Washington and the nation are enraged that AIG is paying millions in bonuses to retain financial wizards that sold insurance on mortgage backed securities with few assets to back up their promises.
AIG is telling us that it must pay those bonuses, because they are required by employment contracts necessary to retain its financial engineers.
Treasury Secretary Geithner has expressed outrage. Instead, he should be embarrassed.
When the Bush White House agreed to bail out General Motors (NYSE:GM) and Chrysler, it required those companies to renegotiate their labor contracts—that’s right contracts—and they are doing just that to keep their federal largess.
The Obama Treasury, headed by Tim Geithner, is forcing the terms of that deal on the United Autoworkers.
Why did Secretaries Paulson and Geithner not require the same at AIG? Remember Geithner was president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank and a key player when financial giants like Citigroup (NYSE:C) and AIG were being bailed with the taxpayers’ cash. Those bailouts continue, with easy terms for the bankers and their contracts, on Geithner’s watch.
The threat was the same with AIG and GM. If either shut down, the economy would plummet into chaos and depression we were told.
So Mr. Geithner, instead of being outraged at AIG’s last revelations, perhaps you can explain to all of us why a UAW worker earning $29 dollars an hour must give back wages and benefits to keep their company alive, while the architects of the biggest financial disaster in history get to keep their gold plated contracts.
Mr. Geithner, we are waiting for your answer.