Wednesday, February 03, 2010

plus ce change

a couple years ago, right before AIG was bailed out, 400m in 'retention bonuses' were negotiated with employees... then no only was the firm found to be insolvent - but was essentially used as a shunt to pour 180 billion dollars into other insolvent financial entities in a manner that would return nothing to the US taxpayer but the goodwill of the banking industry...
Last year - the first of the bonuses went out - and people were pissed... threatened to tax it etc... many AIG employees said 'ok, we'll give some back', the media moved on, and low and behold less than half of even the pledged amount was returned.

So in an effort to fend off controversy, today AIG split the bonus they're paying into 2 payments, one to employees still at the firm, one to those that have left due in march. So today, 100m went goes out to the same jackasses that took slightly more last year - only without any pledge to return a dime of it. Another giant sum is due in march, as retention payments, to people who left the firm. I want you to think about that one for a moment.

If you put a 'federal bailouts will void any bonus contracts' rule into effect, ceos will happily drive their companies into the ground so they get paid. Hell - we saw some of that anyway... these guys put my ex-wife's 'its all about me' mantra to shame.

Really - the problem goes back to Reagan. For 30 years we tried it the republican way - we gutted the tax rate on incomes above the top 1% line with the expectation it would 'trickle down'. Looking at what it's done, to the economy, to investment, to wages, to median incomes, to the standard of living... i'd say 'big bag o fail' is an apt description. How about we try it my way for 30 years... All compensation totalling $1m per year is taxed at 50%. Over $10m per year at 90%. Money to be delivered directly to poor and middle class schools in wheelbarrows.

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