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AIG to pay top managers more bonuses

American International Group (AIG) offices in New York City.

TEXT OF STORY

Stacey Vanek-Smith: AIG is making news again this morning. The insurance giant -- which is now owned by us -- wants to pay out more performance bonuses. Dan Grech has more.


Dan Grech: About 40 senior managers at AIG are due performance bonuses next week. The payout: $2.4 million.

These bonuses were actually awarded last year, but their payment was delayed. In the spring, AIG set off a firestorm of protest when it handed out $165 million in bonuses. This time, AIG is reluctant to pay out without political cover.

According to several reports, AIG has asked for the blessing of the Obama administration's new compensation czar, Kenneth Feinberg. Feinberg oversees executive pay in seven bailed-out firms. But he doesn't have any say on these bonuses since they were promised in the past.

AIG may be on its own as it weighs stiffing its executives or enraging taxpayers again.

I'm Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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If AIG had no debts then it should be able to pay it's employees however much it can. However; AIG is *bankrupt*. Broke, a dead-beat, underwater, upside-down, can't pay it's debts! If I didn't pay my debts because I decided to give myself a *bonus* how do you think the banks, law and government would come down on me?! Retain the "talent"? Either the "talent" thinks too highly of themselves, AIG can't afford to keep them (debt does that) or both. How many peons have lost their jobs and health insurance coverage just so these golden-parachute bonuses could be paid?

Answer: No. Let'em walk if they don't like it.

According to your reporting Kenneth Feinberg (Obama's competition 'czar' overseeing AIG and other bailed-out companies) claims that cannot cancel them because they were promised in the past. Is that a joke? Geithner tried it before congress as well. The U.S. government owns 80 percent of AIG a controlling interest that allows it to dictate anything to this fictive solvent company, just as it more or less has GM and Bank America in the case of Merrill Lynch. These issues aside, it's ludicrous to portray management's "promises" as in any sense binding. If anyone could bank on the words of managers employment and the entire business world would be a much different place.

What has happened in America is a Quiet Coup, as Simon Johnson explained in his Atlantic article. Both the Bush and Obama regimes acted to make the financial oligarchs whole with out money because the oligarchs do so much to bankroll the politicians. Just follow the money.

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