Hey, white guys: No, you’re not the victim of a “lynch mob”
Robert Benmosche, the CEO of insurance giant and thriving example of everything wrong with finance capitalism AIG, sat down for a friendly interview with the Wall Street Journal and said something very stupid and terrible. AIG has long been in the business of doing stupid and terrible things, and not long ago some of those things led to the government throwing a lot of money at AIG to prevent that company from totally destroying the entire global economy. After the money gift from the government, AIG rewarded itself for its horribleness by giving a bunch of executives massive bonuses.
Bonuses are supposed to reward exceptional performance, so a lot of people were pretty confused about these bonuses and upset that the bonuses were effectively funded by the government. People got mad, some protested, some said very critical things, and some people petitioned Congress to take away the bonuses.
The uproar over bonuses “was intended to stir public anger, to get everybody out there with their pitch forks and their hangman nooses, and all that-sort of like what we did in the Deep South [decades ago]. And I think it was just as bad and just as wrong.