This was much more revolting when I heard it on TV and radio than it looks in print. An "attitude" was evident. While I agree that the bonuses are outlandish, especially for a company in the hole, they are, nevertheless, compensation that AIG is required by contract to provide. Just who is the government to come in and, essentially, undo contracts THAT ARE PERFECTLY LEGAL just because they become embarrassing to key politicians.
In a speech on the Senate floor, Democrat Charles Schumer, a signee of the letter, noted AIG lost nearly $100 billion last year and is now being propped up by U.S. taxpayer funds. He said providing performance bonuses to employees of the insurance giant "defines 'Alice in Wonderland' business practices ... it boggles the mind."
Schumer called on the AIG employees to return the bonuses.
"If they don't we plan to tax virtually all of it," he said.
Now Andrew Cuomo is getting into the act, subpoenaing records. But without any evidence of wrongdoing, this is simply harassment. . . a fishing expedition where one hopes that something will turn up. The Mario Cuomo era of Big Bad Ugly Government is back, apparently, with politicians taking frustrations with their failures out on those who may be in the best position to bring things back in this state.
We've see this on the local front with Prestwick Glen's tax exemption agreement with the Town of New Hartford. The public, rightfully, was outraged to discover that Prestwick Glen's well-heeled clientele would be able to live in fancy digs without paying their fair share of property taxes. When this became known the Town went to court to have the development declared not tax exempt. But what of the agreement? How can the Town have it both ways? Shouldn't Prestwick Glen be entitled to damages for the Town's breach of its agreement?
Decisions have consequences. Sometimes the consequences are unforseen. The AIG debacle could have been avoided by the government placing restrictions on how taxpayer money was used. The Prestwick Glen issue could have been avoided -- or at least defused -- by a lot of public disclosure and discussion before the agreement was signed.
After-the-fact indignation is a clear signal that someone did not do their homework.