Archive for March 15th, 2009

AIG pays $450 million in bonuses after bailout

Published: Sunday March 15, 2009

Ailing insurance giant AIG is planning to give out $450 million in bonuses this week to executives who led the firm to a $99.3 billion dollar loss in 2008.

Although AIG has agreed to cut back on multi-million-dollar bonuses for its highest ranking officers, the firm’s lower-ranked employees are still set for a massive pay day. The bonuses are for staff at AIG’s London subsidiary, AIG Financial Products, which helped trigger the collapse, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The payments have dismayed the US government, which has already given the American International Group $170 billion in federal bailout money and now holds an 80% ownership stake in the company.

According to the Washington Post, after Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner phoned AIG Group CEO Edward Liddy to tell him that the payments were unacceptable, Liddy responded with a letter indicating that some restructuring was possible but that the bonuses could not be canceled due to a risk of lawsuits for breaching employment contracts.


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McConnell Bumbles When Asked For GOP Alternative To Obama’s Budget: We’re ‘Getting Down In The Weeds’

Think Progress- By Amanda Terkel at 12:00 pm

Since President Obama unveiled his budget last month, Republicans have been relentlessly attacking his comprehensive proposals. Last week, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) said that Obama “should be focusing on the ‘economic crisis,’ as opposed to holding four-hour meetings on health care.” Today on ABC’s This Week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) kept up the drumbeat, saying, “It taxes too much, it spends too much, it borrows too much.”

However, host George Stephanopoulos repeatedly pressed McConnell for a comprehensive Republican alternative budget. Each time, McConnell simply attacked Obama’s plan. He said that he and his colleagues would be offering amendments to “reframe” what the Democrats have proposed, but don’t plan on offering a comprehensive plan:

McCONNELL: [W]e are going to offer a number of amendments to the Democratic proposal. […]

STEPHANOPOULOS: But shouldn’t you have a comprehensive approach that lays out the trade-offs? If you just have rifle-shot amendments, you don’t have to make all the trade-offs that you have to make in an overall budget.

McCONNELL: Well, we’re just sort of getting down in the weeds here about procedure. Through the amendment process, we would absolutely reformulate the Democratic plan. Whether you have a comprehensive approach or whether you offer an amendment is something a parliamentarian can debate.

Watch it:

As the New York Times has pointed out, by not offering a full counterproposal, Republicans have made a decision “that will spare them from outlining potentially painful decisions required to bring federal books more in line with their call to hold down spending, cut taxes and reduce the deficit.” What they are instead offering is “a steady stream of complaints.”

In many ways, their strategy is a repeat of what they did during the economic recovery debate. Republicans largely opposed Obama’s plan for political reasons, picking out small provisions as excuses to oppose the entire bill. The Progress Report has more here on why, despite McConnell’s complaints, it is possible walk and chew gum at the same time.

Transcript HERE

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