Joe Nocera: The Problem With Flogging A.I.G.

Can we all just calm down a little?

Yes, the $165 million in bonuses handed out to executives in the financial products division of American International Group was infuriating. Truly, it was. As many others have noted, this is the same unit whose shenanigans came perilously close to bringing the world’s financial system to its knees. When the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, said recently that A.I.G.’s “irresponsible bets” had made him “more angry” than anything else about the financial crisis, he could have been speaking for most Americans.

But death threats? “All the executives and their families should be executed with piano wire ”” my greatest hope,” wrote one person in an e-mail message to the company. Another suggested publishing a list of the “Yankee” bankers “so some good old southern boys can take care of them.”

Read it all.


Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, The 2009 Obama Administration Bank Bailout Plan, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The September 2008 Proposed Henry Paulson 700 Billion Bailout Package, Theology

7 comments on “Joe Nocera: The Problem With Flogging A.I.G.

  1. Grandmother says:

    So, what did they think was going to happen? I’ve long felt that class warfare (and its not even that just envy) was going to make things worse. This makes one think of the beginnings of the French Revolution, the crowd just has not turned on the politicians yet.

    But they will, IF this keeps up, and nothing much positive happens. Those hypocrites in Washington should be ashamed, they were part and parcel of all of this, and they are screaming the loudest.
    Grandmother in SC

  2. Jeffersonian says:

    Has anyone contemplated the implications of the current moral panic as regards a potential national health care system? If we can dictate executive compensation, abrogate contracts, pass bills of attainder, etc. because tax money is going into these firms, what do you think will happen when we’re footing the bill for folks who engage in risky sexual practices, dangerous hobbies or unhealthy personal habits?

    Think about it.

  3. dawson says:

    If the government is allowed to tax these people at 90% it is only a matter of time before they start to come after anyone else that is to wealthy by there standards, and that means anyone they want.

  4. Jeffersonian says:


  5. C. Wingate says:

    Dawson, the top tax bracket was 90% from WW II until 1964.

  6. dawson says:

    #5 and you wish it to return?

  7. C. Wingate says:

    Well, you’ve changed your tune. I have never in my entire life paid taxes under a system where there was a 90% tax bracket, and I got my first paycheck in 1974. I don’t really think there needs to be such a tax bracket, but I also do not see that the Eisenhower administration put us in eminent danger of confiscatory taxes.

    One of the biggest, and most anti-Anglican, problems in these comments is the degree of hyperbole.