WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama declared Monday that insurance giant American International Group is in financial straits because of "recklessness and greed" and said he intends to stop it from paying out millions in executive bonuses.Now, there are a couple of angles to view today's message from the Administration.
"It's hard to understand how derivative traders at AIG warranted any bonuses, much less $165 million in extra pay," Obama said at the outset of an appearance to announce help for small businesses hurt by the deep recession.
"How do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat," the president said.
One, how pathetic is it that is they are getting this worked up over 0.09% of the total given to AIG? Shouldn't they be more intensely focused on how the taxpayers investment lost $61.7 billion(or, 36% of the total given to AIG, i.e. 374 times what was given away in bonuses) just last quarter?
Second, and almost as frightening, is the sheer ineptitude of the White House who just two weeks ago, after an announcement of the disbursement of $30 billion more federal dollars for AIG(207 times more than the amount spent on bonuses), said they were confident with where AIG's money was going. Today, Jake Tapper called the White House out on it by posting this transcript from that press briefing.
From ABC's Political Punch:
TAPPER: AIG, is the administration confident that it, that it knows what happened to the tens of billions of dollars previously given to AIG?Thank God for Jake Tapper singlehandedly restoring my faith in mainstream journalism.
GIBBS: Is it confident -- I'm sorry?
TAPPER: That they know -- that you guys know what happened to the previous billions before you hand over this next $30 billion.
GIBBS: Yes -- yes, the -- I mean, I don't think it's a -- well, obviously, you've got a huge insurance company that is losing money, not the least of which because of its sheer size and sheer size and decrease in the growth in our economy. It experiences a far bigger drop, largely because of its size. But, again, the steps that -- that Treasury and -- and others took were to ensure a larger systemic problem wasn't one that we had to deal with here today in letting something just die.
TAPPER: But in terms of specifically the -- I guess it's like $150 billion before, you guys are confident...