Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Unavoidable Financial Doom

Over there at the top 'Most Viewed' story is "Bedlam breaks out at "Top Model" audition." The second 'Most Viewed' story is "AIG responds to Treasury pressure." That the AIG story is not the most viewed story definitely says something. That folks who are reading news at are more interested in some model melee than they are about the incompetent cheats over there at AIG who are largely responsible and also largely to blame for the economic situation of the country AND they are also the recipients of hundreds of billions of dollars which really can't be accounted for at this point. But hey, let's see what got the dander of a bunch of models all riled up, shall we? NO. We shall not.

Call me crazy, but even though I am as big of a fan of hot models as the next person, I'm kind of more interested in AIG "responding to Treasury pressure." They already wanted billions and billions of taxpayer dollars more than they've already received. And I know that the latest funds that are being given to them do come with stipulations, so I guess that must be the "pressure" that CNN is talking about. So what was their response? To paraphrase, I believe the bottom line was something like, "Screw you. We're paying out bonuses. You can't stop us. We still want more money. You're still going to give it to us. Did we say 'screw you' already? We did? Well, screw you again." Something like that. Again, I was paraphrasing.

So, if you're taking a break from all of the model brawling, you should be enraged to know that not only is AIG getting another $30 billion dollars (give or take a couple billion), they are also going to pay out bonuses for 2008. A bonus?? Those guys get bonuses?? For WHAT?? They have run that company into the ground, they have put the entire United States economy on the brink of collapse, they couldn't do a damn thing with the previous $150 billion dollars that they were given. Hell, they can't even account for all of it! And for that they get a bonus? Um, I don't know about you, but if that were my job performance at my job, I wouldn't be getting a bonus. No, I'd be getting my ass kicked out the door. What the hell is going on here?

Well, according to Edward Liddy, the CEO of AIG, "...he personally does not receive a bonus, but that some bonus payments are unavoidable, because they are binding legal obligations of the company, and...there are serious legal, as well as business consequences for not paying." Unavoidable? Some bonus payments are unavoidable? Is that what he said? I can tell you how those bonus payments can be avoided. Ready? Here it is: If your company hadn't been given the money it has in order to stay in business, it would have been out of business for at least six months at this point. There wouldn't be any company to have any employees to pay any bonuses to! That's how they're "avoided". We just let your sorry ass go under and "avoid" all of those binding bonus dilemmas. Are you kidding me?!

Here's my other way to "avoid" paying out those bonuses. Ready? Here it is: You're fired. Do you get a bonus if you've been fired? I would hope the hell that you don't (but since this is AIG, I wouldn't be surprised if they did). So tell you what, O Incompetent're all fired. Don't let the solid gold door hit you in the ass on the way out. There you go. Problem solved. Bonuses avoided. What crisis can I solve next? World peace, perhaps? Lemme think about that one.

What's the business consequence for not paying a bonus to someone who does a crappy job? What in the hell do these contracts say? Because I've long been under the impression that a "bonus" was something that you received for doing a good job. Clearly, the majority of folks running AIG are not bonus-worthy. I mean, for cryin' out loud, if those guys are getting bonuses for the job that they're doing, what in the world do they do for folks who actually are doing a good job? A jet? A penthouse? What is going on?!

I'm serious, I want to know what those contracts say as far as the "bonus" obligations that they're SO confined by. There has to be a reason why things are done that way and I'd like to know what those are as well. . If you're guaranteed a "bonus" at the end of the year no matter what, then it's not a "bonus" is it? It's a lump sum payment is what it is. It would seem that you could fornicate with your boss's daughter on his desk and have it broadcast live via webcam to all of the employees and still get your "bonus"!! Why is the lump sum payment more beneficial to the company or to the recipients of it than just to have it spread out and included in their salaries? (I'm really asking. I have no idea.)

My other question is: Why are these folks who were too incompetent to keep this from happening to AIG in the first place STILL in charge?! WHY?!?! They obviously have no idea what they're doing and they also don't seem to want to know what to do. I can't really say that I'd be any different in that position. If I knew I was going to make a gazillion dollars whether I drove the company nose first into the ground or whether I worked my ass off, I don't know that I'd be all for working my ass off if the payout wouldn't be any different than if I just did nothing.

I keep hearing that AIG is "too big to fail". And I've heard it explained why that is and I do understand it. But what I need to have explained to me is how "too big to fail" is not exactly the same as "too big to succeed". Why should they try to "succeed" when they can't "fail"? I can not try to succeed and have the same result, that of all of the failing, and if I know that the result of that failure is that there are no consequences and it's business as usual, I'm taking the day off! I'm not going to work my ass off, just to end up "failing" when I can lounge around and do nothing and get the same result. Why is AIG any different? I don't think that they are.

Liddy also had this to say about one of the consequences of not paying employees bonuses that they were "promised" and were "expecting": "....the company will have trouble attracting and retaining the best and the brightest ... if employees believe that their compensation is subject to continued and arbitrary adjustment by the US Treasury." Um, Mr. Liddy, sir? Yeah, I understand all of that. But see, you don't have the best and the brightest! No, you seem to have the worst and the dumbest! Your company already has trouble attracting talented employees. That's why you're getting bailed out again!! The "best and the brightest" are no where to be found at AIG! (And don't go looking in the US Treasury for them either. They're certainly not over there.) And if you think that's even a valid argument, you're clearly not one of the "best and the brightest" either. Sir.

Worst. Reason. Ever.

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Anonymous said...

It is absurd ANY bonus paid with TAX payer money.

Pay for poor performance. No Excuses. USA should 100% forbiden this pratice.

Anonymous said...

if they pay any bonus at all, they must pay our tax payer first

grannyann said...

I had not realized until just before the election that all the major news stations (including ABC,NBC and CBS) will not say ANYTHING against the Obama admin EXCEPT Fox News (channel 48). If you watch FOX you will get all the real news (AIG) that we are worried about. P.S. if you have noticed Obama often says things that will tell you he doesn't like what FOX has to say!!