What gives? Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America and AIG all took hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars and all paid out $18.4 billion in bonuses to their executives for 2008. How could this be? You ask.
Simple. The crooks on Wall Street bribe the crooks in
Bank of America, who is acquiring Merrill Lynch with our money, has received $45 billion in direct funds plus hundreds of billions of dollars in loan guarantees and has paid billions in executive bonuses and dividends. Citigroup, basically insolvent for 30 years, has received hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars and continues on its merry way spending our money without a care. Taxpayers and consumers would be far better off if Citigroup would enter bankruptcy, sell off its good assets and cease to exist. This “banking supermarket” model was designed to enrich Sandy Weil and his buddies, did not serve their clients and cost us the taxpayers untold billions.
And who could forget AIG, the mega insurer that helped create many of the derivatives that have plundered our nation and indeed the world into a severe recession and caused billions of dollars in losses for investors. AIG announced on Monday that it had paid $450 million dollars of “performance” bonuses to its executives, the very executives that ran the company into the ground. What kind of performance does it take at AIG to not get a bonus? Clearly running the company into insolvency is not a bridge too far.
I don’t know about you but my stomach hurts hearing all of this. So what do we do? We as consumers need to stop doing business with these institutions and allow them to go bankrupt. Bankruptcy would be better for the system, cheaper for the taxpayer and would free up credit lines now frozen because these banks are in the middle of the lending cycle. Secondly, we must demand that our “representatives” in congress get our money that has been paid to these companies returned to us. At the very least, these outrageous “performance” bonuses, must be returned to the taxpayer immediately through some sort of claw back provision. This claw back provision should include the past two years of bonuses, after all, these banks didn’t just start to loose money.
Crooks will be crooks, either in Congress or on Wall Street. We the people who are being asked to “bailout” these criminal organizations need to stand up to the congress, special interests, lobbyists and Wall Street to put an end to these incredible abuses. If we do not stand up for ourselves, then we only have ourselves to blame.