Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The AIG Bonuses - Pure Political Theatre

All hopes for moving beyond the banality of politics are out the window, as members of Congress stumble over themselves in populist indignation over the bonuses paid out by AIG.

Never mind that the government has known about AIG's comp structure since at least the time the insurer was bailed out last year.

If we believe that the bailout of AIG was necessary, we must also accept that those who crafted the bailout chose - wisely, I believe, given the stakes and time pressure involved - to focus on saving the patient and not to waste time on annoying-but-inconsequential details.

Look, there are lots of things about comp and benefits at Wall Street financial outfits that would make Main Street America's skin crawl. There are lots of ways any of these bailout details could have been handled with greater care and finesse. But in the pressure of the moment, we want those trying to save our economy to prioritize smartly. I just wish someone in our government would acknowledge this reality.

No comments: