Would You Keep Your AIG Bonus?

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If I got a bonus from AIG, and I was not a super-rich executive or someone else who was to blame for this mess, and Obama or my CEO came to me and said "please give your bonus back," I'd tell them to get bent. Honestly, what kind of person would give back their hard-earned money? And don't tell me an "altruistic" one, because that person could always take the money and give it to charity, where it would do far more good than if you gave it to AIG or the government.

If I were an executive who could afford to give it back and needed to put a good face on this for the company, or if I felt guilty about my role in the crisis, then maybe I'd give it back. But presumably most of the several thousand people who got bonuses don't fall into those categories, and have no intention of doing so.

So, would you give the money back? Even if Obama called you personally and promised to be your BFF if you did?

(Please let's not have general rants here, and just stick to the topic: would you give back the bonus?) slashdot.org


Well, it's hard to say, so before I degenerate into a tangential comment, I will try to respond as best I can. I have never been very interested in getting a job where I'm compensated way beyond what I need to live in reasonable comfort, and have instead tried to have a job that didn't make me miserable, with a company that I believed in.

If I had that kind of job, except I also got a million dollar bonus atop my hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, and it would help the company to give back a bonus that was really not money I'd budgeted to have... sure, I'd give it back. (I have no idea what the general individual salary or bonus in the AIG deals was.)

I'd much prefer to be told, "We'd like you to defer that bonus until after we've paid back the government," or something along those lines.

Of course, those both assume that I'm being asked to please give back they money for the company's sake. If the government came to me and said "you have to give it back," either by actually demanding it returned or by taxing it to nothing... well, I guess I wouldn't *actually* get into a shooting war, but I think I'd get it all in cash and hand over each bill only after giving it a good thorough licking.

What bugs me the most is the notion that people keep calling these either bonuses or retention payments. Look, what were they? Were they paid to thank people for not leaving? Were they intended to keep people *from* leaving? If the former, and if the company was obliged to pay them, then those are actual debt! The company needs to pay it and that's that. No takebacks. If they were intended to be paid to entice people to stay, the same thing goes, but it makes me wonder: why weren't they conditional on actually staying? There are reports people got retention payments and then quit. What?

The public would probably be less annoyed if the media would find out and then explain exactly what the deal with the payments was.

Also, if they were reminded that the bonuses are 1 of the total payment.

I've got it!

AIG should have to have a blog explaining how they spend all the money.

Current mood: prodigal

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