Don’t let them fool you. There is a way to stop the economic terrorism of AIG and their latest act of outrage: giving multi-million dollar bonuses to the same people who ran the division of AIG that caused the economic crisis in the first place. AIG FORCED us to bail them out with over $170 billion dollars of tax money (our money) in order to save the financial markets. The same people who made a decision to put not only their own company at risk but hundreds of other financial institutions, are now going to get over $165 million dollars in bonuses for making the worst economic decisions in corporate history. It is outrageous, but it is certainly NOT unstoppable.
The problem with the Obama administration is that the people he has solving the economic crisis on Wall St. are FROM Wall St. – they are part of the club. Geinthner, Summers, Bernanke, Romer, Rubin – they all say they are “outraged”, but a contract is a contract and there is nothing we can do. First of all, they are all current or former members of the same club. They all had their time of doing deals, having lunch and playing golf with the same AIG people. I don’t trust any of them in terms of holding their buddies accountable. Sure, the Obama economic team wants to solve the problem, but they don’t seem interested at all in holding the people who nearly destroyed our economy accountable. What they did to our economy with their greed has done far more damage to the security of our Country than anything Al Qaeda has done.
A contract is a contract, but contracts can be re-negotiated, especially when there is a strong incentive. The GOP has no problems at all forcing the hard working auto workers to renegotiate their contract under a threat of mass layoffs. Why is such a threat made to the UAW but not thieving AIG executives? After all, a contract is just a contract, isn’t it?
Here’s incentive for the Wall St. terrorists: criminal prosecutions. What the people at AIG did was deliberately hidden from regulators and stockholders. Even if derivatives were exempted from trade regulations (by an amendment pushed by the almost Treasury Secretary Phil Gramm), they were not exempted from tax laws and other legal statutes that could apply if some lawyer with half a brain at the DOJ researched it. That’s the leverage we have as the people. We need to force the Justice Department to start criminal investigations of these white-collar criminals and if they want to re-negotiate tax funded bonuses for shorter prison terms then they can have their lawyers call our lawyers.
Lets’ see how much laughing the Wall St. terrorists do when they start being held accountable for their crimes instead of being paid for them – crimes which are long overdue to be prosecuted.