Let's Not Forget AIG Has $182 Billion of Your Money: Robert Benmosche, new CEO of AIG -- which continues to hold $182 billion of the taxpayers' money, and seems in no hurry to return any -- will be paid about $7 million per year. That means typical people, who earn a median $50,000 a year, are being taxed so yet another plutocrat can own an estate. Benmosche also is "eligible" for a $3 million annual bonus, meaning even after all the flap about AIG bonuses, average people are still being taxed for AIG bonuses. And he received 200,000 AIG stock options with a strike price of $20. Right now, AIG shares are selling for $40, meaning the options have a current value of about $4 million. Thus Benmosche could take home $14 million for his first year of running AIG. This money comes from pockets of taxpayers struggling to pay their rent. It doesn't surprise me that a plutocrat would be shameless about reaching into the pockets of the working class. It does surprise me that Barack Obama would OK this, and that the mainstream media would give up on AIG outrage. Have we simply accepted at this point that it's OK for Wall Street leadership to steal from taxpayers?
Meanwhile, previous AIG CEO Edward Liddy repeatedly said he was working "for $1 a year." He asserted this on "60 Minutes" and in sworn congressional testimony, and was broadly praised for his dollar-a-year service. Now it turns out he was lying. AIG quietly said Liddy received $38,368 for a New York apartment, $47,578 for personal airline flights, $31,348 for car services and $180,431 "to cover tax obligations." In what sense are these not income? You work at a job in order to be able to pay for your housing and transportation. You must earn income to pay your taxes; nobody pays them for you. If AIG was paying for Liddy's housing, personal travel and taxes, then he wasn't earning $1 a year. Yet he lied through his teeth about this and got away with it. That's the core lesson of corporate scandals -- the CEOs tell lies, pocket cash and never pay any penalty. What does this encourage? More CEO lying. Liddy also received stock options. AIG has never said how many; suppose it was 200,000, the number just granted Benmosche. When Liddy went to AIG, its share price was hovering around $5; if that's the strike price, 200,000 shares would be worth about $7 million right now. Plus AIG quietly said Liddy may receive a bonus payable in 2010. The man who was widely praised for claiming to work for $1 may end up with a king's ransom in his pockets, all pilfered from the average taxpayers. Why have the media dropped this story?