AIG entered into legally binding contracts with workers who were promised a certain amount of money to stay on while they went through a troubled period. These are called retention bonuses, they're not based on company or even personal performance, rather, only on the fact that said individual remains with the company through the time specified in the contract.
These people truly EARNED this money, you might not make a million bucks a year, but that doesn't mean we or the feds should have the right to reach into their pockets and take it back.
The Federal government, rather than allowing AIG to go under, gave AIG BILLIONS of dollars to stay afloat. In fact, all told, the federal government is spending over $3,000,000,000,000 *three trillion* dollars to deal with this whole financial meltdown, and they're angry over a $165,000,000 owed by AIG, legally, to various employees. In fact they now are going to tax these bonuses over 90%. That's right, the house has voted to raise taxes (on certain folks money) to 90%+.
$165,000,000 AIG "bonuses"
$3,000,000,000,000 Federal Government "bailout"
Chump change folks, intended to get your mind and eye off the fact that the government is printing money like crazy, raising taxes on the "rich", increasing the speed at which children are murdered and the moral and social decay of this country.
I realize that, in this "crisis" brought about by loosened restrictions on home loans brought about by groups like ACORN and the democrats who made it lucrative for mortgage companies to give home loans to people who couldn't afford them (1995 folks... pre-Bush), the loosening of restrictions on market "products" (ok, Repubs should take the hit for that one!), and the ever growing corruption in our government.
AIG is doing what it promised to do, pay people for work. The Federal Government, well known for giving money to people who won't work, is planning on taking it away from these folks to flush down some other sewage filled hole.
If the house and senate are really that upset, they can take a 100% tax on their income this year.
UPDATE! From The Buffalo News
“One way or another, we’re going to try to figure out how to get these [bonus] resources back,” said Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.
Dodd has accepted $280,238 in campaign cash from AIG’s political committee and employees in the last 20 years.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N. Y., said: “If they don’t give the money back, we will put in place a new law that will allow us to tax these bonuses at a very high rate so that it is returned to its rightful owners — the taxpayers.” Schumer has accepted $111,875 from AIG donors over two decades.
“They’re not going to get the financial benefit of those bonuses,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont.
Baucus collected $90,000 from those connected to the insurance giant that has received more than $170 billion in federal bailout funds.
Obama was one of four people who ran for the presidency who ranked in the top five of recipients of AIG employee and political committee donations over the last two decades. He pulled in $107,332, mostly for his presidential race.
UPDATE 2: (HT AOmin)
A bill of attainder (also known as an act or writ of attainder) is an act of legislature declaring a person or group of persons guilty of some crime and punishing them without benefit of a trial.
Bills of attainder are forbidden by Article I, section 9, clause 3 of the United States Constitution.
Turns out those "bonuses" we specifically exempted by the bailout bill.
Regardless, these folks are owed the money, we have no right to take it from them nor retroactively tax them.