Commentary: AIG executives shouldn't get bonuses

March 17, 2009 

This editorial appeared in The Kansas City Star.

The scandals that most move public opinion are those that ordinary people can understand.

In the U.S. House bank scandal of 1992, the public learned that members enjoyed banking privileges not available to most consumers. To many Americans that stood for everything that was wrong with Capitol Hill at the time.

The latest twist involving American International Group is a similar case, in that it suddenly brings a financially complicated case into sharp focus: AIG has been targeted for $170 billion in taxpayer bailout money; executives ran the company into the ground; and now come reports that lavish bonuses are going out to those same people. The outrage is real, and justifiably so.

President Obama says he intends to stop the payments.

Although it wasn't immediately clear what can be done, a White House official told The Wall Street Journal that the most recent infusion of AIG bailout money won't be delivered until repayment options are worked out.

AIG says it will curb future bonuses.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Kansas City Star.

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