Lawmakers, Regulators, Taxpayers Unbelievably Pissed At AIG

There’s no shortage of outrage directed at AIG today as the fallout from the bailed-out insurer’s announcement that they intend to use $165 million in taxpayer money to pay bonuses to the very executives that ruined the company continues.

From ABC News:

“It’s ridiculous,” U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., told “GMA,” adding that he doesn’t buy the notion that the government doesn’t have enough control over taxpayer dollars to stop bonuses like these.

Sadly, most everyone else seems to be in agreement that the government has no power to stop AIG from going ahead with the bonuses — despite the fact that we are now its single largest shareholder. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke told CBS’ 60 Minutes that of all this meltdown nonsense it’s the AIG bailout that makes him the angriest — and ABC News says that the chairman was so livid after hearing about the bonuses that he slammed the phone down.

“Let me just first say that of all the events and all of the things we’ve done in the last 18 months, the single one that makes me the angriest, that gives me the most angst, is the intervention with AIG. Here was a company that made all kinds of unconscionable bets. Then, when those bets went wrong, we had a situation where the failure of that company would have brought down the financial system,” Bernanke said.

“You say it makes you angry?” Pelley asked.

“It makes me angry. I slammed the phone more than a few times on discussing AIG. I understand why the American people are angry. It’s absolutely unfair that taxpayer dollars are going to prop up a company that made these terrible bets, that was operating out of the sight of regulators, but which we have no choice but the stabilize, or else risk enormous impact, not just in the financial system, but on the whole U.S. economy,” Bernanke explained.

Ben Bernanke’s Greatest Challenge [CBS]
From Outrage to the Future: Learning From the AIG Bonuses [ABCNews]
(Photo:ChristophrHiestr)