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Half? That's Not Going to Cut It AIG

AIG's Chief Executive has a plan that seems unlikely to work.
 
 
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This seems unlikely to work.

As the lucrative bonuses paid to employees of the American International Group fueled fresh outrage at the White House and on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, the embattled chief executive of A.I.G. said that he had asked some recipients to give at least half the money back.

The chief executive, Edward M. Liddy, made the announcement during his testimony on Wednesday afternoon before a Congressional committee investigating the problems at the insurance giant.

"I have asked the employees of AIG Financial Products to step up and do the right thing," Mr. Liddy told lawmakers. "Specifically, I have asked those who received retention payments of $100,000 or more to return at least half of those payments."

The A.I.G. chief said that some recipients had already offered to give up all of their bonuses.

Of the 418 employees who received bonuses, 298 received more than $100,000, according to the New York attorney general, Andrew M. Cuomo. The highest bonus was $6.4 million, and 6 other employees received more than $4 million. Fifteen other people received bonuses of more than $2 million and 51 received $1 million to $2 million.

For one thing, Liddy's asking 418 298 people to voluntarily, just out of the goodness of their hearts, hand over hundreds of thousands of dollars -- in some cases, millions -- to which they believe they're entitled? It seems like an unlikely scenario.

For another, if comments from lawmakers at today's hearing are any indication, "half" isn't going to cut it.

Steve Benen is "blogger in chief" of the popular Washington Monthly online blog, Political Animal . His background includes publishing The Carpetbagger Report, and writing for a variety of publications, including Talking Points Memo, The American Prospect, the Huffington Post, and The Guardian. He has also appeared on NPR's "Talk of the Nation," MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show," Air America Radio's "Sam Seder Show," and XM Radio's "POTUS '08."

 
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