The only real difference between Bernie Madoff and the management of AIG is that when Bernie Madoff got caught, he pleaded guilty. When AIG got caught, it asked the government for $170 billion.
And it got it. Now the American International Group is going to pay $165 million to its executives as a reward for the fine job they did in duping everybody.
The Obama administration is officially outraged by this. It is stamping its feet. It is jumping up and down. It is issuing stern statements.
But some are getting ready to pay. Some are getting ready to let the fat cats get fatter.
Larry Summers, director of the president’s National Economic Council, went on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” on Sunday and said the AIG bonuses were “outrageous” but might have to be paid.
“We are a country of law,” he said. “There are contracts. The government cannot just abrogate contracts.”
Baloney. Contracts get abrogated all the time. That’s why there are lawsuits.
It’s not enough for AIG executives to continue to get their huge annual salaries because of a government bailout — they want bonuses, too? Let them sue to get them.