AIG - American International Group, Inc. -- is the single most toxic asset in America. Over the past few months you and I have paid $173 BILLION of our tax dollars to bail these bozos out of the financial sewer they themselves designed, dug, filled, and jumped into.
The big news over the weekend was that AIG - recipient of $173 BILLION of our tax dollars - has paid out - ta da - bonuses of over $280 million to its excellent staff.
That includes $165 million in what is only a down payment on about one billion dollars in "retention bonuses" which were due yesterday. That, according to the UK Guardian, is "in addition, to AIG providing $121m to 6,400 employees across the rest of its sprawling global empire."
Nearly half of those retention bonuses are for the staff of the Financial Products Division which is almost single-handedly responsible for the ills which have befallen AIG and, by extension, you and me.
The Financial Products Division is located in … London. Mayfair, London.
According to the Guardian AIG paid "bonuses of $450m (£322m) to staff at the London-run financial products division that crippled the company with vast losses on toxic derivatives."
That would be $450 million of your money. And mine.
But wait! There's more.
Of the $173 Billion of our tax dollars which have been used to bail out AIG "more than $90bn [has been paid out] to a list of clients and counterparties dominated by European banks," wrote the Guardian. "Top names are Societe Generale and Deutsche Bank, both of which got more than $11bn. Barclays has received $8.5bn, HSBC has had $3.5bn and Royal Bank of Scotland has been paid $700m."
Let's recap: $173 BILLION of our tax dollars have been used to bail out AIG. AIG has, in turn, used our tax dollars to pay out over a quarter of a billion dollars in bonuses half of which went to a bunch of Brits who got AIG into this mess in the first place. In addition, about a quarter of the $173 BILLION of our tax dollars which has been sent to AIG is being used to pay off what AIG owes to French, German, British and Scottish banks.
May I ask a question? If AIG made bad decisions and we have to use $173 BILLION of our tax dollars to pay for those bad decisions, why can't the Germans pay for Deutsche Bank's bad decision to deal with AIG? Why can't the French pay for Societe Generale's bad decision?
Why is it that, once again, the American taxpayer is paying for the rest of the world's bad decisions. Got attacked by Germany? Surrendered? No problem, American taxpayers will pay to build enough military equipment and go into harm's way themselves to get you your country back.
Got defeated in a world war? Well, never mind. American taxpayers will pay to rebuild your country after we beat you in a war that you started.
Got involved in some really shady financial dealings like credit default swaps with a group of slick haired, French-cuffed, Italian shoed, monogrammed-shirted, bonus-sucking thugs from AIG? There, there. Not to worry. Step right on over to the third window on the left and pick up your $90 Billion courtesy of American taxpayers.
How is it that someone like, say, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (who was the President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank before he joined the Obama Administration) didn't know anything about any of this until last week?
Geithner didn't come to Treasury from being a teller at a local bank in Naperville, Illinois. He was the PRESIDENT OF THE NEW YORK FED. What the hell was he doing up there?
We know he wasn't doing his taxes. In fact, Geithner went to great lengths NOT to be an American taxpayer.
Here's a good idea: Instead of continuing to pick the pockets of American taxpayers, how about extending the tax cuts which are due to expire next year?
Call it a Taxpayer Retention Bonus.
On the Secret Decoder Ring today: A link to the U.K. Guardian coverage of the AIG mess, another to Reuters' timeline of AIG's financial woes, and a quick peek at which of your taxes will be rising next year. Also, what may be the FUNNIEST Mullfoto ever, and a Catchy Caption of the Day from the fashion runways of Paris.