“Now he’s got Paulie as a partner. Any problems, he goes to Paulie. Trouble with a bill, go to Paulie. Trouble with cops, deliveries, Tommy, he calls Paulie. But now he has to pay Paulie.”
I’m not thrilled that AIG is using $165 million in taxpayer dollars to fund bonuses. I’m even more mad that the government is bailing out businesses without checking where the money is going. But taking government bailout money is a little like taking money from the mob to keep your business afloat.
The AIG saga began in September, when the insurer asked for $85 billion, and continued in November, when the government gave them even more. AIG turned heads soon after with an executive retreat, and cancelled a second only after intense criticism. And now, it turns out, AIG has awarded lush bonuses to the folks who ran them into the ground – bonuses that were part of contracts signed a while back and which AIG is legally forced to honor. Clearly, they weren’t worth a bailout to begin with.
“Business bad? F*** you, pay me. Had a fire? F*** you, pay me.”
But President Obama and Congress are asking AIG to retract the bonuses – which would, of course, open them up for lawsuits that could be potentially more expensive. In essence, they’re changing the terms of the bailout after handing out the money – and there’s not much AIG can do about it now.
“Also, Paulie could do anything – like run up bills on the joint’s credit. And why not? Nobody’s going to pay for it anyway.”
The currency of politics isn’t money, but votes, and every politician only cares about re-election and legacy. The grandstanding by Congressional leaders, the President, and New York Attorney General/Gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo is meant to win votes rather than stabilize a business.
Given those divergent goals of business people and politicians, the bailouts could wind up being more trouble for AIG than they were in before.
“Then, finally, when there’s nothing left, when you can’t borrow another buck from the bank, you bust the joint out. You light a match.”