|November 28, 2008 at 23:05:18 |
Headlined on 11/28/08:
by Jonathan Tasini Page 1 of 1 page(s)
When you are a pro at a scam--the definition of "scam" also can be found under the term "insurance industry" -- you know how to try to pull a fast one. And AIG is trying to pull one -- under cover of the holidays. Check this out.
You may remember that AIG -- which is afloat only thanks to a bailout by you, the taxpayer, to the tune of $152 billion and counting--made a whole lot of public relations when its top seven executives agreed not to take bonuses this year.
Well, on the eve of Thanksgiving, obviously knowing the markets would be closed on the holiday and obviously knowing that just before the holiday few people would pay attention, AIG actually notified regulators that, well, yes, bonuses would be given out, as Bloomberg News and The Financial Times reports today:
American International Group Inc., the insurer that said yesterday it scrapped bonuses for top executives after a U.S. bailout, will still pay 130 managers "cash awards" to stay with the firm, including $3 million to retirement services chief Jay Wintrob.
Wintrob, 51, will get the "retention" payment in two installments, the first in April 2009 and the rest a year later, New York-based AIG said today in a regulatory filing. The firm previously disclosed the program in a Sept. 26 filing and said today that Wintrob and Chief Financial Officer David Herzog elected to get the payments four months later than planned.
"The expectation from the public and Congress was that they weren't getting bonuses, not that they'd be pushed off by several months," said David Schmidt, a consultant at executive pay firm James F. Reda & Associates. "That clearly violates the spirit of AIG saying they'll forgo their bonuses."[emphasis added]
From the FT:
However, the UBS news comes just a day after it emerged AIG, which has received more than $150bn in bail-out financing from the US government, would still pay 130 managers "cash awards" to stay with the firm. AIG disclosed the bonuses in a regulatory filing on the evening before Thanksgiving, a day when US markets are closed. The insurer had previously said its seven top executives would forgo their bonuses for 2008.
They just can't help themselves, can they? Call it "retention pay" or "cash bonuses" or some other euphemism -- but the fact is that your tax dollars are going to reward people who are lucky to even have jobs. There should have been a housecleaning that swept the entire top level of managers out on their asses for playing a role in the financial crisis that is hurting millions of people.
I have not seen this reported in other mainline traditional media. But, this is a scam.
Jonathan Tasini is the executive director of Labor Research Association. Tasini ran for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in New York. For the past 25 years, Jonathan has been a union leader and organizer, a social activist, and a commentator and writer on work, labor and the economy. From 1990 to April 2003, he served as president of the National Writers Union (United Auto Workers Local 1981).He was the lead plaintiff in Tasini vs. The New York Times, the landmark electronic rights case that took on the corporate media's assault on the rights of thousands of freelance authors. For the last twenty years, he has written about labor and economics for a variety of newspapers and magazines including The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Business Week, The Washington Post, The Village Voice, The Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal. He is the author of two books: The Edifice Complex: Rebuilding the American Labor Movement to Face the Global Economy, a critique and prescriptive analysis of the labor movement (1995); and They Get Cake, We Eat Crumbs: The Real Story Behind Today's Unfair Economy, an average reader's guide to the economy (1997). He also runs a regular blog called Working Life, which explores the economy and the labor movement.