walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

bemused by the bonus/bailout scandal

Just to be clear, when people are out to slash budgets, I really do believe that we should adhere to contractual obligations. I don't like to see union contracts abrogated -- even in bankruptcy court, much less to stay out of bankruptcy court. But I also don't like to see some people treated as if they are somehow sacred cows in the literal sense of we can't touch them even if the rest of us are starving. (I actually do know a little about the tradeoffs involved in the no-touch-cow thing, so please bear with me.)

That said, I'm right there with all the folk scandalized by the idea that AIG is going to pay hundreds of millions (yes, chump change compared to hundreds of billions, but still -- enough for lattes for a day for everyone in the US is Meaningful Money). Personally, I think a great solution is to pass a little one-year addition to the tax code: if you worked for AIG and got a bonus in 2009, you owe 110% of it to the IRS. That should bring them right to the table for negotiation. We can still change tax law for TY09, without resorting to breaking contracts or anything. I'm not sure why no one is suggesting this -- possibly because they're afraid of where this kind of thing could lead.

I got a little e-mail from someone-or-other about organizing protests at banks over the AIG bonuses (boni?). I read that Cuomo is looking to get 'em via state law. And Summers is looking a little eggy with Obama saying go back and double check make sure we can't undo this. The media is all over it with weird complaints (what do you think you're going to find? are you in bed with AIG? blah, blah, bleeping, blah). And I gotta say, this is a far cry from, we NEED these boni to retain the Important People.

Who Cuomo is now threatening to prosecute.
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