I’m totally with the public; I’m enraged at the bonuses that the AIG guys are getting from the government bailout. I part company with the majority though in that I don’t hold the employees at fault, and I don’t think we should take away the money. The company and their employees sat down and wrote agreements well before the government put their money in the pot. The agreements were signed in a competitive environment, and apparently the company thought this was what it needed to pay to keep assets in place. Do I think that these agreements should have been signed? No, I think bonuses should be based on the company being profitable, and the employee being part of that profit. Everyone should have “skin” in the game.
Now that we are faced with the payment of these bonuses, they should be paid. The employees were offered the money in return for certain conditions being met, and the employees met the conditions. Pay the money. Going forward, the rules should be changed to reflect the realities of the current situation, and if employees decide to stay or go, so be it.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in the takeover of businesses by the Government. Before the first Federal monies went in to AIG, they should have made done due diligence and gone through the books of the company and addressed issues that they didn’t feel was proper. If they wanted to change the rules of the game, then it should have been addressed before the money went in. There have been three infusions of capital to the company, and no one said anything until the checks were ready to be cut. The Government should be no different than any other investor, they should hold management responsible for making a profit, and they should back the company in being competitive.
One of the answers that really bother me is Congress’ proposal to tax away all the bonus money with a tax, after the fact, of up to 100% of the bonus. Are we really comfortable letting the Government pick and choose what income they want to tax, and at what rate, after we’ve earned the money? Also, would you like to have your pay numbers splashed across the Nation’s newspapers? I know I would not.
If we were to start punishing people by taking away their pay because of the fact that the company wasn’t being run properly, we should start with every level of Government. Did Federal regulators do a competent job of protecting the economy and the people? If not, then maybe we should dock their pay. Congress passed laws that enabled this to happen; maybe they need a pay adjustment. State Government has run California to the brink of Bankruptcy, are we doing anything to punish them for this? Have we ever punished them for not passing a budget on time? If I consistently didn’t complete my work on time, I’d be given direction to improve, and if it didn’t happen, I’d probably be out of work. It seems important that we all be held to the same standards and be treated fairly. That’s all I’m asking for these people.