I have not said much about the AIG bonus hullabaloo. Frankly, I thought the outrage was ill-informed and silly. AIG wanted to keep some people around to help fix the mess it was in. Any sensible person would have one foot out the door of AIG looking around for a more stable employment opportunity. So AIG did what companies in bankruptcy typically do. They offered retention bonuses to entice people to stick around.
I understand it looks bad that taxpayer money is going to bonuses for a company at the epicenter of the financial meltdown. But a company is only as good as its employees.
I assume the bad idea of taxing these bonuses passed by the House of Representatives will die in the more sensible Senate discussions. (The Senate may also have read the Constitution and noticed that section prohibiting Bills of Attainder.)
If you still have a pitchfork in your hand and want the AIG bonuses revoked, take a look at this letter of resignation from Jake DeSantis: Dear A.I.G., I Quit!. It was published in the Op-Ed Section of the New York Times.
I take this action after 11 years of dedicated, honorable service to A.I.G. I can no longer effectively perform my duties in this dysfunctional environment, nor am I being paid to do so. Like you, I was asked to work for an annual salary of $1, and I agreed out of a sense of duty to the company and to the public officials who have come to its aid. Having now been let down by both, I can no longer justify spending 10, 12, 14 hours a day away from my family for the benefit of those who have let me down.
Does that sound like a guy who is “stealing” taxpayer money?
- Dear A.I.G., I Quit! by Jake DeSantis in the New York Times OP-ED
- Bill of Attainder from Wikipedia
- Bill of Attainder? Communist Revolution? Fire Bad? from Above The Law
- United States Constitution from Cornell University Law School
- Say on Pay by David Childers of EhticsPoint
- Drive to Tax AIG Bonuses Slows by Greg Hitt in the Wall Street Journal
- A.I.G. Bonuses, Ethics, and the Rule of Law from The Business Ethics Blog, by Chris MacDonald
- An Act to impose an additional tax on bonuses received from certain TARP recipients (H.R. 1586)