How to get back the AIG bonuses
Washington is overwhelmed by anger over the AIG bonuses. How could government money be going to pay millions in bonuses to employees who were responsible for losses that resulted in AIG taking $173 billion in government bailouts? Of course, if we had our way, the government wouldn’t have bailed out the company to begin with.
Politicians who supported the bailout have had their own solutions. Sens. Chris Dodd and Charles Schumer are threatening to get the bonus money back by taxing away every dollar that these former or current AIG employees get in bonuses. Yet, with deductions and other complications that won’t get everything back.
Well, we have a simple solution to help make up the difference and help taxpayers get back some of the employees’ supposed “ill-gotten” gains. AIG employees have given large donations to some of the very politicians who are screaming the loudest about the bonuses (see box). Since these politicians got money from those employees, why don’t they offer to turn their donations over to the government? If we are angry at these employees, why aren’t we just as mad at the politicians who have taken their donations?
Two of the politicians screaming the loudest about taxing the bonuses are Messrs. Dodd and Schumer. The two have gotten more money from AIG em- ployees over their careers than anyone now in Washington. Sen. Chuck Grassley, who, inspired by Japanese hari-kari, is calling for AIG employees to repent or commit suicide, is among the top 12 senators who have received money from AIG employees. Also on the list of top donation recipients from AIG employees is Rep. Carolyn Maloney, New York De- mocrat, who has also been calling for a 100 percent tax on bonuses.
Many are asking why the Obama administration didn’t do something a lot sooner. President Obama is also getting blamed for not finding other ways of blocking the money. Well, what do you know? Mr. Obama is third on the list of actively serving politicians who has re- ceived money from AIG employees. Vice President Joe Biden, who is 13th on the list, should have some extra money to spare as well.
Many politicians are using the bonus controversy to shift attention and cover their own roles in this financial fiasco. Politicians who helped create the current crisis should bear some of the costs.