From the desk of author Michael Solomon

Michael Solomon was a 15-year veteran of the New York City Police Department and served  in its drug enforcement division, receiving well over a dozen awards for his excellent service
Date: March 19, 2009   Vol. 4 2- Issue 4

And The Winner Is . . .


When they give out the Tony Awards this year the nominees for best actor award should be: Christopher Dodd, Barney Frank, Chuck Schumer and Tim Geithner.

Neil Simon could not have written it any better. What a comedy. Only it didn't take place on Broadway, it took place in Congress. As I watched the actors trying to place blame on everyone in the show except the script writer, I was appalled, outraged and found myself screaming at the TV.

It appears that the outrage against AIG's payment of $165 million in bonuses to its employees, has reached the floor of Congress.. [The new Broadway playhouse] In an attempt to shift the blame to Edward Liddy, the new CEO of AIG, the Financial Services committee berated him with accusations of misappropriations of TARP funds and making a mockery of the entire bailout process. The payments were made under contractual agreements that were in place since 2007. Liddy was put in place as CEO by Congress six-months ago. His prior experience was in the auto insurance industry. He has no experience in the type of business AIG conducts.

While negotiating the Stimulus Bill, during a late night closed talk session, a congressional committee stripped a measure from the stimulus bill that would have eliminated the bonuses AIG paid to their employees. The $165 million in bonuses paid by AIG are now being shunned by Congress as a complete outrage on behalf of their constituents. So what did Liddy do? Like any actor on Broadway he stuck to the script, which said, write the checks.

Just as actors improvise, Congress did the same. Remember, they openly admitted that they did not read the stimulus bill. Just like walking out on stage without reading a script, Congress is trying to improvise by blaming the other members of the cast, but not the script writer.

Chris Dodd allowed AIG to rake in billions of dollars in his home state, allowed the bonuses now so famous, and he is saying he'll work his tail off for the Citizens of America to recoup every dollar."

Why don't you start by returning the over $216,000 you received in campaign contributions from AIG, Mr. Dodd. Then force your colleagues to return their share of AIG money paid into their campaign accounts. Charles Schumer received over $38,000 and stated, "we will see to it that they give back every single dollar." John McCain received $86,000 and President Obama received over $100,000.

Congress continues to trash AIG, a company they claim they now own. Why would you trash yourself? If you want to be successful the very last thing you want to do is put yourself down. You will never succeed. What confidence will people have in your organization if you keep lambasting yourself?

Here is the loophole, from the section of the stimulus package that deals with compensation rules for TARP recipients:

"The prohibition required under clause (i) shall not be construed to prohibit any bonus payment required to be paid pursuant to a written employment contract executed on or before February 11, 2009, as such valid employment contracts are determined by the Secretary or the designee of the Secretary."

It is hard to imagine how the government can prevent these contractual obligations from going forward. The outrage that Congress has put forth is an outrage in itself.

How about Congress and Geithner telling the American people we screwed up, $165 million is billions less than the pork and earmarks Congress rammed down our throats.

If Geithner, performed on stage the way he is performing in his role as Treasury Secretary, it wouldn't be long before his understudy stepped in. It is time to change the cast.

The envelope please! You decide.

And, that is my opinion.

Michael Solomon

Author of "Where Did My America Go?"


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