Begging For Pitchforks

by digby

Masters of the universe must be coddled or they'll hold their breath until they turn blue:

Despite being bailed out with more than $170 billion from the Treasury and Federal Reserve, the American International Group is preparing to pay about $100 million in bonuses to executives in the same business unit that brought the company to the brink of collapse last year.

An official in the Obama administration official said Saturday that Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner had called A.I.G.’s government-appointed chairman, Edward M. Liddy, on Wednesday and asked that the company renegotiate the bonuses.

Administration officials said they had managed to reduce some of the bonuses but had allowed most of them to go forward after the company’s chief executive said A.I.G. was contractually obligated to pay them.

In a letter to Mr. Geithner, Mr. Liddy wrote: “Needless to say, in the current circumstances, I do not like these arrangements and find it distasteful and difficult to recommend to you that we must proceed with them.”

Mr. Liddy did agree to Treasury’s request to scale back corporate bonuses for senior partners. But he said he had “grave concern about the long-term consequences of the actions we are taking today.

“On the one hand, all of us at A.I.G. recognize the environment in which we operate and the remonstrations of our President for a more restrained system of compensation for executives. On the other hand, we cannot attract and retain the best and brightest talent to lead and staff the AIG businesses — which are now being operated principally on behalf of the American taxpayers — if employees believe that their compensation is subject to continued and arbitrary adjustment by the U.S. Treasury."

I'm sure none of you have ever had your compensation be subject to continued and arbitrary adjustment by your employers, have you?

Perhaps these incredibly valuable workers should form a union.