Forget politics for a moment.
Forget about whether you’re a liberal or conservative, and consider this.
When the Wall Street collapse began, one of the first companies to get in trouble was the giant insurance firm, AIG.
At the time – remember? – we were told AIG was “too big to fail.” So we taxpayers shelled out $180 billion to rescue the company and keep it afloat. In effect, we bought a controlling interest in the company.
Now, get this. Yesterday, even though they have still not paid us back all of that money, AIG handed out $100 million in bonuses to its top executives.
They did so, despite protests by President Obama. And Pay Czar Kenneth Feinberg says the bonuses, while outrageous, are still legal and must be paid, according to contractual agreements made years ago.
In other words, when we bought that turkey, we bought those contracts, too – and there’s nothing, legally, we can do about it. Millions of American families will still go without a paycheck, while Wall Street fat cats undeservedly pocket another $100 million.
Lesson learned, which is this: The bail-out of Wall Street was a big mistake, and we’re still paying the price.
The next time any company “too big to fail” gets in trouble, let it fail.
That’s my parting shot for today.