Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.
- President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Edward M. Liddy

He is the CEO of AIG. He is working there for one dollar a year, and he replaced the incompetent asshole that allowed this mess to happen. Anyone calling for "the CEO of AIG to pay" is an uninformed moron.

So, the bailout bonuses. Everyone is upset that AIG, who has been given over $170,000,000,000 in taxpayer money, paid "bonuses" to some employees, which total about $165,000,000.


Maybe I should make that a little more clear.

$170,000,000,000 = NINE ZEROES.
$165,000,000 = SIX ZEROES.

All right, technically there are ten and six zeroes up there, but I am being pedantic enough for the both of us.

So, AIG is spending less than one thousandth of the money given to them on their employees for "bonuses". What are these bonuses? They are in many cases severance pay with a different name. Several of the people that were given this money have already left the company, and several more are literally working themselves out of a job by shutting down accounts that are still on the books. I am all for outrage when it is called for, but the more that I look at this "controversy", the more I see reactionary rage rather than sober indignation.

So... what set this off? What got me upset about a controversy that has been in the news for many days? Nothing. What set me off, was a report by Michigan public radio on the so called "GM car bonus". What the hell is that?

GM, an automotive company, lets about 8,000 of its white collar workers swap out their cars every three months, and pays for the fuel for their cars. These workers report any problems that these cars might have regularly, and these reports are given directly to GM engineers. This has been going on for fifty years.

The report cited that GM probably paid about 12 million dollars in fuel costs last year. Now, before you get all hot and bothered... GM paid its workers participating in a long-established company program 12 million dollars, which those workers had to report as income to the IRS.


So... yeah, I needed to write this out.

But other than that, life is going ok. School is fine, work is fine. I am trying to figure out how to do my best for Kim. I'm not exactly excelling at that, but I'm trying...


Heidi said...

Your a great guy Mark and even great guys have their off days full of frustrations. It's allowed once in a while. Glad you were able to vent a little.

cassdawn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cassdawn said...

scooter - i wrote a rather lengthy reply to your post today and seemed to have lost all of it. just a few highlights. while i understand your point and agree that the general public rarely takes the time to actually read and fully understand the meat of the story . . . in the case of aig - people who sought to not burden their families and their country lost everything at the hands of this company. no one is "bailing" them out. instead they are taking the people's money (including the people who got royally fucked) and using it to rescue the irresponsibility that brought this about. and without question. lunacy. so the people are pissed. and they should be or more appropriately should HAVE been. it's too damned late now. and if people are shocked that they took that money and acted irresponsibly with it (hold on - i'm getting to that) well then, people are idiots, as it ever were. so that's my opinion about the aig bonuses - one which, by the way, your mr. liddy rather agrees with - calling some of the bonuses "distasteful".

and here's why - yes, you were right about the percentage but . . . so what? i mean, first off in capitalism there is supposed to be no bonus for a job poorly done. tipping is supposed to be optional. sorry, i'm delving into the moral piece again.

that bonus money .. . 73 individuals received 1 million *or more* each. so half of the money at least (remember some got more than 1 million) which is precisely the underlying cause of how we ended up here to begin with. not just with that company. this country. oligarchy.

as for the gm thing. the money thing not so big but otoh - - first off, cars don't generally display problems in the first three months so that doesn't seem like a great application of what could be a good idea. also, if it's really in the best interest of the company why not have an engineer drive the car or a mechanic - someone who maybe knows what they are feeling / listening to . . .??

i understand your frustrations i do. but people are scared. and so yeah, reactive, sure but there are legitimate concerns.

okay i got more but i'm wiped and i'm writing this all for the second time

Anonymous said...

I'm a GM employee who drives a company car. It's part of my compensation that was a factor when decided many years ago to work for GM. I also pay $250 per month for this so-called bonus. And I regularly get emails from engineers who are working to solve quality problems with the model I'm driving. Maybe that kind of investiment in quality is why Buick just beat out Lexus as #1 in reliability 3 years after purchase.
(just my personal 2-cents)

cassdawn said...

so - right off the bat anonymous your situation is somewhat different from how it was described.

and since i dont' know the particulars i can't comment.

i stand by my statement that a car does not generally show problems within the first three months so switching it out ever three months (if that is what happens) doesn't seem like the best idea.

so if there is an investment in quality and a production of good cars then why did the company need bailing out - in your opinion? does capitalism simply not work?

Heff said...

Prepare for an AIG name change (at least on the personal lines INSURANCE side of AIG) coming in less than a month.