Everything you need to know about AIG, bailouts, and bonuses

FoxBusiness is currently featuring this graphic, courtesy of OpenSecrets.org:


There’s more on the AIG-Dodd story over at PoliGazette, where blogger Michael Merritt notes that the actual amount of money received by Dodd from lobbyists, PACs, executives, employees, or families of people affiliated with AIG (corporations themselves rarely make official campaign donations) could be as much as $148,000 or more.

As of this writing, the OpenSecrets website was down. Perhaps lots of us little folks — the ones who supposedly “really don’t care” about what Congress does — really do care after all. (OpenSecrets is up and running again. Here’s a direct link to their info for AIG).

And in related news, Sen. Chris Dodd now claims that he did not insert the 11th hour Stimulus bill provision guaranteeing the payout of executive contractual bonuses negotiated on or before February 11, 2009, and has no idea how that language got into the bill. Gosh, if Congress or the President had only read the thing first …

It’s hard for me to decide which element of the AIG story is the most infuriating — the bailout itself, the phony grandstanding by “outraged” Democrats and the Obama Administration, or the audacity of Congress to propose special excise tax rates of 95% to 100% in order to “recover” the bonus money.

Which leads me to wonder, once our Democrat overlords in Congress are through with AIG — especially if they succeed in creating a special 100% excise tax rate — who or what will they target next, since it will then be legal for Democrats to threaten their enemies with a 100% tax rate. After all, the power to tax is also the power to destroy.

MORE: From Megan McArdle:

I think it’s safe to assume that if this passes, any banks that possibly can will rush to return bailout funds to the Treasury. And perhaps this is a good thing. But the attempt to shield shaky banks behind a general distribution of funds will be over.

I suspect that it would also not do any good things for whatever future plans Treasury has. All of the plans I’m currently aware of involve substantial voluntary participation from sound financial institutions. I don’t think you’ll get much voluntary cooperation from banks if you declare that any acceptance of government funds will involve substantial risk that they will appropriate your paycheck.

And bonuses may not be AIG’s real problem:

AIG disclosed on Sunday night that it has given over $100 billion (with a B folks) — more than half of the $173 billion in federal dollars — to other financial institutions and state municipalities.

The Wall Street Journal this morning characterized this as money-laundering by the U.S. government to surreptitiously give aid to foreign-based financial institutions, such as Societe General, the France-based European financial services company, which has received $11.9 billion from AIG since last September.

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