AIG Bonuses

“Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

I try to not just link to shit without having good commentary for it, but Nate Silver often says things in a way that leaves me with nothing to add.

From his post on AIG bonuses:

“This [the financial problems at AIG) must have posed something of a problem for the employees in the Financial Products division, since their compensation relied on these trades being profitable. So AIG struck a deal with these employees. It guaranteed them, for 2008 and 2009, the same level of incentive-based compensation that they received in 2007 (except for senior executives, who took a 25 percent haircut), regardless of how the division actually performed. The only requirements were that the employees couldn’t quit and couldn’t be fired for cause (a much stricter standard than the usual conditions of at-will employment.)”

Here’s what I will add. Why aren’t we hearing about this? I had to turn NPR off last night because I was tired of listening to shit about the AIG bonuses. Silver’s explanation makes sense to me, until now the only reasonable explanation for the payment of the bonuses was pure, unadulterated greed.

While I find the bonuses to be utterly distasteful, I think we’re spending way too much time arguing about a few million dollars, which is literally pocket change when compared to the other sums being tossed around these days.

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