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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 19, 2009 at 4:44 PM

AIG bonuses

Joining an out-of-tune chorus

Your editorial [“AIG should be forced to give back bonuses,” March 18] joins the chorus of those expressing outrage at performance bonuses being paid for failure. Who wouldn’t be outraged if that is what had happened.

We expect such behavior from members of Congress seeking TV face time for the folks back home. We cannot sanguinely expect such a cavalier disregard of the facts from our newspaper.

You disregard that AIG CEO Edward Liddy explained that no performance bonuses have been paid. As part of preserving as much AIG value as possible, so that taxpayers can be repaid, AIG asked experienced managers to stay on the job and wind down their books of business in a responsible manner. If they did this satisfactorily, they were rewarded with a retention bonus, not a performance bonus.

Alternately, AIG could have allowed these experienced managers to leave and AIG would be burdened by these excessively risky portfolios.

— Larry Donohue, Seattle

The price of silence?

Has anyone else speculated that AIG’s “retention” — or not — bonuses actually could be hush money in order to enable the perpetrators of financial ruin to cover their tracks and stop the buck from passing to senior management?

If so, then we taxpayers and owners of this business would be better served to have outsiders come in and unravel the mess.

— Marcia Stedman, Bothell

Outrage masks complicity

Politicians will do anything and everything to cover up their own shortcomings and errors. Although Republicans and Democrats in Congress and the White House strongly criticize AIG’s use of the $180 billion bailout money they received, they knew in advance some of the money would go toward bonuses.

Their own poorly developed bailout plan was done in such haste with no proper reviews that we taxpayers are the ones who will suffer. Every politician who voted for and supported this bailout package should be impeached. It disgusts me to watch them rush to get in front of the TV cameras and bloviate their outrage.

These mendacious individuals compound rather than resolve our crisis. And, do not be misled by their comments to get the money back by passing a special tax; What they can do to AIG they can do to the rest of us.

I do not support these AIG bonuses, but our government is leaderless and out of control. The stimulus package was passed and approved without one legislator having fully read the bill, including our own Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell.

Our country can do better; it deserves better!

— Dick Applestone, Bellevue

Comments | More in Federal bailouts

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