Monday, March 23, 2009

AIG and the American taxpayer

So AIG's top guys wanna get their pay, is that really a crime? Not at all, they are simply acting in their 'rational self interest'. But the taxpayers that bailed out the company are also acting in their self interest and demand for the billions dished out to be used to remedy the situation without rewarding the failures of AIG managers. And as for the 'contractual obligations' excuse to allow the millions of retro-bonuses to be dished out, well this post explains why it simply doesn't stand to careful scrutiny.

Yet I can't help but wonder why Americans are so up-and-arms over this. Shouldn't they be desensitized to getting ripped-off the past 8 years? Billions continue to be spent in Iraq - a counterproductive war abroad - when most of that money should have been spend on healthcare, education and reducing inequality at home.

I'd like to think that the outrage over AIG heralds the rise of the enlightened American taxpayer, who starts to seriously hold Washington accountable for the use of public funds. Yet something tells me the furor will soon subside, complacency will creep back in, and as the economy start to recover, today's awoken taxpayer will slumber back into the comforts of every day life and away from the responsibility to be the avant-guard of responsible government spending.

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