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BlueAngel
11-17-2008, 11:42 PM
Don't you just love these CONGRESSIONAL hearings?

What a show!

As if Congress is going to hold anyone's feet to the fire for ACTIONS THAT HAVE ALREADY BEEN TAKEN by the CONTROLLERS and were approved by them.

A little late, don't cha think?

Don't waste the money we pay you to conduct this facade.

Do something good for people of this country for a change.

These hearings are meaningless.

They are a poor attempt to appease the American people.

Look, look.

Look at us.

We're working for you.

Not in reality.

You work for them.

You give them everything they want and the American people nothing!

You should all be as disgusted with yourselves as we are with you.

You allow them to print money out of thin air to finance anything they desire and the presses are halted when it comes to the welfare of the people of this country.

Oh, yeah.

That'll make it better.

Grill the top sales man for the bailout now that it's already a done deal.

Like it matters.

They printed money out of thin air to bail-out the banks, or so they say.

Top salesmen for financial bailout face grilling: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance (http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/081118/financial_meltdown.html)

BlueAngel
11-18-2008, 08:22 AM
The automakers are begging for a bailout now.

Let's see.

They'll get their bail-out and then what?

Congressional hearings?

Oh, how entertaining.

Big Three automakers beg for $25 billion lifeline - Yahoo! News (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/congress_autos)

BlueAngel
11-18-2008, 11:02 PM
Maybe the American people should gather together and plead/beg Congress to bail us out of the mess our government has created for us.

Times is tough not just for CORPORATE conglomerates.

How 'bout they pay the debts we've had to accrue due to job loss, stock market theft, etc.

It appears to me that's all it takes.

You know.

Get down on your hands and knees and beg them for a hand-out.

The encomy is bankrupting the average Joe, but the hell with us.

I hope Obama sends us another $300.00, YAY, so we can stimulate the econmy.

Obviously, all you have to do is use poor business practices and CONGRESS will do whatever it is the FED wants them to do.

Like print about 25 million dollars out of thin air for the auto makers.

Excuse me, but are the American people going to have to pay for, yet again, another FED sponsored bail-out?

Didn't we just make the oil companies Zillionaires while we were forced to pay over $4.00 a gallon for gas?

On another note.

The DUDE from Vanity Fair, name escapes me at present said that Obama shouldn't FOCUS on bin Laden because we have other enemies who are more pressing such as Russia and Iran.

Huh?

Since when did Russia become our enemy and pose a threat?

Anyway, so there you have it.

Bin laden, the mastermind behind 911 should be forgotten about because for all intents and purposes he is dead and buried.

BlueAngel
11-19-2008, 01:19 PM
The banks made bad loans.

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae bought the loans because they new the FED would bail them out.

Who made money?

Who lost money?

We know the answer.

In the process, the FED has taken over some private banks and given themselves yet more power.

Orchestration.

BlueAngel
11-23-2008, 10:34 PM
Citigroup is next.

Government unveils plan to rescue Citigroup - Yahoo! News (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081124/ap_on_bi_ge/citigroup)

Where does the line form?

Oh, I forgot.

It's not a private citizen bail-out.

Banks and auto-makers only.

BlueAngel
12-17-2008, 09:45 PM
If you needed bail-out funds to keep afloat, how then can you use them for employee bonuses?

Obviously, your bank wasn't insolvent.

Were these bail-out funds merely pay-offs to the banking industry for the role they played in collapsing the real estate market and putting people out of their homes and jobs and helping to further the economic down turn?

In other words, was it a manufactured illusion that these banks were going to go under without an infusion from the FED and a further illusion that they were suffering losses from their bad lending practices so a bail-out (bonuses) could be approved?

Someone made money somehwere from these bad loans and it certainly wasn't the homeowners.

Yahoo! (http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/player/popup/?rn=3906861&cl=11145669&ch=4226720&src=news)

BlueAngel
02-05-2009, 08:15 PM
Why was the bailout money handed over to thieves without oversight?

Some of the same executives who paid themselves bonuses from the taxpayer's bailout money are some of the same executives who are responsible for causing thousands upon thousands of people in this country to foreclose on their homes; helping to worsen the economic collapse and aiding the Banksters in receiving large doses of interest payments on these bad loans and loose credit that has been available to everyone and anyone since the Clinton administration.

They have stolen people's homes and dignity.

Due to this thievery, Obama has suggested placing a salary cap of $500,000.00 on all executives of financial institutions.

Is that legal or is that communism?

Or just plain ridiculous?

That's the penalty for theft?

You can't make more than $500,000.00 a year, all paid for by the taxpayers and, by the way, keep the bonus money you stole from the taxpayers, too, because they are absolutely and positively very pleased with your performance as CEO's of these PRIVATELY owned and operated financial institutions, which are not a part of the government, but yet the taxpayer's are forced to bail them out.

If my corporation goes belly up, will the FED bail me out?

And, always remember the mantra, people, you will be in debt to the government for the rest of your life; your children; your grandchildren, etc.

The fact of the matter is that we will be paying taxes for the rest of our lives.

That's the way it works.

Is this a dog and pony show?

CEO's who helped with the economic collapse are now being scolded by CONGRESS!

The taxpayer's in this country who lost their homes and dignity due to deliberate and fraudulent lending practices are now forced, once again, like the rest of us to pay the exhorbanent salaries and support the wealthy lifestyles of the CEO's who aided and abetted in forcing people out of their homes and worsening the economic collapse.

Last time I checked theft was a crime and so, too, was fraudulent lending practices.

Obviously, someone knows who stole the taxpayer's money because it's been reported that some executives were PAID BONUSES.

BONUSES!

Were they paid bonuses or did they steal?

I'm confused.

Someone please clarify.

They gave themselves bonuses?

Are you kidding me?

What gall!

Bonuses taken from taxpayer bailout money; some of whom lost their homes due to these executives approving BAD and fraudulent loans.

Maybe the bonuses were a government pay-off for a job well done in helping to worsen the economic crisis.

IMO, in the near future, many of these CEO's and their Board of Directors need to be replaced.

BlueAngel
02-10-2009, 06:27 PM
Utterly ridiculous.

The new bailout would require any executive who received a bonus of over $100,000.00 from the last bailout to repay the excess amount within four months or receive a 35 percent penalty.

Are you kidding me?

When were the taxpayers advised that the bailout money under Bush would include bonuses to executives of the very same financial institutions who caused their own demise and aided and abetted in the economic crisis due to fraudulent lending practices?

Sounds like theft to me of taxpayer money and a reward to to those who practiced fraudulent lending practices and aided and abetted the current economic crisis.

I don't work so my tax dollars can supply executives of financial institutions with bonus dollars.

Our tax dollars are meant to support the country and not the lifestyles of the rich.

The taxpayers not only have to bailout the financial institutions and the executives who caused their bankruptcy and forced thousands upon thousands of people out of their homes, due to fraudulent lending practices, but we're also required to reward them with a BONUS of $100,000.00 for their incompetence!?!

Since when is it the taxpayer's responsibility to compensate executives with a bonus?

The new bailout plan has a provision included, as well, for Executive Compensation.

The taxpayers only have to pay each executive a $500,000.00 salary.

These people don't deserve a BONUS.

A BONUS for what?

For aiding and abetting in the economic collapse.

Anyone care to inform me as to the legality of taxpayers being forced to compensate executives with bonus money?

Obama is being CONTROLLED by the Banksters.

Oh, what a shock!

Stimulus bill seeks to recover Wall Street bonuses (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090210/ap_on_go_co/stimulus_bonuses)

Stimulus bill seeks to recover Wall Street bonuses

Print By MATTHEW DALY, Associated Press Writer – 2 hrs 1 min ago

February 10, 2008

WASHINGTON – Financial institutions that received federal bailout money and paid large executive bonuses would be required to compensate taxpayers under the economic stimulus bill approved by the Senate.

The $838 billion measure includes an amendment penalizing companies that paid bonuses greater than $100,000 to executives after receiving government rescue funds last year. The amendment would require the companies to repay within four months any portion of the bonus above $100,000 or face an excise tax of 35 percent on the portion of the bonus above $100,000.

The Senate approved the stimulus bill 61-37 on Tuesday, setting up negotiations with the House, which passed a slightly different version last week.

"It should have gone without saying that the bailout money was never intended for employee bonuses, but once again financial institutions have taken advantage of lax regulation and the public trust," said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who co-sponsored the amendment with Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine.

"The American people are demanding that these firms get serious about getting our economy back on track,' Wyden said. "Congress has to show that it is willing to step in until they get the message."

Snowe, one of just three Republicans to back the stimulus bill, said the financial bailout Congress approved last fall "left open an escape hatch of golden parachutes for top executives on Wall Street, the same individuals whose careless mistakes hurt the financial system and forced taxpayers to foot the bill in the first place."

She said that by requiring the companies to return bailout funds used to pay big bonuses, the government could "claw back" bonuses already paid to senior executives at firms that received money in the final quarter of 2008 from the Treasury Department's Troubled Asset Relief Program, known as TARP.

Snowe and Wyden said their amendment would work in conjunction with the Treasury Department's new guidelines on executive pay for financial institutions receiving TARP funds, by applying strict standards to bonuses paid in 2008. The new guidelines, announced Tuesday, apply to the unspent $350 billion installment of the $700 billion bailout fund.

The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that the Wyden-Snowe amendment would raise as much as $3.2 billion. Financial institutions received more than $274 billion through the bailout program while paying out an estimated $18.4 billion in employee bonuses last year, the committee said.

BlueAngel
02-10-2009, 06:55 PM
Since the American taxpayer's are funding the bailout, not once, but twice, we are entitled to know the names of the Executives who received a bonus on the first round; how much they received; and the names of the executives who are going to receive a bonus on the second round; their positions within the financial institiutions where they are employed by the Banksters and their annual salaries.

Thanking you in advance,

A Taxpayer....

BlueAngel
02-11-2009, 01:39 PM
The thieves (financial executives) who forced the taxpayer's to bail them out of the financial mess they created within the banking industry and paid themselves bonuses from the first bailout money, are now pledging to the public that there will be greater accountability when they receive the next windfall.

The banking institutions that the taxpayers are being forced to bailout are privately owned and operated by the Federal Reserve which is not a government entity.

Oh, yes.

You should always trust a thief with your money and rest assured that he will account for every penny of it honestly.

Bankers vow to work for financial system reform (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090211/ap_on_go_co/bailout_banks)

BlueAngel
02-23-2009, 06:00 PM
I was just reading an article about the ongoing debate regarding nationalizing the banks.

The article mentions GOVERNMENT ownership of these banks; however, the FEDERAL RESERVE is not a part of the government, but a private entity and I assume it is the FEDERAL RESERVE and not the government who is looking to swallow up the remaining banks in our country that are PRIVATE and not owned by them.

One must understand that our President is beholden to the Federal Reserve (Banksters) and that the Federal Reserve is not a government entity, but is privately owned and operated and that they call the shots.

Our President, our CONGRESS are merely conduits for the BANKSTER'S.

Do you think the banking crisis was orchestrated for this reason?

You know.

Cause and effect!

Feds explore taking bigger stakes in shaky banks - Yahoo! News (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090223/ap_on_bi_ge/bank_rescue)

BlueAngel
03-05-2009, 08:28 AM
First of all, I could care less that there are seven Merrill Lynch executives who are going to be questioned about the BONUSES they paid to themselves from the bail-out money.

Way to go, New York Attorney General.

WE know they're thieves.

The evidence proves that they are guilty.

It's public knowledge.

Children are sent away to WILDNERNESS CAMPS for stealing a jar of peanut butter, but these thieves will be questioned.

I think the judges who sentenced the over 2,500 children in Pennsylvania alone for PETTY crimes, such as stealing lose change from cars and the executives of financial institutions who paid themselves bonuses from the BAILOUT money should serve time in WILDERNESS CAMPS.

NY AG to question 7 Merrill execs about bonuses (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090305/ap_on_bi_ge/merrill_bonuses)

NY AG to question 7 Merrill execs about bonuses

Print BY STEPHEN BERNARD and IEVA M. AUGSTUMS,
AP Business Writers Stephen Bernard And Ieva M. Augstums,
Ap Business Writers – Thu Mar 5, 7:01 am ET

NEW YORK – The New York attorney general's office on Wednesday subpoenaed seven former Merrill Lynch & Co. executives as part of its ongoing investigation into the timing of year-end payments made to executives at the investment bank.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo subpoenaed Andrea Orcel, David Sobotka, Peter Kraus, Thomas Montag, David Gu, David Goodman and Fares Noujaim. The seven were identified in a Wall Street Journal report Wednesday as executives who received some of the largest bonuses at Merrill just days before it was taken over by Bank of America Corp. and weeks ahead of announcing the company lost more than $15 billion in the fourth quarter.

Merrill paid out $3.6 billion in bonuses to top executives in December, with 14 employees receiving bonuses of $10 million or more. Cuomo's office has been investigating the timing of those bonuses to determine if proper disclosure of the size and timing of the bonuses was made to Merrill and Bank of America shareholders.

The attorney general's office is expected to question the former executives — some of whom took positions at Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America after the deal was completed — about their work; their individual bonuses; communications they had with former Merrill CEO John Thain about the bonuses; the size of the bonus pool; and the timing of the payments, a person familiar with the investigation said. The person asked to remain anonymous because of the ongoing nature of the investigation.

Cuomo's office has been stonewalled in recent weeks in its attempts to get details about individual bonuses. Last week, Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis testified about what he knew about the bonuses, but did not provide specifics on individual bonuses.

Lewis' testimony came just days after Thain completed a second deposition with the attorney general's office. Thain initially refused to provide information about individual bonuses, saying Bank of America had instructed him not to disclose the information. Cuomo's office then forced Thain, through a court order, to return for a second round of testimony and provide additional details. It is unclear if Thain provided such details during that round of questioning.

Additionally, information requested from Bank of America in a separate investigation by the North Carolina's Attorney General's office about the bonuses was received by a Wednesday deadline.

North Carolina's Attorney General Roy Cooper made a request for documents from Bank of America about the bonuses. The state's Department of Justice last month issued an "investigative demand" seeking records, including a list of Merrill employees who received bonuses. Bank of America was required to respond by Wednesday, according to the 11-page demand.

Attorney general spokeswoman Noelle Talley said Bank of America has been responsive to the request and "is cooperating with the Attorney General's investigation."

"Attorneys in our office are reviewing the information provided as part of our ongoing investigation," she said.

Bank of America spokesman Scott Silvestri said the company is cooperating with the N.C. attorney general's office and will continue to provide information "as requested to that office."

Bank of America has repeatedly said Merrill Lynch was an independent company last year, and its board of directors had ultimate approval over how much to pay employees.

But the bonuses apparently were a point of contention for Bank of America. The initial reports of the bonuses came just days after Bank of America received an additional $20 billion from the government that it said it needed to help offset the losses it was absorbing from the Merrill acquisition. The additional support was provided to Bank of America as Lewis showed trepidation about completing the deal to acquire Merrill.

Thain resigned from his position as head of global wealth management at the combined company in January just as news of the bonuses first broke.

The government helped orchestrate the acquisition of Merrill by Bank of America over the same weekend in September that another investment bank, Lehman Brothers, went under, setting off the most intense period of the financial crisis.

_____

AP Business Writer Ieva M. Augstums in Charlotte, N.C. contributed to this report.

BlueAngel
03-05-2009, 08:37 PM
The FDIC says they'll be BROKE in six months.

Boy.

That ought to make the American people feel real good, eh?

Calling OBAMA!

Since YOU and the FED had no problem printing up money to bail-out their bankrupt BANKS, I suggest you and the FED fire up the printing presses, like now, to insure that the American people, the depositors, in the corrupt banks that you and the FED just gave millions to; who made a fortune for the BANKSTERS while dishing out fradulent loans, and the BONUSES you paid to the executives of these institutions for their unethical business practices, aren't robbed of their life's savings when more financial institutions declare BANKRUPTCY.

Afterall, you have said, time and time again, that you work for the American people.

BlueAngel
03-05-2009, 10:34 PM
Obviously, the FDIC does not have a bank account that is equal to or exceeds the amount of deposits in every financial institution across our country.

But, they should, because every sign in every window in every financial institution across our country declares that our deposits are insured up to $250,000.00

They can print millions to bail-out the banks, but they can't print millions to bail-out the American people if more banks collapse and, obviously, more banks will collapse, because the FDIC is predicting they'll be broke in six months.

I assume they would prefer to ROB us blind.

Can we have an accounting please of just exactly how much money the FDIC has had to pay to depositors of failed banks and how much they had in their bank account to begin with?

Well, Obama.

You work for the American people.

You fired up the printing presses to bail-out the failed banks and the executives who helped to bring them to destruction, and paid them big bonuses in the process, so, I guess it's time for you to bail-out the FDIC and protect the American people and their assets.

After all, you've declared you work for us time and time again.

BlueAngel
03-15-2009, 08:16 PM
Excuse me, but why don't you just spit in our faces?

Insurer AIG to make $165 million in bonus payments (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090315/ap_on_bi_ge/aig_bonuses)

Is there a stipulation in the contract's of the executives of the various financial institutions and insurance companies that the taxpayer's of this country were forced to bail-out of bankruptcy, which states that if the company becomes insolvent and the taxpayer's are FORCED by the powers that be to bail them out, that bonuses shall still be paid?

If not, I would say that another FRAUD by the these companies has been perpetrated upon the American people and the President/Congress have allowed this fraudulent activity to take place.

So, as per usual, the President/Congress are not interested in protecting the interests of the American people, but more concerned with protecting wealthy elitists.

My.

What a shock!

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Insurance giant AIG to pay $165 million in bonuses

Print By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP
Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger, Ap Economics Writer – 1 hr 44 mins ago

WASHINGTON – American International Group is giving its executives tens of millions of dollars in new bonuses even though it received a taxpayer bailout of more than $170 billion dollars.

AIG is paying out the executive bonuses to meet a Sunday deadline, but the troubled insurance giant has agreed to administration requests to restrain future payments.

The Treasury Department determined that the government did not have the legal authority to block the current payments by the company. AIG declared earlier this month that it had suffered a loss of $61.7 billion for the fourth quarter of last year, the largest corporate loss in history.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has asked that the company scale back future bonus payments where legally possible, an administration official said Saturday.

This official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said that Geithner had called AIG Chairman Edward Liddy on Wednesday to demand that Liddy renegotiate AIG's current bonus structure.

Geithner termed the current bonus structure unacceptable in view of the billions of dollars of taxpayer support the company is receiving, this official said.

In a letter to Geithner dated Saturday, Liddy informed Treasury that outside lawyers had informed the company that AIG had contractual obligations to make the bonus payments and could face lawsuits if it did not do so.

Liddy said in his letter that "quite frankly, AIG's hands are tied" although he said that in light of the company's current situation he found it "distasteful and difficult" to recommend going forward with the payments.

Liddy said the company had entered into the bonus agreements in early 2008 before AIG got into severe financial straits and was forced to obtain a government bailout last fall.

The large bulk of the payments at issue cover AIG Financial Products, the unit of the company that sold credit default swaps, the risky contracts that caused massive losses for the insurer.

A white paper prepared by the company says that AIG is contractually obligated to pay a total of about $165 million of previously awarded "retention pay" to employees in this unit by Sunday, March 15. The document says that another $55 million in retention pay has already been distributed to about 400 AIG Financial Products employees.

The company says in the paper it will work to reduce the amounts paid for 2009 and believes it can trim those payments by at least 30 percent.

Bonus programs at financial companies have come under harsh scrutiny after the government began loaning them billions of dollars to keep the institutions afloat. AIG is the largest recipient of government support in the current financial crisis.

AIG also pledged to Geithner that it would also restructure $9.6 million in bonuses scheduled to go a group that covers the top 50 executives. Liddy and six other executives have agreed to forgo bonuses.

The group of top executives getting bonuses will receive half of the $9.6 million now, with the average payment around $112,000.

This group will get another 25 percent on July 14 and the final 25 percent on September 15. But these payments will be contingent on the AIG board determining that the company is meeting the goals the government has set for dealing with the company's financial troubles.

The Obama administration has vowed to put in place reforms in the $700 billion financial rescue program in an effort to deal with growing public anger over how the program was operated during the Bush administration.

That anger has focused in part on payouts of millions of dollars in bonuses by financial firms getting taxpayer support.

In his letter, Liddy told Geithner, "We believe there will be considerably greater flexibility to reduce contractual payments in respect of 2009 and AIG intends to use its best efforts to do so."

But he also told Geithner that he felt it could be harmful to the company if the government continued to press for reductions in executive compensation.

"We cannot attract and retain the best and brightest talent to lead and staff the AIG businesses, which are now being operated principally on behalf of the American taxpayers — if employees believe their compensation is subject to continued and arbitrary adjustment by the U.S. Treasury," Liddy said.

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Sorry, but since these companies had NO MONEY and were bankrupt until the taxpayers were forced to bail them out, than there is NO money available for bonuses.

The money for bonuses should NOT have been included in the funds, but, conveniently it was.

This is the desire of WE, the people, who bailed them out.

Just in case anyone gives a HOOT.

BlueAngel
03-16-2009, 08:48 PM
What's the point in Obama chastising AIG for paying bonuses to their executives using taxpayer money?

Obama berates AIG and vows to try to block bonuses (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090317/ap_on_go_pr_wh/obama_aig)

As is quite obvious, the FED is in control and not OBAMA.

It really isn't taxpayer money.

This is an illusion.

It's FED money.

The FED prints money out of thin air and funds whatever they desire and, in the process, tells the taxpayers that they're paying for it and that we will be in debt for the rest of our lives; our children; our grandchildren, etc.

PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS.

The FED causes the deficit which creates the illusion that funding for the critical elements within our local and state governments in order to provide for the health and welfare of its' citizens is unavailable.

They'd rather keep the wealth all in the family and we ain't family, folks.

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Text from link:

Obama berates AIG and vows to try to block bonuses

Print By TOM RAUM, Associated Press Writer
Tom Raum, Associated Press Writer – 44 mins ago

AP - Obama blisters AIG; joins public outrage

AP – President Barack Obama speaks about AIG bonus payments as he makes remarks to small business owners, … WASHINGTON – Joining a wave of public anger, President Barack Obama blistered insurance giant AIG for "recklessness and greed" Monday and pledged to try to block it from handing its executives $165 million in bonuses after taking billions in federal bailout money. "How do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?" Obama asked. "This isn't just a matter of dollars and cents. It's about our fundamental values."

Obama aggressively joined other officials in criticizing American International Group, the company that is fast becoming the poster boy for Americans' bailout blues.

The bonuses could contribute to a backlash against Washington that would make it tougher for Obama to ask Congress for more bailout help — and jeopardize other parts of the recovery agenda that is dominating the start of his presidency. Thus, the president and his top aides were working hard to distance themselves from the insurer's conduct, to contain possible political damage and to try to bolster public confidence in his administration's handling of the broader economic rescue effort.

Obama had scheduled a speech Monday to announce new help for recession-pounded small businesses. But first, he said, he had a few words to say about AIG. He lost his voice at one point and ad-libbed, "Excuse me, I'm choked up with anger here." It was just a light aside, but he meant the sternness of his remarks to come through.

"This is a corporation that finds itself in financial distress due to recklessness and greed," Obama declared.

He said he had directed Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to "pursue every legal avenue to block these bonuses and make the American taxpayer whole."

Later, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the administration would modify the terms of a pending $30 billion bailout installment for AIG to at least recoup the $165 million the bonuses represent. That wouldn't rescind the bonuses, just require AIG to account for them differently.

Gibbs said the tough talk from Obama and other administration officials was aimed in part at pressuring bonus recipients to turn them down. Anyone accepting the money should "think long and hard" about whether keeping it was appropriate "given the performance of the company," he said.

On a separate track, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said Monday he would issue subpoenas for information on the bonuses after AIG missed his deadline for providing details. Cuomo said his office would investigate whether the employees were involved in AIG's near-collapse and whether the $165 million in bonus payments were fraudulent under state law.

AIG spokeswoman Christina Pretto told The Associated Press, "We are in contact with the attorney general and will of course respond to his request."

One reason that the AIG bonus giveaway is such a compelling story — and a politically troubling one for Obama if not neutralized — is that it offers a simple story line that appears to sum up ways in which the federal bailouts have gone awry.

"This is just the kind of issue that galvanizes public outrage," said Paul C. Light, professor of public service at New York University. "It's always the tangible stuff, the things that ordinary Americans can relate to. They don't know the first thing about credit default swaps. But they do know about bonuses. And it's just the sort of thing that will undermine any future bailout activity."

Bailout steps for AIG totaling over $170 billion since September have effectively left the federal government with an 80 percent stake in the faltering insurance giant.

Obama's comments came on the same day a new poll showed slippage in his approval rating. The poll by the Pew Research Center showed it dropped from 64 percent in February to 59 percent this month amid divisions of opinions over his economic proposals and what the pollsters said was a growing perception that the president is listening more to his party's liberals than to its moderates.

Still, those surveyed generally gave the president favorable marks for doing as much as he can to try to fix the economy, and few blame him for making the economy worse.

Andrew Kohut, Pew's director, said in an interview that people are most angry with banks and companies but there's also "pushback against Washington generally. And, of course, the buck stops with Barack Obama these days."

Obama's sharp words continued an insistent administration drumbeat over the past few days designed to pressure the bonus recipients to forgo them. Thus far, American International Group officials have refused to rescind the payments.

In a letter to Geithner over the weekend, the government-appointed chief executive of AIG, Edward Liddy, said the bonuses were legally binding obligations and the firm's "hands are tied."

Still, pressure was building on that issue — and on the government to rework its AIG bailout to make sure the company repays as much of the $170 billion as possible.

So far, the company has been honoring its contracts with U.S. and foreign banks, paying out more than $90 billion in economic bailout funds to big banks and others. The government agreed to uphold those contracts when it seized control of AIG in September, contending that failure would bring even worse global economic problems.

However, Obama officials made the rounds of Sunday talk shows to denounce the insurer. And even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke weighed in, saying on CBS' "60 Minutes" that the AIG bailout angered him the most and that he "slammed the phone more than a few times on discussing AIG." Still, he said a collapse of AIG would have wreaked havoc on the global economy.

Obama was planning an appearance later in the week on Jay Leno's NBC talk show, perhaps to add a lighter touch to his efforts to show himself in command of efforts to resuscitate the economy.

The AIG bonuses were revealed over the weekend. It also was disclosed that AIG used $90 billion-plus in federal aid to pay foreign and domestic banks, some of which had received their own multibillion-dollar U.S. government bailouts.

The recipients included Goldman Sachs, at $12.9 billion, and three European banks — France's Societe Generale at $11.9 billion, Germany's Deutsche Bank at $11.8 billion, and Britain's Barclays PLC at $8.5 billion. Merrill Lynch, which also is undergoing federal scrutiny of its bonus plans and which is now part of Bank of America, had received $6.8 billion as of Dec. 31.

The money went to banks to cover their losses on complex mortgage investments, as well as for collateral needed for other transactions.

AIG reported this month that it had lost $61.7 billion for the fourth quarter of last year, the largest corporate loss in history.

Outcries against the company have also come from congressional leaders.

"I call upon the executives at AIG to right the wrong they have done to American taxpayers, who are footing the bill for the most expensive government rescue in history," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Monday.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell called the bonuses "appalling" and said he hoped "the administration gets the message from the taxpayers on this issue."

___

AP White House Correspondent Jennifer Loven and Business Writers Stevenson Jacobs, Ieva M. Augstums and Daniel Wagner contributed to this report.

BlueAngel
03-16-2009, 09:25 PM
AIG was paying out bonuses to meet a SUNDAY deadline.

So, did they meet it?

Was it Sunday, the 15th of March?

Obama is going to try to block the bonuses.

If the deadline was the the 15th of March for the pay-out of these bonuses, I would surmise that Obama missed his opportunity to block the pay out of these bonuses and, just in case, he wasn't notified by the Treasury Department, I've posted the following excerpt from an article on this thread.

"The Treasury Department determined that the government did not have the legal authority to block the current payments by the company."

BlueAngel
03-18-2009, 06:02 PM
Dodd facing fresh political firestorm (http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20090318/pl_politico/30833)

For inserting a loophole in the bailout for AIG to provide executives of the company with bonuses which he previously denied.

The legislation was passed unanimously by the US Senate.

Obama knew about it, as well.

So, why the public outcry?

Dog and pony show, no doubt.

TEXT:

Dodd facing fresh political firestorm

AP – Scorecard – 1 hr 46 mins ago

March 18, 2009

Dodd just admitted on CNN that he inserted a loophole in the stimulus legislation that allowed million-dollar bonuses to insurance giant AIG to go forward – after previously denying any involvement in writing the controversial provision. .

“We wrote the language in the bill, the deal with bonuses, golden parachutes, excessive executive compensation that was adopted unanimously by the United States Senate in the stimulus bill,” Dodd told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer this afternoon.

“But for that language, there would have been no language to deal with this at all.”

Dodd had previously said that he played no role in writing the controversial language, and was not a part of the conference committee that inserted the language in the bill. As late as today, Dodd’s spokeswoman denied the senator’s involvement.

The AIG bonuses have caused a political firestorm, with Republicans and Democrats alike looking to lay blame for who’s responsible, and leading lawmakers looking to revoke the bonuses.

Dodd’s role in the legislation will likely come up as he faces the likelihood of a tough re-election. Former GOP congressman Rob Simmons announced he was running this week, and has already taken issue with Dodd’s stewardship as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.

BlueAngel
03-18-2009, 06:19 PM
Freddie Mac is next.

Will their executives receive outrageous bonuses, as well?

Inasmuch as the executives of other failed companies such as AIG and Merrill Lynch, to name a few, who were bailed out and rewarded with bonuses that were approved by our US Senate and President in AIG's case, I suspect more of the same.

Did the automakers who received bailouts also pay themselves extravagant bonuses?

I suppose you have to be in the business of MONEY, to be compensated by the FED.

Freddie Mac: The Government's Next Black Hole? (http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20090317/us_time/08599188558300)

Freddie Mac: The Government's Next Black Hole?

Print By STEPHEN GANDEL Stephen Gandel – Tue Mar 17, 5:05 pm ET AFP/File

AIG is to date the most expensive corporate bailout in American history, requiring $180 billion of government funds. But it may soon have competition. Last week, mortgage giant Freddie Mac said that it had lost $50 billion in 2008 alone. A look at the company's books suggests the government will have to spend at least triple that much to save the financial firm from collapse. If the housing market worsens, the tab could even be larger.

"Freddie's portfolio of [mortgage] insurance is more risky than the market was led to believe," says Paul Miller, an analysts at FBR Capital Markets. Sister company Fannie Mae lost even more last year, with $58.7 billion of red ink. But Fannie was better capitalized than Freddie going into the credit crunch. So even though Freddie by many measures is smaller than Fannie, the problems at Freddie will probably end up costing more.

Citigroup and other banks have also lost money, and will need more capital to survive. But in those cases it's not clear who will take the hit - shareholders, bondholders or the government. In the case of AIG, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, however, there is no question where the money will come from. Freddie and Fannie were taken over by the government and put into conservatorship last fall. AIG is now 80% owned by the government. The losses at those companies are now taxpayer losses. (See 25 people to blame for the financial crisis.)

And like AIG, Freddie has had to come back to the government a number of times with cup in hand. The mortgage giant has already received $14 billion in government aid. After the fourth quarter loss of $24 billion, the company said it needs an additional $31 billion from the government to keep the lights on.

Freddie's business, which in part comes from a government mandate, is insuring mortgages. So when borrowers lose their jobs, as many now are, Freddie is going to lose money. But only a quarter of Freddie's red ink, or about $13 billion, comes from mortgage insurance woes. The firm took a larger hit from its investment in mortgage-backed securities tied to subprime, adjustable-rate or jumbo mortgages. By law, Freddie isn't allowed to insure against losses on those types of mortgages, in part because they are riskier. But it bought securities tied to those home loans anyway - which it is allowed to do - in order to capture the higher rates of return that those mortgage bonds offered. Unfortunately, the bets didn't pay off. Freddie lost $16 billion on those investments. (See pictures of Americans in their homes.)

Another bet that didn't pay off for Freddie was on interest rates. The firm's managers bought derivatives that would pay out if interest rates rose. Instead, a global financial meltdown has caused interest rates to plummet. That resulted is a $15 billion loss for Freddie from its hedges.

Freddie lost another $1 billion on bonds tied to short-term loans made to Lehman Brothers. Like Lehman, that investment went belly up. Then there are all the houses it now has to repossess as people stop paying their mortgages. The company now owns about 30,000 homes. Maintaining these houses cost about $3,300 a month each, and that comes on top of the loan loss, which is typically about one-third of the size of the mortgage. Wave goodbye to another billion.

When will the red ink at Freddie stop? It's hard to say. In its most recent annual report, the company said that if it had to mark all of its assets to the price similar bonds are trading for in the market, the company's net worth would sink by another $65 billion. But Freddie's bottom line woes may run deeper even than that. Freddie has $38 billion in losses it has yet to acknowledge in its investment portfolio. The firm also has additional $48 billion in non-performing loans that it either holds or has guaranteed against. In a painful stroke of irony, there is a $15.4 billion line item on the asset side of Freddie's balance sheet for deferred taxes. That means Freddie is still hoping to claim $15 billion in write-offs against future profits. But since Freddie continues to lose money, and because it is now part of the government, the likelihood that the company will have to pay taxes anytime soon is probably nil. Add all those items up, and it becomes apparent that the government will likely spend more than $100 billion in additional funds cleaning up the mess at Freddie.

"The losses at Freddie show the pressure the banking system as a whole is under," says Fred Cannon, chief equity strategist at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. "Freddie is going to need more capital, but they are not alone."

BlueAngel
03-18-2009, 09:53 PM
First, DODD states the following in a previous article on this thread:

“We wrote the language in the bill, the deal with bonuses, golden parachutes, EXCESSIVE executive compensation that was adopted unanimously by the United States Senate in the stimulus bill,” Dodd told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer this afternoon.

Now, he states the following in a more recent article (below):

His staff wrote the Bill with diluted executive bonus payments and it was changed after it passed the Senate at the request of the Administration (OBAMA).

Print By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writer Jim Kuhnhenn,
Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 33 mins ago

AP – WASHINGTON – For a while, the disappearance of an executive bonus restriction from last month's economic stimulus looked like sleight of hand worthy of a Las Vegas stage. No one could explain how the provision faded into thin air.

On Wednesday, Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., acknowledged that his staff agreed to dilute the executive pay provision that would have applied retroactively to recipients of federal aid. However, Dodd said he was not aware of any American International Group Inc. bonuses at the time the change was made.

The provision was the subject of new attention this week because, had it survived, it would have prevented AIG from granting $165 million in bonuses to employees of its financial products division.

"I'm the one who has led the fight against excessive executive compensation, often over the objections of many," said Dodd, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. "I did not want to make any changes to my original Senate-passed amendment, but I did so at the request of administration officials, who gave us no indication that this was in any way related to AIG."

He added: "Let me be clear: I was completely unaware of these AIG bonuses until I learned of them last week."

Dodd did not name the administration officials in his statement, which came a day after he told CNN that he had nothing to do with the change in the provision. In his statement Wednesday, Dodd said he was referring to action to protect AIG.

"When I saw that my comments had been misconstrued, I felt it was important to set the record straight — that this had nothing to do with AIG," he said.

Over the years, Dodd has been the top recipient of campaign contributions from AIG employees. During 2007-2008, when he ran for president, he received nearly $104,000 from AIG employees and their families, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that monitors money in politics.

While the House and Senate reconciled their different stimulus bills last month, the Treasury Department expressed concern with a Senate restriction on bonuses, noting that if it applied to existing compensation contracts it could face a legal challenge.

Dodd told CNN on Wednesday that rather than lose the entire section on executive excessive compensation, he reluctantly agreed to modify the legislation.

An administration official said Treasury made Dodd's staff aware of the potential for litigation but did not demand that the provision be removed from the final bill. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter in public.

The legislation does include a provision that allows Treasury to examine past compensation payments to determine if they were "contrary to the public interest." Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Tuesday said he was using that provision to determine whether the government could somehow recoup the AIG bonuses.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DODD said the following:

"I did not want to make any changes to my original Senate-passed amendment, but I did so at the request of administration officials, who gave us no indication that this was in any way related to AIG."

Apparently, the Bill was changed after the Senate passed it at the request of the Administration (OBAMA) to provide for exorbitant bonuses to AIG executives.

He's also saying that he had no clue that executives of AIG would be the recipients of the bonuses.

Who did he think the recipients of the bonuses would be?

The HOMELESS?

I suggest you watch the news, read the newspaper, speak with your constituents.

In other words.

Get with it.

BlueAngel
03-19-2009, 07:57 PM
The reason being used by the Administration/Treasury Department for the pay-out of bonuses to the executives of AIG is that they were fearful they would be sued otherwise, because the contracts of these executives provide for the payment of bonuses.

AS FAR AS I CAN TELL, THE EXECUTIVES OF AIG DIDN'T HAVE A CONTRACT WITH THE TAXPAYERS OF THIS COUNTRY OR THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT to provide them with bonus money.

Please, correct me if I'm wrong.

Are the executives of AIG employees of the Treasury Deparment?

Since taxpayer money was used to bail-out AIG, does this mean that we own them?

Are we the new Board of Directors?

How much stock have we acquired in the company?

I would think there should be a clause in the contract of executives who are apparently guaranteed bonus money that they shall not receive any in the event of POOR performance such as bankrupting the company.

Rather than allowing the executives of AIG to pick the pockets of the Treasury Department through lawsuits, who, apparently have a contract with them to provide bonuses even though their company was insolvent, and, as far as I can tell, they are not employees of the Treasury Department, decided it would be best to let them pick the pockets of the taxpayers.

If the FED didn't own AIG previously, they certainly do now.

BlueAngel
03-19-2009, 08:31 PM
Isn't that how it works?

A company is failing/bankrupt.

They need an injection of money to survive.

Financial assistance is provided by a group/individual and this group/individual becomes a stockholder/director.

In this respect, since taxpayer money was used to bail-out AIG, the taxpayers should have acquired stock in AIG and should be directors of the company.

However, according to Wikipedia, the government bailed them out.

American International Group - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aig)

So, which is it?

Was taxpayer money used to save AIG or was it FED money?

BlueAngel
03-19-2009, 08:49 PM
Kindly send the taxpayers a stimulus check after you recoup some of the bonus money paid to the AIG executives through the legislation that was passed to impose a 90 percent tax on it.

Thanking you in advance,
A Taxpayer

Or, give it back to the government.

Cause, I'm confused.

Was it the FED or the taxpayers who bailed AIG out?

House passes bill taxing AIG and other bonuses (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/aig_outrage)

House passes bill taxing AIG and other bonuses

Print By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER,
Associated Press Writer Stephen Ohlemacher,
Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 15 mins ago

AP - Thursday, March 19, 2009, WASHINGTON – Denouncing a "squandering of the people's money," lawmakers voted decisively Thursday to impose a 90 percent tax on millions of dollars in employee bonuses paid by troubled insurance giant AIG and other bailed-out companies. The House vote was 328-93. Similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate and President Barack Obama quickly signaled general support for the concept.

"I look forward to receiving a final product that will serve as a strong signal to the executives who run these firms that such compensation will not be tolerated," the president said in a statement.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, told colleagues, "We want our money back now for the taxpayers. It isn't that complicated."

The outcome may not have been complicated. But the lopsided vote failed to reflect the contentious political battle that preceded it.

Republicans took Democrats to task for rushing to tax AIG bonuses worth an estimated $165 million after the majority party stripped from last month's economic stimulus bill a provision that could have banned such payouts.

"This political circus that's going on here today with this bill is not getting to the bottom of the questions of who knew what and when did they know it," said House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio.

He voted "no," but 85 fellow Republicans joined 243 Democrats in voting "yes." It was opposed by six Democrats and 87 Republicans.

The bill would impose a 90 percent tax on bonuses given to employees with family incomes above $250,000 at American International Group and other companies that have received at least $5 billion in government bailout money. It would apply to any such bonuses issued since Dec. 31.

The House vote, after just 40 minutes of debate, showed how quickly Congress can act when the political will is there.

It was only this past weekend that the bailed-out insurance giant paid bonuses totaling $165 million to employees, including traders in the Financial Products unit that nearly brought about AIG's collapse.

AIG has received $182.5 billion in federal bailout money and is now 80 percent government-owned.

Disclosure of the bonuses touched off a national firestorm that both the Obama administration and Congress have scurried to contain.

In a statement issued by the White House late Thursday, Obama said the House vote "rightly reflects the outrage that so many feel over the lavish bonuses that AIG provided its employees at the expense of the taxpayers who have kept this failed company afloat."

"In the end, this is a symptom of a larger problem — a bubble-and-bust economy that valued reckless speculation over responsibility and hard work," he said. "That is what we must ultimately repair to build a lasting and widespread prosperity."

In his statement, Obama did not explicitly endorse the House bill. Instead, he was careful to take a wait-and-see attitude on the details of the final legislation while making clear that he supports the effort to get the bonus money back for taxpayers.

Topic No. 1 raised by Republicans during the House debate was the last-minute altering of a provision in Obama's $787 billion stimulus law to cap executive compensation for firms receiving government bailouts.

The measure might have forestalled payment of the AIG bonuses.

But Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat and the author of the provision, says the administration insisted that he modify his proposal so that it would only apply to payments agreed to in the future.

That, critics claim, cleared the way for the AIG payouts.

"The idea came from the administration," Dodd said Thursday

Dodd said he was not aware of any AIG bonuses at the time the change was made.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner confirmed such conversations with Dodd. He said the administration was worried about possible legal challenges to the provision.

"We expressed concern about this specific version," Geithner said in an interview with CNN. "But we also worked with him to strengthen the overall bill."

The treasury secretary, who has been criticized for not learning of the AIG bonus payments sooner since he helped orchestrate the bailout last year as president of the New York Fed, said anew in the interview that he was not informed of the bonuses until last week.

"And as soon as I heard about the full scale of these things, we moved very actively to explore every possible legal avenue to address this problem," Geithner said.

A similar — but not as punitive — bill to recoup bonus payments with taxes was gaining support in the Senate.

It would impose a 35 percent excise tax on the companies paying the bonuses and a 35 percent tax on the employees receiving them. The taxes would apply to all companies receiving government bailout money, but they are clearly geared toward AIG.

"This is not just another case of runaway corporate greed and arrogance, ripping off shareholders by excesses lavished around the executive suite," said Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D. "These bonuses represent a squandering of the people's money. ... Starting right here, right now, we are saying no more."

The Senate measure is sponsored by Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and the panel's senior Republican, Chuck Grassley of Iowa. It was expected to be brought to the Senate floor next week.

Meanwhile, New York's attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, said AIG has given him the list of employees who received a total of $165 million in retention bonuses.

Cuomo said he won't release any employees' names until his office has answered any security concerns raised by the AIG employees.

He also said he will work with AIG in the coming days to determine which workers have decided to return the payments.

Cuomo had sought the names from AIG chief executive Edward Liddy through a subpoena. The deadline was Thursday.

Separately, Connecticut's consumer protection division also subpoenaed AIG, demanding that the contracts and names of employees who received the bonuses be provided by March 27. Gov. M. Jodi Rell has said she wants the division to determine whether the bonuses can be voided under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.

AIG's financial products division is headquartered in Wilton, Conn.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal says his office also demanded the bonus recipients' names and the amounts.

About 400 AIG employees and future employees received bonuses, but not all of them earned over the $250,000 family income threshold specified by the House bill.

Obama administration special envoy Richard Holbooke was on AIG's board of directors in early 2008, when the insurance company committed to the bonuses, and during the previous years of aggressive investment strategies that brought the firm to brink of collapse. White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said Thursday: "Mr. Holbrooke had nothing to do with and knew nothing about the bonuses."

While the House legislation calls for a 90 percent tax, Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, said he expected local and state governments to take the remaining 10 percent of the bonuses.

Rangel said the bill would apply to mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, among others, while excluding community banks and other smaller companies that have received less bailout money.

"The American people demand protection and that's what we're doing today," he told the House.

___

The bill is HR 1586

___

Associated Press writers Stephen Ohlemacher and Julie Hirschfeld Davis contributed to this report.

BlueAngel
03-19-2009, 09:07 PM
Obama tells Leno he was stunned by AIG bonuses (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/obama_leno)

Print By MARK S. SMITH, Associated Press Writer

Mark S. Smith, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 7 mins ago

New York AP – President Barack Obama, left, appears on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in Burbank, Calif. Thursday, … BURBANK, Calif. – President Barack Obama told Jay Leno on Thurday that he was stunned when he learned of the bonuses that bailed-out insurance giant AIG was paying its employees.

Obama told "The Tonight Show" host the payments raise moral and ethical problems — and vowed again to try to recoup the cash for taxpayers.

"We're going to do everything we can to get these bonuses back", he declared.

Leno asked Obama what he thought when his staff first advised him of the payments, many made to traders in the very division that brought American International Group to ruin.

"'Stunned' is the word," Obama replied in a taped appearance on "Tonight." He said he found it hard to fathom how anyone would accept lavish payments in those circumstances. "People just had this sense of entitlement. We must be the best and the brightest."

But Obama staunchly defended Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who's increasingly come under fire for failing to block the bonuses.

"I think Geithner is doing an outstanding job," Obama said. "He is a smart guy. He is a calm and steady guy. I don't think people fully appreciate the plate that was handed him."

Obama added Geithner's carrying on "with grace and good humor. He understand that he's on the hot seat."

Too many in Washington are trying to figure out who to blame for things — when they should be focused on fixing them, Obama said.

According to NBC, Obama was the first sitting president ever to appear on "The Tonight Show." He'd already appeared twice as a candidate.

Obama spoke with little interference or challenge from Leno, who clearly was enthused about snaring the president as a guest and pronounced it "one of the best nights of my life."

Leno veered away from politics and into the personal toward the end of the 35-minute interview, asking, "How cool is it to fly on Air Force One?" and when Obama daughters Sasha and Malia would get their pet dog.

"This is Washington. That was a campaign promise," Obama replied to audience laughter. "No, I'm teasing. The dog will be there shortly."

The new pet will be in place after he returns from a NATO meeting, Obama said.

The White House bowling alley remains in place, Obama said, bragging that he rolled a 129-point game ("Like the Special Olympics or something," he said), but a basketball court is a priority.

In his opening monologue, Leno said lots of people were surprised Obama would come on NBC — figuring he'd be tired of big companies on the brink of disaster with a bunch of overpaid executives.

Leno also joked about the dismal state of the economy, saying it's so bad Obama flew to California on Southwest Airways — making nine stops.

In recent years, a "Tonight Show" appearance has become a key humanizing touch for aspiring presidents. But its history of such appearances goes back to 1960, when then-Sen. John F. Kennedy came on the show to chat with Jack Paar.

Obama himself has already made two non-presidential appearances — on Dec. 1, 2006, and Oct. 17, 2007.

The White House scheduled the appearance as part of a broader outreach to promote Obama's agenda — one that's already had him on ESPN's "SportsCenter" this week and includes a "60 Minutes" interview airing Sunday, plus a prime-time news conference Tuesday.

But on ESPN, the talk was mostly about basketball. The First Fan filled out an NCAA tournament bracket — picking North Carolina to defeat Louisville in the final. But recalling he picked the Tar Heels last year, he joked, "This year, don't embarrass me in front of the nation, all right? I'm counting on you."

___

AP Television Writer Lynn Elber contributed to this report.

BlueAngel
03-19-2009, 09:13 PM
I'll post my commentary later about Obama's remarks, while a guest on the Jay Leno show, regarding the AIG bonuses.

For starters.

I can't believe he referred to himself as having performed as if he was competing in the Special Olympics since he bowled a 129 in the White House bowling alley.

BlueAngel
03-19-2009, 10:09 PM
Let's recap.

Or, a play by play, if you will.

DODD and his staff constructed a BILL for the AIG bail-out that included a diluted version of executive bonus payments.

This Bill passed the Senate.

Afterwards, the ADMINISTRATION instructed DODD to change the language in the Bill to include exorbitant bonus payments to the executives of AIG and DODD accommodated the ADMINISTRATION.

Was this Bill, with the change, presented to the Senate again for a vote?

DODD stated that he had no clue that the revision he made to the original BILL to provide for exorbitant executive bonuses upon the request of the Administration was in support of AIG.

Well, if this is so, then we are to assume that DODD had no clue for whom he was writing the original Stimulus Bill.

What is he doing?

Writing a Bill without any idea for whom or what?

According to President Obama, who must be out of the loop, as well, he was unaware that this BILL provided for exorbitant bonuses to the executives of AIG.

He was astounded that his Treasury Secretary failed to block the exorbitant bonus package.

Huh?

Block it?

He authorized it.

A diluted version was passed by the Senate and the Treasury Secretary (Administration) told DODD to change it.

So, who threw the Treasury secretary the pass that he failed to block?

Those who control our country?

Those who control our President?

Namely, the FED/Banksters.

Oh, yeah, I'm certain that the Treasury Secretary is capable of blocking the FED just the same as the President.

Don't you just love how OBAMA said that people are too concerned with placing blame.

Actually, I disagree.

The people should be VERY CONCERNED as to placing blame and I think you share in part of the blame and are using the Treasury Secretary as the fall guy because you certainly can't tell the people that you take your orders from the FED and, therefore, have no REAL power.

BlueAngel
03-19-2009, 10:31 PM
So, when the Administration told DODD to change the STIMULUS BILL for AIG to include outrageous bonuses for the executive's of the company, what was he going to say, "NO!"

He's beholden to the BANKSTERS just the same as the rest of THEM.

He's a fall guy, just the same as the Treasury Secretary.

Because those who control, control from behind the curtains.

The "SHADOW GOVERNMENT."

On another note.

Did I hear this correctly?

On one hand, OBAMA told the American people that he's going to fix the economy and then in the next breathe, he told us not to expect much from the government.

How reassuring.

Flip...Flop!

BlueAngel
03-20-2009, 09:19 AM
Obama apologizes for Special Olympics gaffe

Obama apologizes for Special Olympics gaffe (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090320/ap_on_go_pr_wh/obama_special_olympics)

Yahoo! Bookmarks Print 15 mins ago
March 20, 2009

WASHINGTON President Barack Obama has apologized to the chairman of the Special Olympics for his late-night talk show quip equating his bowling skills to those of athletes with disabilities.

Appearing on "The Tonight Show" Thursday, the president told host Jay Leno he'd been practicing at the White House's bowling alley but wasn't happy with his score of 129. Then he remarked: "It was like the Special Olympics or something."

The audience laughed, but the White House quickly recognized the blunder. The Special Olympics, founded in 1968, is a global nonprofit organization serving 200 million individuals with intellectual disabilities.

On his way back to Washington on Air Force One, Obama called the chairman of the Special Olympics, Tim Shriver, to say he was sorry even before the taped program aired late Thursday night.

"He expressed his disappointment and he apologized in a way that was very moving. He expressed that he did not intend to humiliate this population," Shriver said Friday on ABC's "Good Morning America." Obama, Shriver said, wants to have some Special Olympic athletes visit the White House to bowl or play basketball.

Still, Shriver said, "I think it's important to see that words hurt and words do matter. And these words that in some respect can be seem as humiliating or a put down to people with special needs do cause pain and they do result in stereotypes."

Shriver is the son of Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver and nephew of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, whose endorsement early in the Democratic primaries was critical to Obama winning his party's nomination.

Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton told reporters traveling with Obama that the president's offhand remark was not meant to disparage the Special Olympics, only to poke some fun at the commander in chief's bowling skills.

"He thinks that the Special Olympics are a wonderful program that gives an opportunity to shine to people with disabilities from around the world," Burton said.

Despite making fun of his score, the president appears to be getting better the more he visits the White House lanes, which President Truman installed in 1947. During a campaign photo op a year ago at a bowling alley in Altoona, Pa., he rolled only a 37 in seven frames. The clip of the disastrous game was replayed on late night television shows such as Leno's one of Obama's few campaign gaffes.

BlueAngel
03-21-2009, 09:08 PM
Here.

I'll help you out and the matter can be settled very quickly.

BONUS:

Anything given in addition to the customary or required amount.

WAGE:

Money paid for work done.

A BONUS is NOT a wage.

Therefore, the Connecticut WAGE law, which the AIG executives are using to justify their bonuses does not apply.

I cannot imagine that our states have a law that protects the BONUSES to be paid to employees of companies.

Bonuses paid to employees are not a public matter.

They are a private CONTRACTUAL matter between employee and employer.

I can, however, imagine that states have a law to protect the wages of employees.

One is not the same as the other.

IMO, of course.

BlueAngel
03-21-2009, 09:31 PM
Anyway WE can find out the annual salaries (WAGES) of the AIG executives who received bonuses and, while you're at it, I think YOU ought to go after the Merrill Lynch executives who received bonuses, as well.

After all, from what I understand their pay-out was a lot higher than the executives of AIG.

The taxpayers of this country have had ENOUGH!

WE don't like it when the rich steal from the poor!

BlueAngel
03-23-2009, 09:49 PM
Cuomo says AIG execs agree to return $50M bonuses - Yahoo! News (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/aig_bonuses)

Cuomo says AIG execs agree to return $50M bonuses

AP Thursday, March 19, 2009,

By SARA LEPRO, AP Business Writer Sara Lepro,
Ap Business Writer 2 hrs 48 mins ago

NEW YORK New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said Monday that 15 employees who received some of the largest bonuses from American International Group Inc. have agreed to return the more than $30 million worth of payments in full.

In total, AIG employees have agreed to return about $50 million of the $165 million in bonuses awarded earlier this month by the troubled insurer, Cuomo's office said.

Cuomo said he still hopes that more AIG employees will return their bonuses. At most, Cuomo said his office could hope to recoup $80 million of the bonuses roughly the amount paid out to American employees.

"I applaud the employees who are returning the bonuses," Cuomo said during a conference call with reporters. "I think they are being responsive to the American people."

Cuomo said 9 of the 10 people receiving the largest awards have agreed to return their bonus. Additionally, 15 of the top 20 bonus recipients have consented to returning their money. Cuomo said some have refused to return the money, while others are still considering it.

"We are deeply gratified that a vast majority of Financial Products' senior leadership have expressed a willingness to forsake their recent retention payments," wrote spokeswoman Christina Pretto in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press. She added that the company is continuing to review the responses of the other employees.

AIG has come under heavy criticism because the bonuses were given to employees after the company received $170 billion in government bailout money. AIG Chief Executive Edward Liddy told Congress last week that some of the employees were willing to give the money back. But Liddy has expressed concern that the company may not be able to attract and retain talented employees if they believe their compensation is subject to adjustment by the Treasury.

Excuse me, but employees who BANKRUPT a company ARE NOT entitled to a bonus at the expense of the American taxpayers and if you don't think you can attract and retain talented employees because their compensation is subect to adjustment by the Treasury, you would be wrong. The Treasury told DODD to change the language in his BILL to provide for exhorbitant bonuses. I would surmise that the bonuses paid to the executives of AIG, at this point, have been adjusted by the American people WHO PAID THEM.

I'm sure there are plenty of qualified, unemployed people out there who would jump at the chance to work for AIG with or without a bonus.

When applicants apply for employment, will they be working for AIG or the Treasury Department? Obviously, you are now 80 percent owned by the government; although we've been told that the taxpayer's bailed you out and, in actuality, WE SHOULD OWN YOU.

Pretto said Monday that a "handful" of senior-level executives have resigned from the financial products division, and that there will likely be more resignations to come.

"We do believe that at this point it's all manageable," she said.

Cuomo said he doesn't plan to release the names of the employees who have agreed to return the bonuses, and said there is no implied threat that if an employee doesn't consent to returning the bonus that their name will be released. Cuomo had sought the names of the employees who received bonuses from Liddy through a subpoena.

Since the American people have paid bonuses to the executives of AIG, we are entitled to know their names.

He said his office is continuing to assess the security of the employees.

About 400 employees and future employees in AIG's financial products division received bonuses. Documents provided by AIG to the Treasury Department said the awards ranged from $1,000 to nearly $6.5 million. Seven employees were to receive more than $3 million. Last week Cuomo said AIG paid bonuses of $1 million or more to 73 employees, including 11 who no longer work there.

Separately, Connecticut's consumer protection division has subpoenaed AIG, demanding that the contracts and names of employees who received the bonuses be provided by March 27. Gov. M. Jodi Rell has said she wants the division to determine whether the bonuses can be voided under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.

AIG's financial products division is headquartered in Wilton, Conn.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal says his office also demanded the bonus recipients' names and the amounts.

Last week, the House passed a plan to slap a punitive, 90 percent tax on bonuses paid to AIG employees whose family income surpasses $250,000. Not all of the AIG employees earned more than the income threshold specified by the House bill.

But President Obama has signaled opposition to the House's tax bill on constitutional grounds.

The Senate is soon expected to take up its own plan on the tax.

BlueAngel
03-23-2009, 10:11 PM
Yeah, well, I'm confused.

Why is it that Cuomo is involved in the bonus payments to AIG executives?

Is it because AIG headquarters are in New York?

Shouldn't this matter be between the AMERICAN PEOPLE and the Treasury Department?

The two entities who funded their bonuses!

On another note, why was it stated that under CONNECTICUT law, if the executives weren't paid their bonuses they could sue for twice the amount?

Are Connecticut and New York one state?

Last time I checked, they were two states.

Just because many of the EXECUTIVES of AIG live in Connecticut, does this allow them protection under the CONNECTICUT WAGE (not bonus) law, if AIG's headquarters are based in New York?

BlueAngel
03-23-2009, 10:16 PM
Since the American taxpayers paid the bonuses of the exeuctives of AIG, Cuomo, we are ENTITLED to know their names.

BlueAngel
03-23-2009, 11:02 PM
As an AMERICAN TAXPAYER, my money is being used to bail-out FAILED/bankrupt financial institutions and I DEMAND to know the names of the individuals to whom I am becoming in debt to in order to keep them afloat.

This includes the names of the AIG executives, the Merrill Lynch executives and any and all before and after them.

I have a suggestion, CUOMO.

How 'bout you withdraw $100,000.00 or more from your personal bank account and bail-out a company of which I know is bankrupt without inquiring as to any information regarding the proprietors of the company.

Deal?

BlueAngel
03-23-2009, 11:08 PM
WE, the AMERICAN taxpayers who are providing bonus/bail-out money to the executives of companies such as AIG who bankrupted their company, DEMAND TO KNOW the names of these executives.

I don't particularly care to reward poor performance, but, when I'm forced to by the American government, I require the pertinent information.

Such as, NAME, RANK and SERIAL NUMBER!

BlueAngel
03-23-2009, 11:51 PM
I am a voice for all Americans.

Inasmuch, as we are suffering the repercussions of the economic fall-out; without jobs, without health insurance; living in tent cities and have been forced by the government of the United State's of America to bail-out bankrupt financial institutions and the executives of these institutions with bonuses so they can continue to live their lavish lifestyles as we suffer, I demand to know the names of the people whom I am financing at my detriment.

Plain and simple.

BlueAngel
03-24-2009, 09:34 PM
You know, THEY can tell us that a certain number of executives at AIG have agreed to return the bonuses that they stole from the American taxpayers, and, therefore, are assured by Cuomo that their names won't be released, but how do we know this is a truth?

The government lies.

Duh!

So, again, as an American taxpayer, regardless of which executives have returned bonuses and which executives of AIG and Merill Lynch have not, I request that their names be released.

I'm paying them and I don't appreciate giving my hard earned money to someone I don't know.

What's the problem with US knowing who THEY are?

I have no problem with it, why do they?

They are executives of a company.

What's the problem in disclosing their names?

Is this some sort of TOP SECRET operation or something?

BlueAngel
03-25-2009, 09:45 PM
The New York Times on the Web: Server Error (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/25/opinion/25desantis.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&ref=opinion)

DEAR Mr. Liddy,

It is with deep regret that I submit my notice of resignation from A.I.G. Financial Products. I hope you take the time to read this entire letter. Before describing the details of my decision, I want to offer some context:

I am proud of everything I have done for the commodity and equity divisions of A.I.G.-F.P. I was in no way involved in — or responsible for — the credit default swap transactions that have hamstrung A.I.G. Nor were more than a handful of the 400 current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. Most of those responsible have left the company and have conspicuously escaped the public outrage.

After 12 months of hard work dismantling the company — during which A.I.G. reassured us many times we would be rewarded in March 2009 — we in the financial products unit have been betrayed by A.I.G. and are being unfairly persecuted by elected officials. In response to this, I will now leave the company and donate my entire post-tax retention payment to those suffering from the global economic downturn. My intent is to keep none of the money myself.

I take this action after 11 years of dedicated, honorable service to A.I.G. I can no longer effectively perform my duties in this dysfunctional environment, nor am I being paid to do so. Like you, I was asked to work for an annual salary of $1, and I agreed out of a sense of duty to the company and to the public officials who have come to its aid. Having now been let down by both, I can no longer justify spending 10, 12, 14 hours a day away from my family for the benefit of those who have let me down.

You and I have never met or spoken to each other, so I’d like to tell you about myself. I was raised by schoolteachers working multiple jobs in a world of closing steel mills. My hard work earned me acceptance to M.I.T., and the institute’s generous financial aid enabled me to attend. I had fulfilled my American dream.

I started at this company in 1998 as an equity trader, became the head of equity and commodity trading and, a couple of years before A.I.G.’s meltdown last September, was named the head of business development for commodities. Over this period the equity and commodity units were consistently profitable — in most years generating net profits of well over $100 million. Most recently, during the dismantling of A.I.G.-F.P., I was an integral player in the pending sale of its well-regarded commodity index business to UBS. As you know, business unit sales like this are crucial to A.I.G.’s effort to repay the American taxpayer.

The profitability of the businesses with which I was associated clearly supported my compensation. I never received any pay resulting from the credit default swaps that are now losing so much money. I did, however, like many others here, lose a significant portion of my life savings in the form of deferred compensation invested in the capital of A.I.G.-F.P. because of those losses. In this way I have personally suffered from this controversial activity — directly as well as indirectly with the rest of the taxpayers.

I have the utmost respect for the civic duty that you are now performing at A.I.G. You are as blameless for these credit default swap losses as I am. You answered your country’s call and you are taking a tremendous beating for it.

But you also are aware that most of the employees of your financial products unit had nothing to do with the large losses. And I am disappointed and frustrated over your lack of support for us. I and many others in the unit feel betrayed that you failed to stand up for us in the face of untrue and unfair accusations from certain members of Congress last Wednesday and from the press over our retention payments, and that you didn’t defend us against the baseless and reckless comments made by the attorneys general of New York and Connecticut.

Dear A.I.G., I Quit!
Published: March 24, 2009
(Page 2 of 2)

My guess is that in October, when you learned of these retention contracts, you realized that the employees of the financial products unit needed some incentive to stay and that the contracts, being both ethical and useful, should be left to stand. That’s probably why A.I.G. management assured us on three occasions during that month that the company would “live up to its commitment” to honor the contract guarantees.

That may be why you decided to accelerate by three months more than a quarter of the amounts due under the contracts. That action signified to us your support, and was hardly something that one would do if he truly found the contracts “distasteful.”

That may also be why you authorized the balance of the payments on March 13.

At no time during the past six months that you have been leading A.I.G. did you ask us to revise, renegotiate or break these contracts — until several hours before your appearance last week before Congress.

I think your initial decision to honor the contracts was both ethical and financially astute, but it seems to have been politically unwise. It’s now apparent that you either misunderstood the agreements that you had made — tacit or otherwise — with the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, various members of Congress and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo of New York, or were not strong enough to withstand the shifting political winds.

You’ve now asked the current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. to repay these earnings. As you can imagine, there has been a tremendous amount of serious thought and heated discussion about how we should respond to this breach of trust.

As most of us have done nothing wrong, guilt is not a motivation to surrender our earnings. We have worked 12 long months under these contracts and now deserve to be paid as promised. None of us should be cheated of our payments any more than a plumber should be cheated after he has fixed the pipes but a careless electrician causes a fire that burns down the house.

Many of the employees have, in the past six months, turned down job offers from more stable employers, based on A.I.G.’s assurances that the contracts would be honored. They are now angry about having been misled by A.I.G.’s promises and are not inclined to return the money as a favor to you.

The only real motivation that anyone at A.I.G.-F.P. now has is fear. Mr. Cuomo has threatened to “name and shame,” and his counterpart in Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, has made similar threats — even though attorneys general are supposed to stand for due process, to conduct trials in courts and not the press.

So what am I to do? There’s no easy answer. I know that because of hard work I have benefited more than most during the economic boom and have saved enough that my family is unlikely to suffer devastating losses during the current bust. Some might argue that members of my profession have been overpaid, and I wouldn’t disagree.

That is why I have decided to donate 100 percent of the effective after-tax proceeds of my retention payment directly to organizations that are helping people who are suffering from the global downturn. This is not a tax-deduction gimmick; I simply believe that I at least deserve to dictate how my earnings are spent, and do not want to see them disappear back into the obscurity of A.I.G.’s or the federal government’s budget. Our earnings have caused such a distraction for so many from the more pressing issues our country faces, and I would like to see my share of it benefit those truly in need.

On March 16 I received a payment from A.I.G. amounting to $742,006.40, after taxes. In light of the uncertainty over the ultimate taxation and legal status of this payment, the actual amount I donate may be less — in fact, it may end up being far less if the recent House bill raising the tax on the retention payments to 90 percent stands. Once all the money is donated, you will immediately receive a list of all recipients.

This choice is right for me. I wish others at A.I.G.-F.P. luck finding peace with their difficult decision, and only hope their judgment is not clouded by fear.

Mr. Liddy, I wish you success in your commitment to return the money extended by the American government, and luck with the continued unwinding of the company’s diverse businesses — especially those remaining credit default swaps. I’ll continue over the short term to help make sure no balls are dropped, but after what’s happened this past week I can’t remain much longer — there is too much bad blood. I’m not sure how you will greet my resignation, but at least Attorney General Blumenthal should be relieved that I’ll leave under my own power and will not need to be “shoved out the door.”

Sincerely,

Jake DeSantis


-------------------------------------------------------------------

When did Cuomo decide he would name and shame?

Last I heard, he said he wouldn't name any employee of AIG whether they returned their bonus money or not.

Seriously, now, does Jake DeSantis' W2 form reflect the amount of $1.00 as wages earned?

The public outrage is about a bankrupt company being bailed out by the American taxpayer's and hundreds of employees receiving outrageous bonus payments such as you did in the amount of $742,000.00.

If your company accepts billions of dollars from taxpayers because the company is bankrupt and THEY can't pay you, consider that your contract has been renegotiated.

Unless you can prove to the American taxpayers that you worked for one dollar, we don't believe it.

What call from the country did Liddy answer?

Since you know the names of those persons at AIG who brought the company down and the names of those persons who received bonus payments, how 'bout supplying a list so we can be sure that the name's of those persons who bankrupted the company aren't on the same list of those who received bonus payments.

Thank you for donating your bonus money, but we'll need you to submit proof of that transaction, as well as a copy of your W2 form.

Sorry you're facing such a difficult time in your life, but it happens to the best of us.

Even those who were raised by school teachers (that must have been difficult); graduated from M.I.T. and are living the American dream, as you say.

Therein lies the problem with so many people in our country.

They believe the American dream is about wealth.

It should be about humanity.

Thanking you in advance,
An American Taxpayer

BlueAngel
03-26-2009, 09:24 PM
Imagine that.

The UNITED STATE'S POSTAL SERVICE is now requesting a bail-out.

BlueAngel
03-29-2009, 10:10 PM
The economic collapse was aided by the many financial investment companies/banking institutions who subsequently received a taxpayer bail-out together with outrageous bonuses paid to the executives of these companies.

Sounds like a pay-off to me.

I don't recall that there was a demand from the White House for the executives of these FAILED companies to step down.

However, there is now a call for the executive of GM to resign before any bail-out money is approved.

Talk about government intervention.

Any talk of a bonus for the outgoing executive or any of the other executives within the auto industry?

If not, why not?

Is it because they weren't players in the economic collapse, but are merely suffering financially due to the condition of our economy that the FINANCIAL industry helped to create?

GM CEO Wagoner to step down at White House request - Yahoo! News (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/gm_wagoner)

GM CEO Wagoner to step down at White House request

AP – By TOM KRISHER and KEN THOMAS, Associated Press Writers
Tom Krisher And Ken Thomas, Associated Press Writers – 15 mins ago

DETROIT – General Motors Corp. Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner will step down immediately at the request of the White House, administration officials said Sunday. The news comes as President Barack Obama prepares to unveil additional restructuring efforts designed to save the domestic auto industry.

The officials asked not to be identified because details of the restructuring plan have not yet been made public. On Monday, Obama is to announce measures to restructure GM and Chrysler LLC in exchange for additional government loans. The companies have been living on $17.4 billion in government aid and have requested $21.6 billion more.

Two people familiar with the plan said Sunday that the Obama administration would give GM enough government aid to restructure over the next 60 days, while Chrysler will get up to $6 billion and 30 days to complete an alliance with Italian automaker Fiat SpA. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to make details public.

Wagoner's departure indicates that more management changes may be part of the deal, but it is still unclear who will be in charge of GM. The automaker recently promoted Fritz Henderson, its former chief financial officer, to become president and chief operating officer. Many in the company thought he would eventually succeed Wagoner.

Detroit-based GM issued a statement Sunday saying that the company expects the administration to make an announcement about the automaker's restructuring soon but that "it would not be appropriate for us to speculate on the content of any announcement."

A person familiar with Chrysler's management said the company has been given no indication that the government will require any changes at the Auburn Hills, Mich., company, which has been led by former Home Depot CEO Robert Nardelli since August 2007. The person also spoke on condition of anonymity because Obama's plan has not been made public.

Wagoner, 56, has repeatedly said he believed it was better for him to lead GM through its crisis, but he has faced sharp criticism on Capitol Hill for what many lawmakers regard as years of missteps, mistakes and arrogance by the Detroit Three automakers.

Wagoner joined GM in 1977, serving in several capacities in the U.S., Brazil and Europe. He became president and chief executive in 2000 and has served as chairman and CEO since May 2003.

Wagoner, in an interview with The Associated Press in December, declined to speculate on suggestions from some members of Congress that GM's leadership team should step down as part of any rescue package.

"I'm doing what I do because it adds a lot of value to the company," Wagoner said in a Dec. 4 interview as GM sought federal aid from the Bush administration. "It's not clear to me that experience in this industry should be viewed as a negative, but I'm going to do what's right for the company and I'll do it in consultation with the (GM) board (of directors)."

Auto industry analysts credit Wagoner with doing more to restructure the giant automaker than any other executive. But given that he has been at GM's helm for so long, many of his critics say he moved too slowly to take on the United Auto Workers and shrink the company as its market share tumbled.

"Given the history, a change in management could hardly hurt and might do some good," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Sunday.

Among his biggest accomplishments as CEO, Wagoner presided over a landmark contract agreement with the UAW in 2007. In that four-year agreement, the automaker successfully transferred nearly $50 billion in health care liabilities to the union as it sought to reduce labor costs, especially huge liabilities to retirees.

In 2004, Wagoner sought to reduce GM's brands by shutting down the Oldsmobile line of cars — a costly project because it required huge payouts to dealers. He also sought to streamline the company by selling the company's defense unit to General Dynamics Corp. for $1.1 billion in 2003. He has also reduced the company's work force by tens of thousands and closed factories around the country.

But Wagoner's critics say GM relied for too long on sales of pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles for its profits and was unprepared for a drastic market shift when gasoline prices hit $4 per gallon last year.

During the Congressional debate over whether to give GM and Chrysler loans last year, many lawmakers criticized Wagoner, including Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., chairman of the Banking Committee.

Dodd accused automakers' top management of having a "head-in-the-sand" approach to problems and said Wagoner "has to move on" as part of a government-run restructuring that should be a condition of financial life support for the auto industry.

David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich., said Sunday that Wagoner's departure gives the government a rationale to provide additional aid to the automaker. He was not surprised by the move, but said he is disappointed because he considers Wagoner a capable leader.

"I think that as a condition for further government support, this helps give them a little cover with the public," Cole said. "Essentially he's taking one for the team."

Cole noted that other automakers have been shaking up management as well. Toyota Motor Corp.'s president, Katsuaki Watanabe, recently said he would be stepping down as the Japanese automaker weathers financial difficulty. Also, France's biggest carmaker, PSA Peugeot-Citroen, abruptly ousted CEO Christian Streiff on Sunday, saying "exceptional difficulties" confronting the auto industry require new management at the top.

In the financial sector, where the overwhelming majority of government bailout money has been directed, some corporate leaders found their days numbered. The CEOs of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were forced out after the government took over the companies in the fall. Robert Willumstad, the former CEO of American International Group Inc., left the company in September, just a day after the government pumped $85 billion into the insurer to keep it from going under.

The terms of Wagoner's departure are unclear. However, GM disclosed in its annual report last month that it cannot make severance payments to Wagoner or other senior executives under the terms of its governments loans. Wagoner is eligible to retire under GM's salaried employee and executive retirement plans, but the amount he would receive is unclear.

Nardelli's departure is less likely than Wagoner's because Nardelli is "relatively new" to the automaker, with less than two years at the helm, Cole said.

GM and Chrysler were required by the Bush administration to get major concessions from debtholders and the United Auto Workers, with a deadline of March 31 for signed contracts. But very little headway was being made with either party this weekend as they awaited Obama's announcement.

Members of Obama's auto task force have said bankruptcy could still be an option for GM and Chrysler if their management, workers, creditors and shareholders failed to make sacrifices. Both companies are trying to reduce their debt by two-thirds and convince the United Auto Workers union to accept shares of stock in exchange for half of the payments into a union-run trust fund for retiree health care costs. The deals also call for executive pay cuts and labor costs that are competitive with Japanese automakers with U.S. operations

___

Associated Press Writer Ken Thomas reported from Washington, D.C. AP Auto Writer Dan Strumpf contributed from New York.

(This version CORRECTS that GM sold its defense unit to General Dynamics; the unit was not named General Dynamics.)

------------------------------------------------------------------

Excerpt:

"Dodd accused automakers' top management of having a "head-in-the-sand" approach to problems and said Wagoner "has to move on" as part of a government-run restructuring that should be a condition of financial life support for the auto industry."

Huh?

The automakers are suffering due to the economic collapse that was aided by the financial industry and DODD accuses them of having a "head-in-the-sand" approach to problems!?!

I think you, DODD, have your head in the sand.

I suggest, as a taxpayer, that some of the bail-out money provide for bonuses to the workers at the automobile factories.

And, I further suggest that those persons at Merrill Lynch who received bonuses be asked to step down.

Thanking you in advance,
A Taxpayer