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AIG: Are you SURE this was the first you knew about bonuses, Mr. Geithner?

Posted on | March 19, 2009 | 1 Comment

Chris Dodd wasn't about to take the fall for Tim Geithner's insistence on softening the bonus language in the bailout bill. Parody of a Maltese Falcon movie poster

Coming to a Congressional Hearing Near You

Well, this HAS been an interesting week. The news about the AIG bonuses broke late Saturday, early Sunday. The liberal bloggers picked up on it immediately, but the conservative bloggers didn’t touch it until Tuesday. Evidently, they don’t read the liberal blogs and had to wait for someone else to digest it and hand them a party line. The moderates joined in and there was a firestorm of protest, best summed up by Chuck Grassley as a general demand for resignations or hara-kiri. Personally, I’d like someone to leave a gun on their desks and tell them to “do the right thing,” but what can I say, I’m an anglophile. Obama said he hadn’t heard about the bonuses until a few days before the s**t hit the fan. Tim Geithner said he’d only heard a few days before that. HOWEVER, Ron Wyden revealed that when the bailout bill passed the Senate, there was a strong provision putting caps on executive bonuses for companies being bailed out. It wasn’t there when it hit the House. As Rita Rudner once put it, where did the glue go? Treasury tries to put the blame on Chris Dodd, claiming he added a clause granting exemptions for bonus agreements already in place. But what REALLY happened, as Jane Hamsher has documented is that Dodd et al had inserted a provision placing caps retroactively on executive compensation…and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers, head of the National Economic Council, put pressure on Dodd to remove or seriously weaken this provision. And Senator Dodd pointed the finger straight back at Geithners–who, you will remember claimed like Sergeant Schultz, “I knew nuzzing, NUZZING!” Obama then said, in one of his less-than-sterling statements, that the administration will use every legal means to try to recoup these bonuses–which have already been paid. Well, hell, Barack, did you think we expected you to use ILLEGAL means?
Obama’s appointment of Tim Geithner to head the Treasury was an iffy deal to begin with. The charismatic young president’s strong points do not include economics and Geithner’s appointment seemed an attempt to look like he was putting one of the adults in charge. After all, a banker should know about banking, right? It also looked like a safe place to put an opposing viewpoint. Well, Mr. Geithner has just demonstrated that his loyalties run with the banking community, not with the people of the US, and his appointment, far from placing one of the adults in charge, actually was putting one of the foxes in charge of the henhouse. It is time for Mr. Obama to reconsider this appointment. No, screw that, it’s time to ask for Timmy’s resignation. Geithner was going to follow a timid course, the tried-and-true, which in this situation is neither tried nor true. Let’s get someone like Paul Krugman in place so we can get an economic policy with balls, not cronyism.
Oh and AIG has decided on a new strategy to save the company. It’s changing its name…
Check out Glenn Greenwald’s Salon column on this for more information on the legal ramifications of the AIG stink.
BTW I think Timmy Geithner makes an excellent Brigid O’Shaunessy–he’s about as honest, dontcha think?

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Comments

One Response to “AIG: Are you SURE this was the first you knew about bonuses, Mr. Geithner?”

  1. mark h
    March 21st, 2009 @ 11:05 am

    Nice work, Greg.

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