How Do You Spell Blood-Sucking-Greed-Machine-Parasite? AIG

Posted on March 16, 2009


This just in: American International Group [good ol’ AIG ] is doling out tens of millions of dollars in new bonuses to some of its executives, after receiving more than $US 170-billion in aid from American taxpayers. But, wait! It gets better! No, seriously. Wait for it. Wait for it. The lion’s share of the payments are going to the AIG Financial Products Unit. These are the guys who sold the credit default swaps — you know, the very financial products that essentially destroyed the company. Oh yes, and the entire financial system as well. For the Globe and Mail’s coverage, click here.

How is this possible? How is it even conceivable? What kind of company creates an incentive plan that provides contractually obligated bonuses to a unit which effectively destroyed the entire company. I mean, how does that even look on paper? Even if we overlook the fact that the taxpayer bailout money is going to be funding these bonuses, how can an intelligently designed incentive plan pay out bonuses after the company collapses. Imagine it: Clause 9. b, in the event of willfully negligent conduct that destroys company, employee will receive tens of millions of dollars because, shucks, we know s/he tried hard his or her darnedest.

I am starting to get the feeling this company is only going to be solvent long enough for the executives to suck every last thin dime they can out of it and the American taxpayer. Why should I think that? Well, they’ve already demonstrated that they are willing to exploit an unsustainable, irresponsible, and ultimately apocalyptic business model in order to line their own pockets. To them, extorting the US government for a few billion more probably seems like a good deed. 

You’d think, if they had even a hint of self-respect, decency, or honesty, those entitled to the bonuses would decline them as an act of good faith and as a wise measure to avoid being strung up in the streets by angry citizens. Moreover, I can’t help but think about the billions of dollars that were sucked out of the company in the form of bonuses previous to this year. You know, when the company “appeared” to be making money hand over fist but was instead really just sowing the seeds of its own destruction. Where did all that money go? Places where the U.S. government and tax payer will never be able to get at it, even while footing the bill for its true costs.

For more of my political commentary, click here.