Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bloomberg Defends A.I.G. Bonus Recipients

It is tough being an executive at A.I.G. these days. Everyone out there loathes you, except for Rush Limbaugh but who wants that brand of compassion? What about billionaire Michael Bloomberg though? The media mogul turned mayor is still much more popular than Limbaugh (though his poll numbers have fallen considerably since he passed the term limits extension bill) and is currently C.E.O. of the city that A.I.G. has gotten away with so much in. Well anyway, screw those millionaire executives, why would Bloomberg come to the defense of these economy-wrecking scourges of capitalism?

From The Daily Politics:

Mayor Bloomberg today came to the defense of the public enemy du jour - the bailout cash bonus recipients - saying he disagrees with the push to publicize the names of financial sector executives who received taxpayer-funded salary sweeteners.

"Generally speaking, if you work in the private sector, I don't think your salaries and bonuses should be in the public domain," the mayor said during a Q&A with reporters, including the DN's Kate Lucadamo, that followed his visit to a retraining session employees of Rucci Oil Company in Port Richmond, Staten Island, where he was highlighting the city's efforts to help small businesses.

"If you are the heads of companies, there are laws that the top 10 executives or whatever have to be in the annual report and that is fine. The stockholders have a right to know but as you go down, people want to have their privacy. I don't think you'd wanting somebody snooping around in your private life."

This of course is in response to Attorney General Cuomo's successful court action to make the executives' names public. What Bloomberg fails to recognize is that A.I.G. is no longer a private company. If they were, they'd have either not gotten themselves into this mess or if we had free markets, they'd be a part of economic history. Now they belong (80% of the company give or take) to the American taxpayer and if we want to see their records, we better damn well have access. If they want our money, they'll learn how to be accountable, even if Congress doesn't is doing this primarily for grandstanding-purposes only.

Unfortunately, Bloomberg doesn't seem to get that, nor the animosity that most New Yorkers and Americans as a whole have towards these greedy schmucks. Perhaps in the rarified air that Mike breathes it is no big deal that the rich make themselves richer at the taxpayers' expense, but down here on Earth it is a tremendous problem that the public wants rectified.