AIG, a company at the centre of the financial collapse which has received $170 billion in US taxpayer funded bailouts, is planning to pay its executives a total of $165 million in bonuses, the New York Times reports. In spite of protestations from the Obama administration, the company is refusing to budge, saying it has a contractual obligation to pay these bonueses to executives in the business unit which brought the company to the brink of collapse. Chairman Edward Liddy also argues that the company needs to pay bonuses to retain skilled executives. Skilled executives? These are the geniuses who wrecked their own company, and with it the world financial system!
Perhaps the US government will now realise that it made a mistake by not demanding control in return for the bailout. By its sheer pig-headed short-sightedness, AIG may bring upon itself – and other banks who receive bail-out money – what they have been desperately trying to avoid: nationalisation.