AIG CEO: Bonus Uproar ‘Just as Bad’ as Racist Lynch Mob
Maybe you got angry about AIG paying huge bonuses just months after it nearly brought down the financial system and took a $182 billion bailout.
Well, then, you are exactly the same as a racist lynch mob in the Deep South in the Civil Rights era, according to AIG CEO Robert Benmosche.
He told The Wall Street Journal that the outcry over AIG’s bonuses “was intended to stir public anger, to get everybody out there with their pitch forks and their hangman nooses, and all that — sort of like what we did in the Deep South [decades ago]. And I think it was just as bad and just as wrong.”
“It is a shame we put them through that,” he added, referring to those poor employees who got huge bonuses.
An AIG spokesman declined to offer further comment to The Huffington Post.
In case you were busy washing your Klan robes and missed the lynching party, here’s a refresher: AIG in March 2009 paid $165 million in bonuses to employees of its “financial products” division. This was the division that loaded the insurance giant with credit derivatives that blew up after the Lehman Brothers collapse. The government bailed out AIG to keep its bets from taking down the whole financial system.