AIG and bailout backlash

What anger over AIG bonuses will cost the giant insurer, and President Obama

American International Group finally bowed to rising pressure, said E. Scott Reckard and Tom Petruno in the Los Angeles Times, and named the banks and other firms “that benefited from the first chunk of $180 billion in bailout funds it received.” But the disclosure will only get AIG so far, as it won’t quell the rising disgust over the giant insurer’s decision to pay $165 million in bonuses to key employees.

AIG won’t face the public’s anger alone, said Adam Nagourney in The New York Times. The Obama administration is increasingly concerned that a "populist backlash against banks and Wall Street" could some day be directed at the White House, too, endangering Obama's agenda. The administration is venting outrage at AIG in a growing effort to "distance itself from abuses that could feed potentially disruptive public anger."

You can bet there are senators itching to "spend days in front of cameras," said Douglas A. McIntyre in Time, "questioning how some of the taxpayer's money went into the hands of people who may or may not have deserved it." How foolish. "Whether AIG employees got large bonuses, especially since they probably had contracts to guarantee the compensation, is irrelevant in the overall effort to turn the course of the recession."

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