Businessweek Archives

Make the AIG Execs Work for Free


For some reason the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal have been defending the $165 million in rentention bonsues the executives of AIG paid themselves recently.

The paper aruges that these are valid employment contracts and that letting these valuable employees go could cost the government more money if they jump to some hedge fund where they can trade against AIG’s $1.6 trillion portfolio.

I’m reminded of the family of a infamous bank robber in California some years back who sued the City of Los Angeles for not tending to the robber’s wounds fast enough before he died. The guy and his partner had litterally dressed in armor and—high on drugs—shot twenty-something people including several policemen armed with just pistols to the bad guys’ machine guns. Fortunately a judge threw that case out.

Let’s move beyond the fine print in contracts and talk about right and wrong here. No AIG employee should be getting $6 million bonuses paid with taxpayer money. They should be working for free to help straighten out the mess they made. Better yet they should be doing it in orange jump suits so we can see if they try to escape to the hedge fund down the street.


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