Obama Calls AIG Bonuses An Outrage

POSTED: Monday, March 16, 2009 - 4:17pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 3:22pm

President Obama is calling it an "outrage," and vowing to block the roughly $165 million in executive bonuses approved over the weekend by bailed-out insurance giant AIG...

President Obama is calling it an "outrage," and vowing to block the roughly $165 million in executive bonuses approved over the weekend by bailed-out insurance giant AIG.

President Obama ordered the Treasury Department Monday to intervene.

Mr. Obama vowed to "pursue every single legal avenue to block these bonuses and make the American taxpayers whole" during an appearance with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Over the weekend AIG approved roughly $165-million in bonuses to executives who traded in so-called "derivatives".

Their collapse fueled the mortgage meltdown, forcing bank failures and the Wall Street bailout, whose biggest beneficiary was...AIG.

The company has received $170-billion in federal funds.

"It's hard to understand how derivative traders at AIG warranted any bonuses, much less $165 million in extra pay," the President complained. "I mean, how do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?"

AIG claims it has to pay, or be sued by traders who were guaranteed bonuses.

Many in Congress want them fired.

"These bonuses are going to people who screwed this thing up enormously," said Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank.

"I'm trying to contain my rage," added Illinois Senator Dick Durbin.

The economy remains in crisis: Industrial production was down again in February.

President Obama has vowed to spend $15 billion to finance small business, 20 times what was in his stimulus plan, to boost jobs and make clear he's not just helping giants like AIG.

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