Note: There is an interesting conversation going on over at MOChassid's about the AIG bonuses. I don't agree with what they're saying, but still, it's a fascinating debate.
It appears that the public outrage over the AIG bonuses (see post below) has shamed the company into calling upon its executives to return the bonuses that they have received. CEO Edward Liddy said that he had “asked those who have received retention payments in excess of $100,000 or more to return at least half of those payments.” Some have “already stepped forward and returned 100 percent,” he added. (MSNBC article)
This of course, begs the question: Why only those payments that are over $100,000? A bankrupt company that is surviving on government money has no business giving out bonuses of any kind. While this arrangement still leaves a lot to be desired, I am glad to see that the public backlash against these huge conglomerates is starting to have an effect on the way that these companies are run. Hopefully this whole mess will usher in an era of corporate fiscal responsibility and responsiveness to shareholder and public concerns. Maybe public corporations will no longer be run like exclusive clubs that exist solely to benefit the executives who run it. Maybe stricter government regulation and public scrutiny will lead to more honest, transparent corporate accounting.
Sigh. And maybe my grandma will sprout wings and learn to fly.
Update: The House of Representatives passed a bill today that would impose a 90% tax on bonuses received by employees of AIG and other companies that have been given at least $5 billion in federal bailout money. "We want our money back now for the taxpayers," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. (AOL article)
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