The AIG Firestorm Spreads

Wow, there’s a real firestorm spreading among the public following last night’s news about AIG paying hundreds of millions in bonuses to members of its Financial Products team (the group that got them into difficulty).

Watching Twitter this morning was pretty amazing – a steady, real-time stream of complaints and anger at the sheer tone deafness of this action.

Listening to KGO this morning, host Brian Copeland was re-telling the story of how his grandmother got taken to the cleaners by American General, an insurance subsidiary of AIG. Reactions from his listeners were predictably angry.

Meanwhile, the New York Times picked up the theme from a week or two ago – asking again why we still don’t know who the counterparties have been that received billions of the bail-out money the government has provided to AIG. The editorial was blunt:

The secrecy is unacceptable. Taxpayers have a right to know how their tax dollars are being spent.

Gretchen Morgenson writes in her article titled “At A.I.G., Good Luck Following the Money” in the Times today that “the counterparties have received 30 percent of the $170 billion allocated to A.I.G.”

It’s time to let the sun shine in on this mess.

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