Monday, March 16, 2009


Today the media is all up in arms about AIG and the bonuses paid out to its executives. And while I'm not excited about the bonuses, the math makes me pretty uninterested. Bonuses of ~$165M, compared to bailout funding of ~$170B - which works out to not even 0.1% of the money.

Where was the outrage at Wall Street? Read this:
Wall Street's $18.4 Billion Bonus | "Here’s the bottom line on Wall Street bonuses for 2008—according to the New York State Comptroller’s Office. They’re on track to be 50 percent lower than last year’s. That’s a sharp cut, except that it’s still $18.4 billion."
That's right, $125B in bailout, $18B in bonuses - nearly 15% of the bailout went directly to bonuses. That's over two orders of magnitude difference between the two situations!

Where's the outrage for that?

Hell, the Wall Street bonuses alone are nearly enough to bail out the auto industry. But let's balk at giving the auto industry any money...

I don't understand the judgment call that media makes in what constitutes a story worthy of reporting. We've lost billions in money in Iraq (literally lost, not wasted) - no media outrage. We've spent billions on contracts in the last 8 years under W with no accountability (no idea if it's more cost effective, don't even know how many contracts there are).

Yet losing 0.1% of the bailout money to bonuses is an outrage. I'd be stoked if that were the extent of waste over the last 8 years.

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