AIG Bonuses, "Counterparty" Payments Pissing Everyone Off (Updated)

obamaleft.jpgBarack Obama has been hassling AIG since before he was President, but has been going along with their standing bailout plan. Now that it's revealed AIG is paying out another $165 million in bonuses, Obama is joining Andrew Cuomo*, Barney Frank, Russ Feingold and others in clamoring to get the money back. This is peanuts, though compared to the recently-exposed $120 billion-with-a-b AIG's been paying out to "counterparties" such as Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs.

At TPM former Labor Secretary Robert Reich bluntly states that "This sordid story of government helplessness in the face of massive taxpayer commitments illustrates better than anything to date why the government should take over any institution that's 'too big to fail' and which has cost taxpayers dearly. Such institutions are no longer within the capitalist system because they are no longer accountable to the market." If Treasury can't get the money back, Reich says, that shows "AIG is not even accountable to the government. That means AIG's executives -- using $170 billion of our money, so far -- are accountable to no one."

*Update: We should point out that Cuomo is the only one of this bunch to actually threaten AIG ("If you do not provide this information by 4:00 pm (2000 GMT) today, we will issue subpoenas and seek, if necessary, to enforce compliance in court"). We'll see if, when the hour strikes, the streets are deserted and someone starts playing "Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darlin'." Update 2: The subpoenas have been issued.

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