Monday, March 16, 2009

Obama calls AIG bonuses an 'outrage to the taxpayers'

"President Obama reacted angrily today to reports that American International Group Inc. employees received $165 million in bonuses -- even as the giant insurer was being sustained by billions of dollars of taxpayer money -- and said he would use his administration's power to block the bonuses."

"Under these circumstances, it's hard to understand how derivative traders at AIG warranted any bonuses, much less $165 million in extra pay," Obama said. "How do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?"

"In the last six months, AIG has received substantial sums from the U.S. Treasury," he continued. "I've asked Secretary Geithner to use that leverage and pursue every legal avenue to block these bonuses and make the American taxpayers whole."

"It was unclear what the White House could do legally to stop the bonuses, which reportedly ranged from $1,000 to $6.5 million and were mainly being paid to executives in AIG's financial products division."

"The AIG situation is especially galling for many policymakers and Americans alike because the company has received $180 billion in federal bailout funds."

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