Mar 24, 2009
America fronts bill for AIG bonuses
by Katy Palmer
Talk about a struggling economy.
In the past six months, national insurance giant AIG (American International Group) made a measly $5 million profit. AIG’s financial fine print explains just how this happened. After receiving $180 billion in bailout funds, the Associated Press reported that AIG gave $165 million of that money back to employees as a bonus.
Last month, Congress had the opportunity to prevent this when it circulated a stimulus bill against companies giving out mega-bonuses. Though Congress passed the bill, last-minute changes left a loophole for AIG to resume its actions. Senator Christopher Dodd, chairperson of the Senate Banking Committee, revealed he helped alter the bill after feeling pressured by the Treasury Department.
After the media revealed AIG’s latest mind-boggling decision, President Barack Obama publicly apologized for the political and financial mishaps.
“I will take responsibility …we didn’t draft these contracts … it’s my job to fix these messes even if I don’t make them,” Obama said, according to CNN.
Now, that is scary. The point of checks and balances was supposed to prevent one part of the political system from controlling another. Understandably, people try to sway others into voting one way or another. But it is a cause for concern when members of Congress are pressuring others with how to distribute big amounts of money. This is not a student government debate on how to spend money on its senior gift — it is a couple powerful men playing with our tax dollars.
“In Obama’s case, ‘blame me’ is political code for ‘move on,’” CNN’s Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley commented.
“There’s either competence or incompetence going on here, and it looks like a lot of incompetence,” Sen. Richard Shelby said, according to Fox News. “I think this is the tip of the iceberg.
Consider the words of this classic sing-along: “I’m Just a Bill” by School House Rock, “I’m only a bill, and if they vote me on Capitol Hill, well, then I’m off to the White House, where I’ll wait in line, for the President to sign.”
Even a talking sheet of loose-leaf notebook paper knows the importance of checks and balances. I certainly hope our government does too.
Contact Katy Palmer at
» China to lift one child ban
» From the desk
» Pittsylvania woman to be executed
» BP oil spill: The hits keep coming