Obama Bashes AIG Bonuses

March 16, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The giant insurance firm A.I.G. might be wishing it had some embarrassment insurance. President Obama and several members of congress attacked the company for wanting to hand out millions in bonuses.

President Obama expressed outrage after American international group revealed that the company is shelling out $165 million dollars in executive bonuses. "In the last six months, AIG has received substantial sums from the U.S. Treasury. I've asked Secretary Geithner to use that leverage and pursue every legal avenue to block these bonuses and make the American taxpayers whole."

Lawmakers from both parties are just as angry at AIG' s actions.

"I really do think the American people are being played for fools by AIG," said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D) Maryland.

"A lot of these people should be fired, not awarded a bonus," said Sen. Richard Shelby (R) Alabama.

AIG is the same company that has received $170 billion dollars in four separate taxpayer-funded bailouts just to stay afloat. While many in Washington are seething at these bonuses, the administration is focused on boosting confidence.

"We won't be back to full employment. But we will see, I hope, the end of these declines that have been so, so strong in a last couple of quarters," said Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. Speaking on CBS's 60 minutes, the chairman of the Federal Reserve said the recession could end this year if the banking system is stabilized.

But only time will tell if this could be the reassurance investors need to build on last week's four-day rally on Wall Street.

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