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pudge's Journal: Would You Keep Your AIG Bonus? 48

Journal by pudge

If I got a bonus from AIG, and I was not a super-rich executive or someone else who was to blame for this mess, and Obama or my CEO came to me and said "please give your bonus back," I'd tell them to get bent. Honestly, what kind of person would give back their hard-earned money? And don't tell me an "altruistic" one, because that person could always take the money and give it to charity, where it would do far more good than if you gave it to AIG or the government.

If I were an executive who could afford to give it back and needed to put a good face on this for the company, or if I felt guilty about my role in the crisis, then maybe I'd give it back. But presumably most of the several thousand people who got bonuses don't fall into those categories, and have no intention of doing so.

So, would you give the money back? Even if Obama called you personally and promised to be your BFF if you did?

(Please let's not have general rants here, and just stick to the topic: would you give back the bonus?)

Cross-posted on <pudge/*>.

This discussion was created by pudge (3605) for no Foes, but now has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Would You Keep Your AIG Bonus?

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  • Because I wouldn't want that many people to hate me and if you look it as the converse, you couldn't buy that much good-will.

    • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot

      Why would anyone know who you were? Do we know who these people are now?

      And if somehow I became famous for keeping the bonus, and villified for keeping my own damned money, I'd wear it as a badge of honor. If that is what it takes to defend liberty, then I would do it gladly and seek to be an example to others, that liberty may have a cost, but it's worth it.

      • by ncc74656 (45571) *

        Why would anyone know who you were? Do we know who these people are now?

        There's a paper in Connecticut that published names and cities for several senior-level AIG execs; it probably wouldn't take much googling to pin down more precise locations. More ominously, an ACORN-affiliated organization is putting together "bus tours" to bring protesters and rabble-rousers into their neighborhoods. Received death threats have been reported to the media, and security firms are seeing an uptick in business.

        • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot

          Why would anyone know who you were? Do we know who these people are now?

          There's a paper in Connecticut that published names and cities for several senior-level AIG execs

          Sure, but most people who got bonuses aren't senior-level execs.

      • It wouldn't matter if people knew or not. I mean - I'm just imagining how it would be - but when I do I don't like the idea of it and I think I'd give it back.

        I tend to put community first, before self and so it makes sense to me.

        • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot

          I tend to put community first, before self

          So do I, which is why I'd keep it. I have to stick up for everyone else whose liberty is being stolen by setting an example and fighting the fight. Further, I put my family before community.

          And if I felt guilty about keeping the money for myself, if I had done something wrong, then I'd give it to charity. No way give it to the government.

          • Yeah - I understand - we just have a different way of living out how we feel about it. No biggie. Variety is the spice of life.

            • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot

              Sure. Part of this is me trying to understand how other people see it.

              • I don't know what the break down was on that money. Some guy making 30 grand a year that gets a bonus of 2 grand - I can't say I'd blame him for keeping it. That plays into it too. For the ones that make a lot more and had much larger bonuses. I don't think I'd ever have that kind of job in the first place. I really don't think it is honest to take that much money for what they do. So that probably shows a little more on how I would arrive at what I think of it.

  • Irrespective of any of the specific people involved, the fact that this idea was even floated in the Congress at all should be a giant neon WTF? sign for the entire country.
    That sort of government targeting of individuals is among the behaviors that triggered the Revolution, for Jefferson's sake.
    The 111th Congress Shall Live in Infamy [facebook.com]
    • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot

      ZOMG UR OFFTOPIC but i agree

      • I suppose I am, sorry. I'm just sick of all of the tactical panty-bunching when it's the strategic level that is truly AFU.
        • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot

          Oh, but I addressed some of that in my last post. This one, I am just concerned with what people would do. I even got some AIG-hating liberals to say they'd keep the money.

  • Yes, I'd keep it.

    And then I'd ask the ACLU to defend me against the bill of attainder / ex post facto nature of the law.

    When that didn't work, I'd find a civil rights legal organization still interested in the Constitution, and ask for their help.

  • If I'm in one of AIG's still-profitable groups, like life insurance or whatever, there's no question that I'd keep it.

    If on the other hand I have professional or personal guilt over poor performance, even if I'm a low-level employee (say I'm a salesman for sub-prime mortgages who sold a record number of them or something) I might well find myself feeling personally and professionally obligated to give the money either back or to charity (on the grounds that the mechanical bonus for my success in selling X c

  • Cause the bailout probably saved my job, otherwise I'd be penniless and jobless...
    • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot

      Riiiiiiight.

      • by Qzukk (229616)

        I don't know about that. Populist furor is probably reaching the point where someone is going to say "screw this, nobody is 'too big' to have to put up with this shit" and cut AIG off to die. If that happens, enjoy your bonus, it'll probably be the last one you ever get.

        As for me, you asked two different questions. Obviously the President has no legal authority to force anyone to pay anybody on a whim. But, if the bonuses were a mistake, it is well within a CEO's power to demand it back regardless of how

        • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot

          As for me, you asked two different questions. Obviously the President has no legal authority to force anyone to pay anybody on a whim.

          Yep. But some people said he should have made a personal appeal.

          But, if the bonuses were a mistake ...

          If you mean "accident," no, it was no accident. If you mean they did it knowingly and willingly but later decided they wished they hadn't ...

          ... it is well within a CEO's power to demand it back regardless of how much of an asshole it makes them appear

          And if it was no accident, which it wasn't, the CEO has no legal authority to force anybody to pay it back, just like the President doesn't. The CEO can fire you, of course, but if he would fire me for not giving him my money, then I would gladly be fired, and hopefully get severance out of it too. I

      • Strange how the proponents of the "who knows how much worse off we would be without the government bailout" logic were often opponents of the "who knows how many more terrorist attacks we wouldn't have stopped without the Bush Administration policies.

        (Note: I like FortKnox and am not referring to him, in particular)

  • It's no one's damn business but my own what kind of bonus I get.
    I'd like to think that if I got a bonus it was because I earned it.
  • hell yes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) on Monday March 23, 2009 @09:14AM (#27297737) Journal

    Hell yes I'd keep the money. I presumably earned it, didn't I? It's not my fault the Government was stupid enough to write my company a blank check so it could honor all of the commitments (including compensation contracts) it made. If the Government was smarter it would have let us fail because of our stupidity and I would have been in line with everybody else at the bankruptcy court. The fact that it wasn't that smart doesn't mean I shouldn't take the money that I was already owed.

    As an aside, I do agree with your charity notion. I can think of a dozen different charities that would put the money to better use than the Federal Government and/or AIG. If I was responsible for this mess and had a guilty conscience I'd go that route before I'd give it back to Uncle Sam or AIG.

  • If I got a bonus from AIG, and I was not a super-rich executive or someone else who was to blame for this mess, and Obama or my CEO came to me and said "please give your bonus back," I'd tell them to get bent.

    The only people who are being asked to return bonuses are super rich executives who are to blame for the mess. They just passed a 90% tax on bonuses of executives who earn over $250,000 per year on bonuses of companies who recieved bailout money.

    Do you honestly think that an execttive who ran a company

    • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot

      The only people who are being asked to return bonuses are super rich executives who are to blame for the mess. They just passed a 90% tax on bonuses of executives who earn over $250,000 per year

      That's not true.

      First, that is ALL EMPLOYEES, not just executives, who have adjusted gross income of $250K. And that's including the bonus.

      Second, that is $250K for single OR MARRIED people, which means you and your spouse could make $125K each and you'd be liable (and it's only $125K for a married person filing separately).

      And third, $250K is not super-rich anyway. What year are you living in?

      Imagine this scenario: married couple. Each making $150K a year, and they live in a nice house in Southern Cali

      • by mcgrew (92797)

        And third, $250K is not super-rich anyway

        It's five times the median income; that's "rich" in my book, and I see no distinction between "rich" and "super rich". If you're making that much money you shouldn't need to be feeding at the public trough. Poor people don't get welfare in this country any more, why should rich people get welfare?

        He should give back that bonus?

        He would be the exception. But to have it taxed, well, I don't like my property taxes either but I pay them. And what if he got that bonus aft

        • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot

          And third, $250K is not super-rich anyway

          It's five times the median income; that's "rich" in my book

          That's silly. The median income includes -- obviously -- places with a much lower cost of living. $250K in a very high cost of living area, like NYC or L.A., has less buying power than $150K or maybe even $100K in other places. That is, $250K is firmly middle class in certain areas of the country.

          and I see no distinction between "rich" and "super rich"

          Well, it's my post, and my distinction. By "super rich" I mean people who can live very comfortably without having to worry about money at all. They do not have to consider the cost of a new sports car, they j

          • by mcgrew (92797)

            Well, it's my post, and my distinction

            OK, I'll grant you that, it's a matter of semantics.

            By "super rich" I mean people who can live very comfortably without having to worry about money at all

            If I had 250k every year I'd retire comfortably in five years.

            They do not have to consider the cost of a new sports car, they just get it

            I don't have to consider the cost of a new sports car, because I'm happy with the car I have. By my standards and your definition, then, at 250k/yr I would be super-rich. I'm pretty h

            • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot

              If I had 250k every year I'd retire comfortably in five years.

              Then you obviously don't have a family to support.

              I don't have to consider the cost of a new sports car, because I'm happy with the car I have.

              You're twisting my words to have a different meaning than I obviously intended. Obviously implied was "in order to buy one."

              By that logic, no one who gets public money should get a salary that high, which means we might as well just let AIG sink to the bottom of the ocean because you'll never find someone who can run the company for that amount of money.

              If they had been sucessful at running the company I'd agree, but are you really in favor or rewarding incompetence?

              You're confused. AIG's CEO [wikipedia.org] was not at the company when it did all these bad things, he was brought in when the previous CEO was kicked out (well, there was one interim CEO brought in from the Board for a few months, in between). He is only getting a salary of $1, but he's going to be getting a big bonus -- of millions, almost surely

              • by mcgrew (92797)

                Then you obviously don't have a family to support.

                Not any more, my kids are grown and I'm divorced and living by myself (at least, when there aren't any women living there). But I raised my family on half of what I'm making now.

                You're confused. AIG's CEO was not at the company when it did all these bad things, he was brought in when the previous CEO was kicked out (well, there was one interim CEO brought in from the Board for a few months, in between). He is only getting a salary of $1, but he's going to be

                • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot

                  Not any more, my kids are grown and I'm divorced and living by myself

                  Right. So $250,000 is enough for you to retire on. Not so for many other people.

                  If it does work out, he deserves it. If he's taking a $1 salary he has my deep respect.

                  So how come the executive who just quit who was also taking a $1 salary and got a bonus of $750K doesn't deserve his?

            • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot

              Read this. [nytimes.com]

              A now-former AIG exec who had nothing to do with the downfall, who did his job, who took a $1 salary on the promise of a bonus, who is now being villified. He said, "fine, screw you guys, I quit." He was ONE OF THE GOOD GUYS who could help turn this company around, and now he's gone, thanks to the pitchfork-wielders.

              Last night Rachel Maddow said on Jay Leno that this outrage over the AIG bonuses was because it was something simple and wrong that people could wrap their heads around. But the pro

        • by multimed (189254)

          If you're making that much money you shouldn't need to be feeding at the public trough.

          How about elected officials? Plenty of them making well over that much feeding at the public trough. How about school administrators? I don't know about $250k but I know Milwaukee Public Schools have a dozen principals pulling in more that $180k including benefits. This from one of the worst public school systems in the country, and by definition this is public trough as it's 100% tax payer money. I'd assume there are superintendents (and likely assistant superintendents) pulling in $250k+. I've not heard m

          • by mcgrew (92797)

            By "feeding at the public trough" I mean taking government cash without giving anything in return, and I would agree that school administrators fall into this category. A road contractor who is building highways isn't feeding at the public trough, nor is a competent school teacher.

    • by Shakrai (717556)

      Do you honestly think that an execttive who ran a company into the ground deserves a bonus?

      The question I would pose is do you honestly think it's the role of the Federal Government to make sure that people who get bonuses from their employer deserve to get them?

      • by mcgrew (92797)

        This is only for companies that recieved billions if tax dollars for bailouts. Congress (and the Executive branch as well) screwed up by not writing it into the bailout bill.

        • by Shakrai (717556)

          The problem with that is that it's self-defeating if your objective with the bailout is to save the company. If you limit how much they can compensate their employees the best employees will be poached by firms that didn't take bailout money and whom have no such restrictions. In the end the firm will emerge from the bailouts weaker than ever before. In that case, what was the point of the bailout?

        • by multimed (189254)

          This is only for companies that recieved billions if tax dollars for bailouts. Congress (and the Executive branch as well) screwed up by not writing it into the bailout bill.

          Which is obviously hilarious considering it WAS written into an original draft of the bill and later exemptions were created specifically covering the exact scenario that followed. Dodd added it back in & threw the Obama/Geitner under the bus by explicitly saying it was their the Treasury Dept. that told him to do it. And further, it was all no accident - none of it. AIG knew exactly what the law was when they took the money and gave the bonuses.

          • by mcgrew (92797)

            Which is obviously hilarious considering it WAS written into an original draft of the bill

            And the press isn't giving them nearly enough grief for it. I agree with California Governor Arnold: there's no difference between Democrats and Republicans.

            • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot

              I agree with California Governor Arnold: there's no difference between Democrats and Republicans.

              Well, when Arnold is the present example of "Republican," sure. But that's not very interesting.

      • by mcgrew (92797)

        The question I would pose is do you honestly think it's the role of the Federal Government to make sure that people who get bonuses from their employer deserve to get them?

        Only if the government owns the business in question, which in this case it does in practicality, considering that without the bailout there would be no more AIG.

  • ...your question boils down to 1) would you be guilty, and 2) how would you feel about it. Loosely this means four categories of kind of person, and then the answer to your question follows, IMO, from the category:
    a) I would be guilty, and I'd feel awful about it.
    b) I would be guilty, and I'd feel fine about it.
    c) I would not be guilty, and I'd feel fine about it.
    d) I would not be guilty, and I'd feel awful about it.

    We've already heard from d) basically, which is the only one I can't wrap my brain around. A

    • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot

      your question boils down to 1) would you be guilty, and 2) how would you feel about it

      No, I explicitly excluded people who would be guilty when I said, "and I was not a super-rich executive or someone else who was to blame for this mess."

      Even if I were part of a group that was engaging in shenanigans and just didn't know it, I'd feel bad about what my group did, but not my acting in good faith, even if I unknowingly helped out

      I would not feel bad about what I had nothing to do with.

      • by Bill Dog (726542)

        No, I explicitly excluded...

        (Doh.)

        I would not feel bad about what I had nothing to do with.

        But would you feel bad about what you had something to do with, but unwittingly? That's the only category where I could possibly imagine some variance. And then not really.

        • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot

          But would you feel bad about what you had something to do with, but unwittingly?

          It depends on what I did to contribute. If I worked at a hardware store and sold someone fertilizer that they used to make a bomb ... no, I would not feel bad about my "participation." If I did nothing wrong, if I had no reason to suspect the people I was helping were doing anything wrong ... no.

          If I had some reason to suspect some wrongdoing and I did nothing, who knows, maybe.

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