegals to do the rest. Wall St. profited the all the while. Why stop now?

    March 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  117. Elizabeth

    This is a capitalist country, Why is everybody complaining when the rich want to get richer? There are bonuses going put everywhere while layoffs are being handed out like daily doses for the rich.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  118. Louis

    If the government can't get the money out of the pockets of these employees, then pick pocket AIG. Extract the $165M from AIG going forward by placing ropes, not strings, on any new bailout money that reduces by this amount salaries and bonuses of AIG upper management.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  119. Deborah

    I'm so angry about the AIG bonus money mainly because our teacher's union has lost so much money through the 401K plans. I know the only thing I can do to AIG is to take the rest of my money out of the company and I hope the rest of the thousands of teachers remove their funds from this company.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  120. Jennifer

    I have heard that most are toxic in their industry and will never be employed again. I think we should help them out with their employability issues. Take their bonus amount, divide it by $10 and let them work however many hours that turns out to be in community service, but not in anything where they have access to money.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  121. Anthony..Swedesboro.NJ

    Isn't it amazing that a company has amassed such power that it can thumb its nose at the president? AIG is still drunk and in need of a intervention. Their global tentacles give them an invincibility that they can't help but laughing at the rest of us. Bailouts are a new concept and should require the firing of failed executives rather than rewards. We own this company and we should have the power to restructure it. AIG....Americans Into Greed

    March 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  122. John, Fort Collins, CO

    If the bonus contracts have to be honored, require AIG to put the money into an interest free government excrow account to be held until all the taxpayer bailout money has been repaid and the company is once again operating without public assistance. And prohibit the payment of bonuses during that same timeframe. I personally would also like to see the executives responsible for the mess at AIG put under house arrest with ankle bracelets like Bernie. A few years eating cafeteria food might sober them up.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  123. D M Burke

    Geithner needs more staff to help handle the myriad of responsibilities he has such as relative to AIG. He is becoming a scapegoat of Republicans who complain rather than help in the solution of the Bush economic disaster. I do not have the expertise to know precisely what is legal in handling the AIG but I hope that there are constraints to what AIG is paying out in bonuses particularly to the upper-level personnel who are getting unreasonably high amounts.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  124. Hubert Bertrand Oberlin La.

    There is no way out. They gave washington millions.Now they want billions back.Thats how the (gov) works, right??

    March 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  125. Ken in NC

    Tie them up in Time Square and let people come by and throw rotten tomatoes at them for 365 days or maybe give them a flogging at the rate of one flog for each dollar paid to them in their bonus.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  126. Kenni (San Antonio, TX)

    Jack, I hate to say it, but the government should just let AIG fail; that'll teach them about giving away money that wasn't theirs to give away in the first place. Iv'e seen greed, but this is ridiculous to the fullest extent. I get that the President and his peeps are trying to get us out of this mess created by idiots like AIG, but sometimes the best medicine is to let them go and see where they land.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  127. Gene in Hazel Hurst PA

    AIG should renegotiate the contracts dealing with the bonuses. Contracts are renegotiated all the time, to suggest it can't be done is disingenuous. Barring that, tax the bonuses at 100%. How fitting that this is the legacy of the Bush bailout, the last parting gift from the Republicans, the party of greed and intolerance.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  128. Andy - Beaverton, OR

    I have yet to figure out how these contracts could be written in such a way that a person presiding over the collapse of a company can still receive a bonus.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  129. sandal

    I am all for helping the economy recover by spendng where no one else can, but this bailout, after bailout of huge financial entities which have yet to show ANY socially responsible bavavior is outrageous. It seems to me that the whole economy is being held hostage by them. They should be made to find a way to get back the "retention bonuses" or the Govt should do it for them.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  130. Dave Shutt

    This is it. The people have to rise up & take action. How about an old fashioned "Biblical" stonning. We need public demonstrations indicative of the 60s.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  131. Thom O'Shaughnessy

    Jack: Let's take a step back – can't abrogate the contacts okay! AIG is too big to fail, and we are an 80% owner. Let's make it smaller by selling off its assets; sell it's building; prevent diversion of toxic assets into a tax payer paid boondoggle. Then let's legislate a 21st Century Glass-Steigel firewall with a three year implementation; and prevent this from ever happening in teh near future.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  132. Olen from Alabama

    Easy Jack,tax them so that they are not making any more than the janitors,and if they want to quit,let them and get some college students in there to straighten things out.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  133. DEVO

    Jack, the question should be: What should the AIG executives morally and ethically do about taking their bonuses when everyone in the country is contributing tax dollars to AIG's bailout after the company lost $65 billion in the last quarter? They should step up to the plate and not have us answer the question for them.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  134. Camille

    The bonuses should be cancelled. That's what happened when money was tight and my agency had performance awards scheduled. Just cancel them. Even more in this instance since these "bonuses" are being paid to employees who apparently didn't even do their job, much less perform "above and beyond" which is what performance awards are supposedly paid for.

    Contract? I'd like to see the contract. It seems to me these employees broke the contract since the company went into the red on their watch.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  135. Sly, Alpena, Mi

    Jack, Can we also assume that even you are working under a Contract? So what i'm trying to say is that: A CONTRACT IS A CONTRACT, and their is nothing anyone can do about it except to B.... about it.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  136. William Heitsman

    AIG and financial institutions have done more harm to the free market system and capitalism in general than Karl Marx and 100 years of communist dictatorships. The names of all the recipients should be made public along with how much they received and the cities and states they fled to to hide their ill gotten gains. Than I agree with the elected officials who said turn them over to the IRS and remind the agents of that infamous agency that George W Bush isn't in the White House any longer.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  137. Pat Croom

    I think AIG should give back the bonsus plus all other money they may have to the American people.


    March 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  138. Scott Billings Janesville WI

    AIG gives millions in bonuses with taxpayers money. Congress gives BILLIONS of dollars from taxpayers to special interest pork. Please God, aim the comet at the east coast.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  139. Joe

    If the government didn't bail out AIG, those contracts wouldn't have been worth the paper they're written on. AIG is bankrupt and we are paying millions in bonuses. Stop the bailout to AIG and any other company that thinks they can use the money to pay high priced executive bonues to people that ran companies like AIG into the ground.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  140. john christopher

    Maybe we should allow AIG execs to take their bonuses – as severence pay – and sign a little contract (they like contracts) to start a successful small business, somewhere in the country, which employs at least 100 Americans of all kinds. Then they wouldn't have to commit Hari Grassley.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  141. Bill

    AIG should give the money back that is what should be done. Unfortunately this company is looking out for themselves rather then the american taxpayers. It seems like President Obama is in a lose-lose situation. If he gives more money to AIG then the public will be outraged, however if he doesn't then the economy will severely suffer.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  142. Joe Rauchut

    Hi Jack,
    You sure know how to stir up a hot pot. I am outraged about the bonuses handed out. I remember the days when we got bonuses and that was for a job well done.....AT THE END OF THE YEAR. In other words Jack, we had to earn it before we got anything. I think they should take back the equivalent amount of money they got, fire the top cheese and get a new board of directors that understands what bad times are all about. How stupid do they think the public are after given the billions to bail them out. Oh, I forgot to add to tell the folks that were fired where the unemployment line is located. I'm on the wrong planet, Jack

    March 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  143. Sue

    Name names! Actual names of EVERY one who got a bonus. We the people are their employers now, and I think I have the right to knkow the names of those who are working for me.

    Since they feel they earned it, they should have no problem standing up to th epublic and telling us who they are.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  144. rich

    well Jack, I think AIG should post all the execs who received the bonus money for the great job and hard work performed. I would like to personnally congradulate a few myself as I'm sure several other thousands would. Maybe just a few phone numbers or e-mail addresses would be sufficient. get my drift?

    March 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  145. Crisologo Gregorio

    Give the execs their bonus, as severance pay! Good luck getting a job after that with such a wonderful resume. I can see their resume now- "... helped lead the company into the greatest financial loss in history, instrumental in creating the collapse of the world economy..." wonderful credentials for such a qualified group of individuals. AIG says that the bonuses are required for retention of quality people? Really? Do they want to keep people like that? With all of the people who are actually qualified that are unemployed there should be no problem recruiting talent!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  146. Joel Reger

    This is a simple one. Ammend the tax code to tax "retention bonuses" at 110% rate

    March 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  147. Allen (from California)

    The bonuses should become part of the next AIG bailout. And while we're at it, wouldn't it be interesting to find out which political party each of the bonus recipients belongs to...I have a pretty good guess.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  148. Kenneth Biggs

    AIG should give the money back to the Government. Its a well established principle in contract law that the solvency of the company is a condition precedent to payment of salaries and bonuses. If the company had gone bancrupt.....the duty to pay under the contracts would have been discharged. The bailout money was simply a means to prevent the company from going bankrupt...thereby discharging their duty to pay the huge bonuses. This is an excuse AIG is using to justify continuing the same policies that got them in this mess to begin with. They should be required to give all the money back and let the company go bankrupt....unless the executives who received the bonuses are willing to renegotiate the terms of their contracts.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  149. Deb in Louisiana

    Hi Jack, I ordered your Book cant wait to read it, now about AIG we as taxspayer owning 80% of the company we should just get together and walk right in the company pick us out an office and claim are job .We'd do a heck of alot better than the morans running it now

    March 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  150. BRUCE

    Many hundreds of years ago, these kinds of actions brought on REVOLUTION...... These folks are cheating the citizens of this country.... Even the government seems HELPLESS.....

    It will not be long, and the anger is going to be uncontollable for people like this, and someone may seek them out....and from there....use your imagination.....

    I am FURIOUS......with these people.....This is THEFT !!


    March 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  151. Rob Horsley

    This bonus uproar is just another deflection by the democrats. The real people at the heart of this world disaster (Barnie, Chris and Bill) are the ones who should be strung up. Who signed off on this money before there were any restrictions??? Oh wait...was it Geitner the little king? Schumer says AIG turned themselves into a gambling den?? Oh wait...didn't congress (the democrats) just vote to keep THEIR raises? The real crime in this country is the ability democratic congress to lie straight to your face and get away with it!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  152. Lorna, Warminster, PA

    Outraged...outraged I tell you! It is outrageous just how outraged I am over all this outrage!! The contracts were there and seem to be valid as no one has said they aren't...everyone involved can own a piece of the dropped ball on this one. This is a take-our-medicine and-move-on with some lessons learned situation.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  153. Jerry, Illinois

    The justice department should borrow a page from the Bush Doctrine. Treat the ones that received bonuses as terrorist(A strong argument can be made that they are), arrest them and throw them in jail and just forget about them.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  154. Jonah, NJ

    Yes, AIG should honor contractual obligations but management should have explained to potential bonus recepients that without bailout money they could be making burgers at a Mcdonald's now. So, what should be done now? First fire the Management and the board and place a stop on all bonuses until AIG pays back the tax payer funds it received. And don't tell me the Government can't do this. After all, we own 80% of AIG through the Treasury Department.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  155. L Kyle

    The solution to AIG is simple. Give them their additional funds
    minus the 650 Million they gave in bonuses and let them figure
    out how to manage the short fall.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  156. Peter Ottke

    Here it is: If AIG wants more bail out money, make the very first $165MM repayable to the taxpayers, before any other debt. This will force them to repay this debt or incurr interest.

    Also, if there is so much pork belly spending, why not put those expenditures on a second list and let the first list of companies that really need the help can get it. All on the second list are to be reviewed and approved individually.

    That is so simple, and DOES take care of the problem of how to eliminate the pork belly spending.

    Best regards,

    March 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  157. Andy Park

    The Executive Branch enforces the law. The Legislative Branch makes the law. I say its time for a tax on Executive Bonuses paid by the taxpayers. Congress can recover the money by passing a bill tomorrow. It would be interesting to see if the Republicans would support such legislation.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  158. Jan Gail

    I think those who received bounuses at AIG SHOULD be taxed, but not just at 100%. They should be taxed at enough to pay for all costs we the taxpayers will be out trying to recoup our losses. How about 125%-that sounds about right.
    Placitas, New Mexico

    March 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  159. Dianne: Paducah

    Jack, The names of all the executives that received bonuses should be a matter of public record. Posted on the internet. And whatever else the government can do legally to retrieve this money, Just saying you are angry or outraged is not enough. Enough is Enough!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  160. Mamie

    Since we own 80% of AIG. We should buy the other 20% of the of AIG.

    Then throw the BUMS OUT!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  161. Samuel Hoffman

    I would welcome their apology, they need to be suponed and testify before congressional commitees. I want their explanation of why they deserve millions and why my tax dollars pad their pockets. I expect every member of the house and senate to demand they appear on Capitol Hill. The American public is very mad, expose the greed that caused this recession- my TIVO is set!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  162. Arnetta

    O.k. They got a contract. Surely ,since "we" own 80%.of AIG now, we are now in charge of these bozo's. Therefore, we can tell them that their next evaluations will merely say, " If you received one million or more in bonuses in 2009, your yearly salary for the next 3 years will be $1 per year. Certainly, they can live comfortably on their Bonuses.

    Annette, IL

    March 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  163. Tom

    Anyone at AIG who receives a bonus should return the money or resign. Accepting the bonus is obviously wrong. We may not be able to force compliance, but Americans should band together seek them out and shun them for this unamerican behaviour.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  164. Vera J

    AIG should be made to give the bonus money back or the gov. should tax the heck out of them to recover at least some of the money. Bonuses are for those who have proven their worth by making that company successful, not for failure.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  165. Sissy Needell-Riffin

    The millions in retention contracts or any contracts were null and void when AIG failed. Had AIG been allowed to fail, the contracts would never have been funded. Taxpayers did not contract with AIG, therefore, the "bailout" taxpayers generously provided to restore financial stability were unlawfully used for any bonus.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  166. Doris Clark

    It is amazing how much we are learning about the finacial institutions now that the Bush administration is gone. This is how AIG and all the others have functioned for the last 8 years. Let's be clear president Obama has never had a honeymoon, he came into an ugly divorce that was created over the last 8 years. If nothing else, clean house at AIG and leave only middle managers. If that's not an option, take the bailout money back.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  167. Graham Johnston

    Rewards for failure...! Now there's an interesting concept that probably explains some of what's happening in the US financial world. Must be an American thing. Watch for Canadian banks pick up the pieces of the failed American banking, investment and insurance business in the weeks ahead, and turn a tidy profit while returning integrity to Wall Street.

    Graham Johnston
    Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia

    March 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  168. judy

    AIG is in the financial equivalent of Bankruptcy with the American taxpayer as its major creditor-therefore their Ass is ours- lock, stock and barrel– they have no say in anything-they lost that right with gross mismanagement. this is a no brainer-We do not have to resort to the courts because we own the remaining assets and that includes our money. Without our money what in h-ll would they use to pay out almost 200 million dollars. They do not have it and they certainly shouldn't be getting it from us.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  169. Louisa Rogers

    Why not deduct the $165 million from the next bail-out (if one)? It might take time to deal with the "contract problem", and once they get the money, they will not return it for sure.
    Hingham MA

    March 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  170. Lori, Dayton,Ohio

    I say that the people who received the bonuses should go before a congressional commitee and explain to the American people what they did for the company to deserve the millions in bonuses.
    Every other employee has to have a "review" on their performance to receive a raise and/or bonus- So should these boneheads.
    I would really find it amusing to see them try to explain themselves!

    It would at least be a sort of public flogging of sorts. Shame them in front of the world!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  171. Joel Davis

    I’m with the UAW we were told we had to renegotiate our contract or no money. We did just that with both wage and benefit cuts. AIG should do the same.The little guy never wins.

    Kansas City, MO

    March 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  172. Jeanne Besse Florida

    The honorable thing for all the personnel at AIG who received a bonus would be to return it with a gracious "No Thank You"

    March 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  173. Courtneay Small

    Like winning a State's lottery, the name, address, and photo of the AIG recipients of my tax dollars should be displayed in the public domain for all to see.

    Courtneay Small
    Boston, MA

    March 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  174. Jen

    I want to know how giving these bonuses was ever legal to begin with. If the government has known about it for months why have they waited until now to do something....after the public has become outraged? I say don't give them another penny until they pay this money back. As a matter of fact if Obama wants the public to feel hopeful and more optimistic this sure has blown mine. I voted for Obama and stand behind him but the ball was dropped on this one. The execs of banks and auto companies need to work for pennies with no bonuses until they can turn their companies around. I'm barely making ends meet and no one is bailing me out. I'm outraged!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  175. Betty Fulton

    If, as AIG insists, it is legally required to give these employee their bonuses, then just postpone delivering them until the recession is over, however many years that may be. After all we all have to tighten our belts.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  176. Christina Bruns

    Let Bush and Cheney, friends of corporations and deregulation for cronnies pay for the AIG bonuses. My husband and I have worked our tails off since we were 14 years old without silverspoons in our mouths to save and invest and we were stabbed in the back. I support the Senator with a plea for hari kira for anyone receiving a cent of my money going to AIG. My scientist husband has been working to prevent global climate change and he never got a bonus. Let's get our priorities strait and reward the right people in our society. Thank you, Mr. President for going after every crook on Wall Street. Lets pay Scientists a bonus for saving the planet.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  177. Jeff Missler

    They are opening union contracts all around the country, and the
    average Joe is giving back hard earned wage and benifits for thier
    familys. So when AIG said they are obligated under contract to give bonuses, they should try looking at all the other contracts that
    are being broke for pennys compared to there bonuses.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  178. Wayne


    Nothing can be done because it is a legal contract.

    My question is what is the bonus for, certainly not for outstanding performance.

    It is suggested that you must pay these bonues to maintain this calibre of employee, it seems to me the financial industry can't afford it as well as the private sector so why make these payouts part of your overhead.

    Let these guys sweat over a resume.

    Waterloo Ontario

    March 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  179. Ben O'Hara


    I like the Chris Dodd approach and would pass a bill immediately to establish the “Bailout Tax”. Under it all executives receiving bonus AND golden parachute payments would be subject to a penalty tax of nominally, 100%, on such payments. I don’t favor abrogation of the contracts because that set a precedence for insurance companies to modify or nullify my Lifetime Annuity contracts, for example, which certainly would not be a desirable consequence. All contracts would then be suspect.

    Go for it Chris!

    Ben O’Hara, Hershey, PA

    March 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  180. Ray McKeand

    Congress and Senate should make a law retro to the first of year that all companies receiving bonusus that have been paid a bail out should be taxed at a 98% rate and the money returned to the treasury. No exceptions.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  181. Dave

    Jack, don't we have a right as tax payer owners to know who we paid these bonuses too?
    Please get their names so we know who to avoid in the future.
    Would you want to buy anything from these guys?

    March 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  182. Thomas

    Well jack i think they should donate that money to homeless people and homeless shelters!! I can't imagine how you can take part in the AIG downfall and be rewarded with a million dollar bonus!! Bounded by contracts jack can you say cover up!! By the way love the book bravo

    March 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  183. Terry

    What company pays bonuses when they are not doing well??? Because the greedy execs at AIG had the nerve to do anything but be grateful and do everything they could to repair their failing company, every penny they received should be returned. If that means the rich execs have to dip into their personal accounts to return it, they should be made to do it.

    If they don't, put them all in jail with Mr. Madoff.

    Sarasota, FL

    March 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  184. Yewch

    Don't you think it's far to late re:Bonuses??? What about the 170 Billion Dollars lost through stupid incompetence? I am not an american, can not understand how a company can find itself losing 61 Billion Dollars in only 90 days, one quarter, 3months?? Dah??? Where does the responsibility lie? Questions, Questions but always, no answers. I as a world citizen am concerned, but yet, I do know, the American way will prevail. Best Regards,
    p.s. How long would it take to count to one Billion? Once we find out, then I do think the American people will trully understand the seriousness of this problem.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  185. Kim

    It seems that everytime the taxpayer bails out AIG (againsty their will), they (AIG) do something self indulgent like bonuses or elaborate spa outings. I say let them keep the bonuses and stop bailing them out. Cut our losses. Who knows, if we stop bailing AIG out, the economy can hit bottom faster, only one way to go from bottom.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  186. Lonnie

    I am agtnst AIG bailout but they should take the insurance away from the house and senet. This may pay the bailouts and when they found out the cost may wake them up and we could solve two problems at once

    March 17, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  187. Joey in NJ

    I do think it’s unfair to punish individual employees who may have done well despite an overall failure of the management scheme and business structure at AIG. And to be blunt, what is $165M out of $170B? Less than .1%. However, as President Obama said yesterday, this is really about our fundamental values. Do we have the right to impose our morals on those who seem to have none? Not really, but we can still threaten them: Relinquish some of your bonus or there may not be an AIG for you to work at next year when the government rescinds the AIG bailout. Get the hint?

    March 17, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  188. Greg

    What should be done about AIG bonuses? Well we should take it back, without asking and we should also hold our government responsible for handing this money over with no oversight.


    March 17, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  189. Terry Andre Hayes

    I think we shouldn't wait to get the money back...I think we should take the money back and do what the senator asked them to do which they are to cowardly to do in the first place...commit suicide...The American people are not stupid and we are not falling for that story..."Oh well all this was planned before we got the federal funding."...Thats a pile of crap...I want my tax paying dollars back and I want the now!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  190. Jennison Sugarman

    Tax them at 100% of their bonuses and !00% of anything over $150K of salary if they accept government money. Problem solved!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  191. Mary; Knoxville, TN

    Maybe AIG needs to learn some new techiques; they should try my company's version of the "retention bonus." After half of our co-workers were laid off last month, those of us still there had our pay cut for the fourth time in less than six months and were told that if we didn't like it we could leave since for every one of us there's somebody else willing and able to take our place. It seems to be working–no one has quit.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  192. Naim Sawaged


    We need to import one more thing from China: Their system of execution to all these crooks and let their families pay for the bullets.

    That is the only way to fix the financial problems. I doubt, though, that this will be done. Therefore, this system is doomed.

    Naim Sawaged

    Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

    March 17, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  193. Jack Brewer

    Why can't Congress pass a bill, that applies only to the 173 AIG executives who received those bonuses, which says their tax rate for the current year will be at 90% of their earnings and no taxable deductions will be allowed this year.

    Athens, TN 37303

    March 17, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  194. Moni

    A bonus is given when a company makes a profit and those employed should partake of that profit. I was of the opinion like everyone else that AIG didnot make any profit and actually lost over 60 billion in the 4th quarter of last year. For those executives that feel they should partake in the profits of a company then they should also partake in its loses so not only should they not receive a bonus they should be selling some of their assets to pay the 60 billion lost.
    Ontario, Canada

    March 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  195. John

    Renegotiate the contracts. The company should go through a pseudo bankruptcy with new financing bringing new rules voiding old agreements. If management leaves that would be a blessing and from what I see there are not many alternative jobs available for these guys. Ask yourself would you ever take advise from an ex AIG advisor? Lots of honest unemployed equally qualified people are available to work now!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  196. Dave Robison

    What should be done about the AIG bonuses? Pay the executives their bonuses with discounted options in the toxic credit default swaps.... that way, if these executives can figure out how to earn "their" money, they will have figured out how to get AIG to bail itself out next time.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  197. Ed Leonard, Belleville

    Since I am so confused about getting paid for failing, getting
    severance for doing a lousy job etc. I suggest adding the word
    "bonus" and "severance" to Roget's Thesaurus alongside embezzle, plunder, sack, piracy, loot, ransack, etc. The company fears if they
    don't give them the bonus they will go elsewhere. And do what??
    Bring another organization under. Would anyone hire a CEO that
    caused this situation. Probably, and here we go again.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  198. Art Hansen

    The Government should tax anyone who got bonuses from any company that got bailout money in 2008 or 2009 at a rate of 101%. These are the senior employees of companies that got us into this mess. Their immoral greed should not be rewarded.
    Art in Tarpon Springs, FL

    March 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  199. UrbanCntrySoul of Nashville, TN

    AIG bonuses... is the line in the sand. NO.... NO MORE... you and your siblings get no more. It is an insult to injury.... and just evil.
    I want to use profanity to express my true feelings of rage and angry that I feel about rich people getting richer when FAMILIES ARE GOING HUNGRY AND HOMELESS. How many could be helped with that bonus money? How many meals? How many beds could be filled? How much medicine could dispensed or purchased?

    March 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  200. Richard from Massachusetts

    Mr. Summers and others say that Congress's hands are tied and that they cannot infringe upon AIG's private contractual obligations. Not true! Since 1934 Congress has the power under the Contract Clause to pass laws abridging the enforcement of private contracts so long as the law is necessary to achieve a substantial government interest. It's ironic that this power came about because the Supreme Court in Home Building & Loan Association v. Blaisdell upheld a law that temporarily forbade banks to forclose on underwater homeowners during the height of the Great Depression. Seems to me that these golden parachutes on our dime as we are on the brink of our own depression equally warrants such treatment by Congress and the courts.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  201. Peter O'Neill

    Jack, if we (US taxpayers) own 80 per cent of AIG, why can't we give the bonuses as contractually required, and along with each bonus give each recipient a pink slip? They've proven they're not quality employees anyway. And another thing, the only logical comments I've heard about this entire mess is that if a company was/is too big to fail, it should be broken up into smaller OK-to-fail units. These titans of capitalism are essentially extortionists, holding our economy hostage to their greed. We have got to put a stop to it.

    Peter, New Cumberland, PA 17070

    March 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  202. Charley (Allendale, NJ)

    re: The AIG Bonuses....Simple solution....Don't pay them! Then the ostensible recipients would have to sue to attempt collection. Guess who would win the "delay" war in such an event? Furthermore, should the decision be for the plaintiff(s) nothing has been lost, the bonuses would have already been paid. Well maybe the Court some might add some interest, but still it puts the onus of "collection" on the employye(s). . . . Charley

    March 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  203. Marshall Ford


    I have been in business for years. What is this stuff about binding contracts. No contract is ever binding until a court adjudicates it. Just take them to court and tie them up for the next 10 years. Isn't this not why we have a Supreme Court.

    Besides didn't Bush decide that any law is subject to the whims of the President or one of his flunky attorneys.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  204. Bob - Rosenberg, TX

    To give its executives a bonus is the most blantant "in your face" to the average American worker, and especially those without a job. The government should demand that it doesn't happen and take the money and give it to charities that are helping the poor. If the executives accept the money I hope they never have a good night sleep for the rest of their lives.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  205. Tina, Tulsa Ok

    Nothing should be done about the bonuses. The employees are entitled to them as part of their contract. Taxpayers should be mad at the government, not AIG. The government obviously didn't do it's due dilligence before handing money over to AIG, otherwise, they would have known about the contracts.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm |

    When a food processor distributes toxic foods, they are not only prosecuted but also are jailed with heavy fines On the other hand, while a doctor prescribes toxic medicines to patients, not only they are jailed but also they are imposed with heavy fines. Ultimately, however, while financial executives distribute toxic phony asset, not only we bailed them out, but also reward them with extra bonuses. The law should be applied fairly. They should have to be jailed for a long time together with and heavy fines.


    March 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  207. Lynn (Georgia)

    If we needed evidence that the Wall Street bubble hasn't been fully burst yet, this is it. How over inflated does your ego have to be to think you need a million dollar bonus just to stay at your company? Clearly these people aren't working for the company, they're working for themselves. We need to get names and publically shame them!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  208. Gundra Kucy

    Simple, do the same to them as the Banks do to foreclosure home-owners:
    Give those phony Bonus-receivers 1 hour to clear out of their multi-million $ houses!!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  209. George

    AIG would be in bankruptcy were it not for taxpayer funds. These contracts for bonuses would then be invalid.

    If they continue to insist on bonuses, AIG should be forced into bankruptcy. The government would then become 100% owner (from 80% now) and all top executives should be fired for exceptional greed and extreme incompetence.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  210. Kwame E'teif, Sr.

    Jack, Please tell me if I'm wrong, but aren't those bonuses supposed to be for performance? Well didn't these guys take this firm into the toilet. What bonus are they due? I don't think that they can say that the $175,000,000,000.00 in stimulis they received could be considered as a performance that they did. If so I need to apply for one of those jobs.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  211. rick in sarasota


    Instead of paying those AIG employees in cash, we could issue government I.O.U.s and back those I.O.U.s with those AIG credit DEFAULT swaps that have NO reserves...ha ha


    March 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  212. brian

    if they take the bonus money then we should demand our money back and every one should switch their insurance to another company . I mean this isnt rocket science it is basic good old fashion business. let them use the bonus money to cash every one out Im switching my insurance today.Congrats on your book .

    March 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  213. Morris R. Wilson


    All the names of executives given excessive bonuses at AIG should be turned over to the IRS; and all the names given should be audited for the past five years.


    March 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  214. Mike in Colorado

    Heck Jack these are the guys that Phil Graham said could regulate themselves. I like the idea of taxes at 100% maybe more.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  215. Marcy

    The Congress and the administration didn't seem to have any qualms about telling GM that if it wanted public money it would first have to renegotiate UAW contracts. But I guess that's only the policy for the hoi polloi. When you think about it, why would a Treasury Secretary who believes he himself is above the tax law not also cut some slack for his rich buddies? I campaigned for Obama and I voted for him, but his administration was way wrong to not anticipate this and head it off.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  216. Fran Gonzalez, Issaquah WA

    Well Jack, seems to me that the Bush Administration made rules/revised laws that suited the situation right or wrong. Shouldn't the current administration be able to do the same concerning the AIG Contracts. Why are we being held hostage????? If they want to play this game, tax the hell out them....

    As a sidenote: Ask Congress to set the example by refusing their automatic pay raises this year. (What a dreamer I am..)

    March 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  217. Uncle Jimbo

    How about recinding the bailout, get the money back, then tar and feather the crooks that did this and run them back home backwards on a lame horse.
    Sounds OK to me.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  218. Bob in CO

    Jack, The bonuses are a done deal. But since AIG is too big to let it fail, why not break it into smaller parts? Some parts will fail; some will not. This should be a requirement before AIG gets any more money.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  219. Leon

    Jack, I think this outrage could be turned into a benefit to the economy if all these bonuses were required to be spent to help spur the economy. Require that all the bonus be spent to purchase whatever they wanted to buy, but they had to spend every last penny No off-shore bank accounts, no stocks, no bonds, no mutual funds, just spend it ALL.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  220. Brian McMillen Trona, CA

    What would they have gotten if AIG had bankrupted? They would have been standing in line along with other creditors to get their bonus. Why is the bailout different?
    If this is a sales type staff that was putting this malarkey together, then they may have been promised some sort of commission for doing so well. It would be hard for me to see in that case how the responsibility would be anyone other than the management team. Mr. Cuomo is right, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the entire foul smelling affair. We should investigate first before shooting the messengers.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  221. Renauldo - Michigan

    I believe the White House spoke too soon. These AIG folks where getting these type of bonuses before the bail out, and will continue long after this recession. We believe that they need help because they are Very important to this economy, so let's let them do their job. If I was in the position to receive that bonus for the work I did or was about to do, I'D WANT MY BONUS.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  222. susan-ohio

    jack, if aig does not giveback the bonus money, they should not receive ONE MORE PENNY from the govenment. and if they do the american people should ban together and not file their taxes next year. It's our money ...and money –or lack of it –talks.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  223. David

    I think the CEO who authorized these bonuses SHOULD go in front of the camera, our Congress, AND President Obama to explain WHY this was authorized, AND THEN be TOLD that AIG'S begging for bailout was a fraud... THEN put that CEO to be permanent roomies with Madot..

    March 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  224. Carol

    This is noise to cover ALL the errors made by the govt. The contracts should be honored.

    Carol, MN

    March 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  225. James Sheffield

    Giving AIG the money was like giving a drunk money for food, but he goes out and buys liquor instead.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  226. Harrybird

    I think that all that AIG execs have proved is that they still don't get it! Corporate greed is now forever cemented as a legacy that Amercian companies will not be able to shed baring a serious overhaul. The government needs to evaluate the level of corruption and greed in the bailed out companies and then fire the CEOs and mangers that slept through ethics class. Here is an idea, that "bonus" should be redistributed to an educational fund that will re-educate CEOs and execs of these bailed out companies...any guess on what the subject would be ETHICS AND HOW IT PERTAINS TO BUSINESS!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  227. Libby- Fresno, CA

    I think a Special Commission should be formed called the MAKE AiG GET OUT of TAXPAYERS SIGHT (MAGGOTS) and their purpose should be to find any and every legal way to penalize them for their outrageous waste of our money!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  228. C. J. Sculley from Bethlehem, Pa

    Jack, First- Are we expected to believe that these crooks had it written into their contracts that they get million dollar BONUSES even if the company goes out of business? Who are they trying to fool? As I see it if AIG does not get the bail-out they are out of business!!! If the people working for AIG want to keep working there they should be happy they got bailed out. My solution is this: If you take a bonus from a company going to the dogs, then you can treat it as SEVERENCE PAY! Take the bonus and you're out of a job. Don't take any reward for the company failing and you get to keep your job. If you don't like those choices, see how well you can do somewhere else.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  229. Harper

    easy let the IRS get a list of the people and sieze their cash accounts..they did it to me and I didnt even own them any money

    March 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  230. Marca - oklahoma

    Jack ,
    Guess what???....I agree with Grassley. Those who received a bonus should fall on a sword. Bet it would be the first "honorable" thing they have done in their lives. And if they are also lacking in "courage", I would like to assist them with a shove. So much for virtures huh?

    March 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  231. Roger Lee

    Dear Jack, Excuse me for being naive or stupid , but i though bonuses were given for a job well done. Please explain to me how you can run a business into the ground and still get a bonus. Heres my solution let them fail, there are still plenty of stupid crooks out there who could take over for them. At least we would know what to expect from them. By the way when we give them more money ,why not just deduct their bonuses from that.? That might show them that the goverment means business. Man what a bunch of sorry losers that work for AIG, from top to bottom. Oh and by the way it looks like AIG has the goverment right where they want them. Sounds like ransom not stimulus.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  232. Fred Ames

    Pay those sleazeballs their so called 'retention' bonuses with Confederate dollars, food stamps, lifetime subscriptions to Mad Magazine-dates me, I know. Girl Scout cookies forever. Does their 'contract' with the US treaury specify payment in US currency?
    Auto workers have sacrificed contracted benefits to save their companies and their jobs, and we're giving tax money to execs who have left AIG for greener pastures? Doesn't pass the straight face test.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  233. Cynthia

    The 165 million has apparently already gone out and getting it back will be equal to closing the barn door AFTER the livestock has escaped.

    But there are 2 MORE payments due in July and September that need to (and CAN) be stopped.

    Since the American taxpayer was not part of that original 2008 agreement, make those that DID originally agree to spend money they did NOT have PAY back the taxpayers and go to jail for misrepresentation and fraud.

    AIG then should be BROKEN UP into small enough pieces that they can never again endanger the economies of the world.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  234. Owen Brown

    We know when it comes to a contract what's in writing is what has to be followed. These contracts were signed before the bailout funds so they are entitled to their so called bonuses (another discussion). However I think that those receiving bonuses should return the funds if they have a concience.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  235. Ronald V. Townsend

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    AIG Executives asking for bonuses in the middle of a U.S. financial meltdown is analogous to a ship’s officers running their cargo aground, losing it, and then asking their commanders for a promotion…

    Need a Japanese hari-kari knife? No problem, the American public will lend you one….

    Ron / Austin, Texas

    March 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  236. Ken in Kansas

    If the contracts between GM and the UAW have to be modified and those agreements are over 30 years old, then there is no validity to the premeditated bonus agreements made to the crooks at AIG. I suggest they had this whole thing planned from the beginning. Looks like some of the bailout monies went to the top law firms who helped chart the way for these bonus babies. Congressman Glassey shouldn't have back peddled, he was right the first time.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  237. Cera Lawrenceville Ga

    Jack, give me a break. What company with any measure of performance incentives would agree to reward for failure? Not just failure, but untold dismal failure. This is fraud of the greatest magnitude and the smart and the wealthy steals from the less fortunate again as they always do and get away with it. This has to STOP if the AMERICAN DREAM IS GOING TO BE REBORN! The Republicans of "NO" seem to think our president is trying to destroy our capitalist society. No, they are wrong again! He is actually trying to remove the dishonest mindsets of greed that manifest itself in our capitalist society when no one is watching or providing consequences to contentious behaviors.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  238. Don Lohrey

    Had the government not intervened, AIG would have been bankrupt, with those bonuses all part of a claims process with the bankruptcy court. Since AIG accepted the money and the Obama administration proclaims a new transparancy in the distribution of emergency funding, I would suggest that all be asked to return the bonuses. Should they refuse, their names should be published, with a description of their responsibilities within AIG and what they accomplished to deserve such bonuses. Since we the taxpayer helped fund these bonuses, the least we deserve is an explanation as to how they were earned.

    Don Lohrey
    Minneapolis, Mn

    March 17, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  239. Barry Benton


    As disgusting as the bonus situation is, reclaiming the money paid under contracts pre-dating the current meltdown of AIG may be subject to the limitations of the US Constitution, Article 1, section 10 (next to last clause) regarding impairing the obligation of contracts by states. I assume that NY Attorney General Cuomo is familiar with this limitation.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  240. Staferd -Toronto, Canada

    Jack, I've got one word for AIG and every blood-sucking executive, REPENT. Imagine what $165 M could do to stimulate small business in America. Every executive who received their bonus through the bailout package should understand that they have LITERALLY, stolen from the American tax-payer. Mark my words, if this bandit-like behavior persists, there will be an uprising in America that no bailout package will be able to avert.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  241. Kenny D Poplarville Mississippi

    The federal goverment put the Enron ceo's and management in jail for what they did to the American invertors. They should do the same with AIG and any stock market management for what they did to the American peoples pensions and their life savings.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  242. Doug in Seattle

    The AIG executives should be arrested and jailed on extortion charges and then a team.. no make that an army of IRS examiners should be sent in with fine tooth combs.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  243. Margaret Morris, British Columbia

    I would like to know more details about the original contracts/mandates of the recipients of these bonuses. Surely the bonuses were based on and subject to results? That is how it usually works.No profit – no bonus!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  244. Olen from Alabama

    What gets me Jack is if they are international,where is the bail-out money from the other countrys?

    March 17, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  245. Pratik

    The government has offered a hand and AIG has simple used that same hand to slap the government across the face. What AIG has done is extremely inconsiderate and greedy with respect to financial situation that the nation faces today.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  246. Pat O'Brien

    Pursue the return of the money with every fibre of our being! In that pursuit break up the company. After all ...what is the difference between a company that has a monopoly and one that is deemed to big to let fail? I see little difference. As in the days of the "maw bell break-up" I believe it is time to do the same with A.I.G. If the financial integrity of our country is permited to rest in the hands of a "greedy bunch of few" then we as a country are really in serious trouble.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  247. Brad fromj Virginia

    At the risk of swimming against the tide let me point out that the whole pot of money paid to the executives is so minute as compared to the 170 billion dollars given to AIG that it is like a tick on a big dog’s back. Folks, get a grip on what is really important. Stop listening to the firebrands in the media. Fix the economy and avoid distractions that take your eye off the things that will actually help. Do what you can today but stop worrying about what happened yesterday. Don’t look for scapegoats, look for solutions.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  248. John

    I would bring the full force of the IRS down on these executives. It also occurs to me that AIG is international and part of the global economy. Why is it that the international community is not helping to keep AIG afloat? Why does it seem that when it comes to the global economy the U.S. is always giving – giving bonuses to worthless executives and giving up jobs to the rest of the world.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  249. Beverly, Simi Valley, CA

    Isn't this outraged Congress and President the same people that allowed the first bailout with no strings attached even though a vast majority of their constituents asked that they not provide bailout funds. Congress did nothing to prevent this mess, what makes us think they will do anything to alleviate it. Its still the same old politicians and the same old lobbyists.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  250. Anne, Taunton, MA

    I think we should do our best to recover the money and then give it to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to help house foreclosures decrease even though they're building in my state now that it's warmer. A contract before a recession should be renegotiated with Mr.Geitner who bailed them out. If I had a policy with them I'd get one with someone else.This is reprehensible.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  251. Tony, Iowa

    It's obvious that these people were never raised by a mother and father who had to fight for every dollar they ever made. never laid off and had to work three jobs to make it work. Good people would have said" thanks but i'll wait till thing look a little better out there". How many cars, boats and houses do you really need?

    March 17, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  252. Craig

    They should be paid, That is by the Board members who allow the
    gross mismanagement of this company. If that means that Board
    members and the CEO have to lose everything they have, so be it.

    Lansing, Mi

    March 17, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  253. Tom McConnell

    The AIG crooks already have their unearned rewards and now I believe that United States should should get theirs by taxing the bonuses 100% at 100%. Makes sense to me.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  254. Mr. Walker

    A.I.G. is a monopoly and antitrust action should be taken against A.I.G.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  255. Michael P

    back where I came from in vermont when the head of a power company got a free jeep cherikee and a 100,000 .00 dollar bonus after crying poverty for a bad investment made in seabrook N.H. and the power company raised our electric bills to recoup some money everyone in that part of the state got together and put patitions, to be signed as a compalint and when nothing was done about it we all stopped paying our bills and then they listened . when the law of the land does not care and the govenment can't or won't do anything then maybe its time the people did, the power is in buying and paying, if this crap don't stop we should stop.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  256. Matt

    Easy. The money should either be recouped through taxing the executives or by investigating through the Justice Dept. While they're at it, the Justice Dept should also investigate under anti-trust laws in order to break up the company. If they're too big to fail, maybe they're too big to exist. Break it up, sell the parts, and let's get our money back.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  257. Sharon Naismith

    I'd second Senator Grassley's suggestion, but I'd make sure those executives return their bonuses before resigning or committing suicide.

    I don't understand why the US government feels it has to honor contracts made by AIG with its executives before we gave them the bailout money.

    Crossville, TN

    March 17, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  258. Bob H

    Amercans are worried about 165 million dollars in bonuses when congress passed a stimulus bill with billions of dollars in wasteful spending and a budget with 9000 pork projects. Heck were spending more money studying why pigs stink than this!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  259. Linn in Michigan

    Let me get this straight. The government can't interfere with the payment of AIG bonuses because they were covered by a contract. But the auto companies ask for help and the UAW has to renegotiate their contracts with the Big 3, auto suppliers are being pushed to change their contracts with the Big 3 and accept stock instead of cash payments and bondholders are being pressured to accept stock which wasn't in their original agreement when they became bondholders. They're all expected to share in these sacrifices in order to keep the automakers from going under. But AIG employees? They have an inviolate contract.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  260. Victoria C

    When I was growing I learned to be responsible for my successes and my failures. Handing over money to save a company that we the tax payers paid 'the government, okay I can agree with that be cause the alternative option for US economy. But bonuses for executives that already make huge wages to be paid from a bailout is like mass stealing, paying for failing at their jobs and in my mind thumbing their noses at John Q Public and the government. The average worker is already struggling on so many levels and now we have salt being rubbed into the wounds!

    Why not take that 165 million and hand it back to us the backbone of America – everyday workers!!!!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  261. bonnie

    I think the President should go after AIG crooks. The Fire Department employees for one signed contracts and are still laid off with no money to make. Let them go bankrupt like main street is doing. I am very angry and the money should br taken away. It's
    ours and we want it back. The people would rather take a risk
    than let them ha ve our money. I've seen alot in my 65 years but this makes me ashamed. I am a widow of 4 years and nothing is given to us. We pay more taxes. I think they should kill themselves before the people do.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  262. Scott, Rockford, IL

    I'm not against bailing out companies that were hurt in this meltdown. My problem is with bailing out a company stupid enough to give bonuses if the company did poorly. Instead of just writing a check, we should do a little research first.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  263. RSB

    Set up accounts with Bernard Madoff and let him invest their bonuses for them. Then they will know how it feels to have done to them what they have just done to the taxpayers. (Roland/St George, UT)

    March 17, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  264. Marty in Tightwad, MO

    What is/was their salaries? Probably 10 times the bonuses! To be fair someone needs to check on all Bailout Companies like GM. Yes, the CEO is taking $0 salary but look into the VP's and others. I bet we will find a ton more of these "GREEDY Exe."

    March 17, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  265. Noah.M

    I think a new gitmo should be openned for this greedy Aig executives and any other ones who plan to suck the tax payers dollars in this real bad times.
    Main st is suffering due to this bad times and at the same paying taxes which they can't even afford paying any more and look at how this big bellied hyenas are wasting our money.
    They should pay for their greeds as it seems this kind of people are not good citizen of this great country and dont even bother of thinking of the sufferings of their fellow citizen who are going throught had times.
    I wished they could get a day of experience of what the ordinary citizen go through every day to make their ends meet.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  266. dale henry

    jack we already own 80% buy the other 20 and get rid of these bums break the company in about 8 pcs and sell it to all the aig wannab,s
    wealready stand behind the debt why not stand behind it for more responsible andb deserving companys.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  267. BillR

    Get Real! While 162M is enormous for me it is a fraction of the funds given. It is too easy to say cancel existing contracts and do not pay the bonuses. If you smart enough to have and employment contract, you should get paid. Populist rhetoric will only serve to obfuscate the real problems. Explain why an AIG is that important to us all. Tell us what CDS and CDO are and why they forced the hand of the American financial system. These investment grew from 920 million in 2001 to 62 trillion by 2007.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  268. CJ in FL

    I believe that the bonuses from the AIG company should go straight to hell. The government should do all to make sure that there is no money given to any of the executives now or anytime in the future.
    What should happen is the executives now should take a deep bow and take that Japanese approach and that it should be showed on PayPerVeiw and can you imagine the amount of people watching that? And then earnings can be used to help pay off the housing market and just anything we need it to.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  269. LeRoy in Jersey City, New Jersey

    The reason AIG is in trouble is because they got greedy and created financial instruments like credit default swaps (insurance for toxic assets) which they were unable—under contract—to pay off. Now they’re playing the “contracts” card to pad the pockets of management.
    If legally binding contracts are so important to AIG, then how about we not bail them out—let them fail to pay off their contracts—and go into bankruptcy. We can give them a choice: take the bailout and forget the bonuses, or pay themselves and forget the bailout.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  270. Terrence in Detroit

    I saw, fine if AIG wants to dole out our tax dollars for bonuses for failure, let them do so. Next time they as for money, NO!

    March 17, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  271. Lois

    If you really want to stimulate the economy why didn't you give the money to the people? then they could have paid the bills to the banks and the economy would have been strong again, WHY GIVE IT TO THE BANKS AND BAIL OUT THE FAILING COMPANIES THAT KEEP FAILING AND ASKING FOR MORE? there was enough handed out to help every American that is falling behind I can't get help. I am on disability no raise for me everything else is going up I am loosing everything and I make $1.oo to much each month to get any kind of state or federal help tell me who should be getting the money?

    March 17, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  272. C. Williams

    I am proud to say that I work for Wal-Mart and will be receiving my annual incentive bonus check this coming Thursday. It is meager in comparison to the AIG bonuses that have been doled out recently, but I am thankful that my company rewards its employees on their yearly performance, which is calculated by how well the company has done over the past fiscal year. How in God's name can these AIG executives take these outlandish bonuses for their past performance of running their company into the ground? Contracts Schmontracts! As a U.S. taxpayer and a member of the 80% shareholders of AIG, I say we line up each and everyone of these greedy, self-centered pinheads, take their bonus money back, and then let each of us shareholders take a nicely placed uppercut swing to their evil mugs.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  273. Mike Watson - NJ

    I cannot imagine that these executives thought they could get these outrageous boneses when the country is facing near depression conditions. Then again I guess I can imagine, these are the same guys who bought the derivative products and bad loans. I totally suport having them either voluntarily give back the bonuses (yeah right) or bring on the 95% excise tax and give it back to the tax payer. Either that or bring back public flogging. Their choice.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  274. Stephen

    Nothing should be done with the bonuses. The federal government should just NOT give AIG any money. Let them go bankrupt, and let the stockholders deal with the mismanagement and anger over all the golden parachutes.


    March 17, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  275. Bridget, TX

    I'm just sick with all the greed we're seeing from the economic industry, I think Libby should refuse to pay the bonuses and let those with the gall to sue take the company to court. I'd love to be one of the jurors to have to deliberate on this case.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  276. Clyde Cathcart

    Jack, the bigger question that this raises and this no one asks is this: Should the creation of money lead to profit?

    Is the creation of money from thin air (i.e. the fractional reserve system we currently have) a creation that deserves reward? Does the demand for money necessitate a reward for its creation? Or does the demand for answers to problems necessitate the creation of money to solve those problems?

    Does money itself solve problems and is thus worthy of profit? Or does money creation in itself add value to our economy? After all, money under our current fractional reserve system is created out of thin air. Our current dilemma started with a money bubble.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  277. Cynthia

    Stop the bailout payments, we already own AIG.

    Break up this hydra into small manageable pieces and QUIT throwing good money after bad.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  278. Hosham

    I am an immigrant, this whole AIG is too complicated for me, so it is really so simple, this is a nation with most advanced BRAINS on the world, IS IT SO DIFFICULT TO remove all the executives of AIG& bring in another team that can lead the company with a CHEAPER salary? After all now a days a lot if SMART ASS/ BRAINS without jobs, as if there is no one else in USA who can run AIG but the current greedy executives staff. Give us a break please this is AMERICA do something for GOD SAKE

    March 17, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  279. Annie, Atlanta

    It's a little late now, Jack. Maybe this should have been addressed before we handed them $170B plus. Do you think our President will let us stop paying federal income taxes until they straighten this out?

    March 17, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  280. Mike

    Jck, from the beginning the idea of a bailout has been a 'spit in the face' of free enterprise, something this country was founded on. We should take all the bailout money back and let AIG pay whatever they want to their people and go belly up.
    Presumably that would destablize the economy, but isn't that what's happening anyway? Now if AIG falls on their face, they will have taken all of our money with them.
    But even with that, hopefully there'll be dozens of mom and pop companies to pick up AIG's lost and wandering clients. Capitalism works but not when one company gets picked, or swindles their way into being a monopoly.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  281. Sue

    Jack they should all be arrested and jailed like Ken Lay and Enron executives. In comparison to AIG their crimes were mere childs play. Madoff is in jail for ripping off a limited number of investors. AIG and the rest of the Wall Street rapists are ripping off the entire country and driving the economy in the ground. They need to be reduced to living like so many in my area in Florida: living in the woods or their car, eating from food banks or digging through garbage dumpsters looking for food to feed their children. The most they will suffer is to have the maid prepare Caviar Helper.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  282. scott sheffield of kansas

    nothing. nothing can be done untill mr. pence mr.bonner and mr mcconnell come to there sences and pass laws to regulate wall street. but no they will say no goverment in our lives. congress is to blame not wall street, not the president, but it all started with goerge bush , congress is to blame so congress DO YOUR JOB AND TAKE CREDIT FOR WHAT YOU MESSED UP

    March 17, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  283. Maxine Paul

    Larry Summmers can at least explain what is in the contracts with AIG- It is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of that they cannot break contracts with those theives who have taken million of dollars and want more. Contracts are broken every day in the week and these big wigs say they have to give these mumsers more of our money. The older I get (77) the more I realize I feel I could take over the gov"t and run it and throw out those bums.
    Maxine Paul – Fla

    March 17, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  284. debra

    All of this talk/deliberation about the AIG bonuses is simply a way for them (AIG) to divert attention and stall. They are finding ways to continue lining their pockets, conceal, divert, redirect etc all the money they are getting. The165 million causing all the fluff ,compared with the 170 BILLION not to mention how much more they WILL get... seems like change to them.

    They should be divided up into smaller companies (much smaller companies) and sold/given to others to purchase/manage.

    Regardless of what happens with them, things on the world scene are changing and changing rapidy. I don't mean Obama change...I mean REAL change.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  285. Karl from SF, CA

    Don't give them another dime. If they are too big to fail, they are too big, period. AIG needs to be broken up into smaller more managable pieces without the help of the current big shots. Those clowns need to retire or flip burgers at Mickey Dees.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  286. Doug from Bloomington IN

    Take the amount of the bonuses and deduct it from their bailout money. Simple.

    March 17, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  287. Kris from Tennessee

    What if these AIG executives are given the following options:
    1. give the money back and their names will not be public record
    2. pay a HUGE penalty tax on these bonuses
    3. donate all this bonus money to rebuilding New Orleans or another part of our country in dire need of repair (of course Obama should oversee this transfer of money b/c I don't trust AIG to do it right)

    March 17, 2009 at 5:32 pm |