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AIG's Chief Executive: Too Much Time in the Boca Sun?

In return for taxpayers' massive bailout of insurance giant AIG, you would think we'd be enjoying a measure of contrition right now from the corporation's board of directors, as well as from the greedhead executives and traders who did their part throwing the nation into this never-ending economic crisis.

Instead, for a $10.5 million pay package, we convinced Robert Benmosche to leave his $1.2 million condo on Ocean Boulevard in Boca Raton. That was in August, and this past month, the former CEO of MetLife has been fuming with federal regulators who have the audacity to place caps on the salaries of the company's traders. Naturally, the board of directors and the traders are taking his view -- the traders are threatening to walk out when their contracts expire in March, according to this sprawling article in New York Magazine.

This fall, it's been a tug-of-war between Benmosche and Kenneth Feinberg, who's been assigned the difficult task of reining in executive compensation for companies whose failures made them winners in the TARP lottery.

See if you can read this passage with a snickering (or screaming in outrage):

[T]he board members told Feinberg that his salary caps would tip AIG into crisis. The talent would walk out the door.
What talent? Do you ingrates think it's still 2007? The "talent" has failed. The "talent" owes taxpayers $90 billion. Christ only knows whether the government can do a better job managing AIG; it sure as hell can't do worse.

Let's listen to another whiner:
[Harvey] Golub, the [AIG] chairman, was particularly angry at Feinberg's decision to limit corporate perks--country-club memberships, private jets, sales retreats--to $25,000.

You poor bastards! No martini-soaked golfing excursions. No private jets. No trips to posh hotels to party on the company dime. Gosh, the only people who'd be willing to work under such spartan conditions are, well... they're the 10 percent of the American population who don't have jobs, thanks to your "talent."

Seems our Boca ex-retiree is pissed because he took the job based on a guarantee from the board that he'd be allowed to run the company without undue interference from the federal government. For $10.5 million you'd think Benmosche would be smart enough to realize the board had no business making such promises.

Considering Feinberg's job is next to impossible, he seems to be doing a decent-enough job. Now AIG is complaining about how difficult it is to find executives to replace those who left. Let 'em go. Out with the old talent. In the new -- if that means giving the janitor the job, so be it.

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Thomas Francis

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