Is Making 250K A Year "Ordinary?"

Kevin Drum thinks so:

Taxing the million-dollar bonuses is one thing I may be a little ambivalent about that, but overall I don't think it's all that problematic but the bill that passed last night taxes away bonuses from anyone with a household income over $250,000. That's a couple of mid-level analysts. This is likely to hit tens of thousands of fairly ordinary workers who had nothing to do with AIG's troubles and who simply don't deserve this kind of treatment.

Memo to Kevin, these "ordinary" AIG employees who make over 250,000 a year would be out of a job if the federal government had not bailed out AIG. The unemployment rate in the country is 8.2% and climbing. Believe me, there are better examples for your concern. Oh by the way, this newfound concern for those ordinary $250K/year earners? Does that mean you now support the Bush tax cuts? Do you oppose rolling them back? Migawd, some of the things we are reading now are just incredible. Finally, if there is a good policy purpose to not taxing the lower ends of the rich employees of AIG, then let's hear it. But to expect sobbing over people who have jobs, who make $250k/yr and who have their jobs thanks to incredible amounts of government money, well, that's just too much.

Out of touch is the proper description of what this exemplifies.

Speaking for me only

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    Top 1.5% of US households (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by ricosuave on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 08:20:23 AM EST
    That's where you are if your household income is $250K.  How many AIG employees could there possibly be making that kind of money and these kind of bonuses?  Tens of thousands?  I doubt it.

    Of course, I am of the opinion that the bonuses, however egregious and ridiculous they are, are done and it is time to stop grandstanding.  I have no love for the bonuses and no sympathy for the AIG employees, but I agree with the idea (which I am probably inferring from Drum, but not actually reading there) that hasty legislation to fix the problem that is currently getting shouted about on TV usually ends up being bad public policy.

    The AIG bonueses are distraction (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 08:25:19 AM EST
    JOList argument is BS too. I addressed that earlier.

    But this is something different.

    Frankly, it is a GOP talking point, the poor little people making more than 250K per year.


    Absolutely (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by ricosuave on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 08:52:13 AM EST
    I have always thought that the democrats should take the public stance of being willing to give up the vote of everyone making >$250K.  If they made a serious effort to win the votes of everyone making <$100K through public policies that helped them, they could not only keep a solid majority of americans, but they would probably streamline the tax code and get rid of lots of expenses that business complain about (e.g. health care costs).  And they would still get the limousine liberal vote.

    I stopped waiting for them to do this a long time ago, though.


    AIG? (none / 0) (#65)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 08:08:31 PM EST
    Memo to Kevin, these "ordinary" AIG employees who make over 250,000 a year would be out of a job if the federal government had not bailed out AIG.

    The house bill is not limited to AIG.  It applies to any bank that took any TARP funds.  The 250,000 is not limited to income from a TARP recipient.  

    Therefore if a teller or computer programmer making $50,000 got say, a $5,000 bonus and was married to a lawyer that had no bank related income that made $250,000 the bonus would be subject to the 90%.

    BTW if this kind of punitive, discriminatory, and third world dictator style taxation is all perfectly constitutional, is there anything to stop Congress from applying a 90% tax to registered Republicans, or owners of BMW's?


    2.245 million U.S. Households= 1.9% (none / 0) (#51)
    by squeaky on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 02:41:44 PM EST
    I read this and winced (5.00 / 5) (#5)
    by kmblue on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 09:26:14 AM EST
    Last month, the same government that says it "cannot just abrogate" executives' bonus contracts used its leverage to cancel unions' wage contracts. As the Wall Street Journal reported, federal loans to G.M. and Chrysler were made contingent on those manufacturers shredding their existing labor pacts and "extract[ing] financial concessions from workers." In other words, our government asks us to believe that it possesses total authority to adjust contracts at car companies it lends to, and yet has zero power to modify contracts at financial firms it owns. This, even though the latter set of covenants might be easily abolished.


    I know, Mr. Rugen

    The action by congress (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Slado on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 09:37:51 AM EST
    was a retroactive tax cut to save face for mis management.

    This is mob rule right now and when will $150K or $100K not be cuase for "worry".

    It is troubling to me that the gov't has used moral outrage to justify bad policy.  The gov't screwed up on how they handled AIG.  They're screwing lots of things in the economy up right now and the casualness in which they inacted a tax hike after the fact is more troubling then a few rich people getting paid with government money.

    Maybe they think these laws wil (none / 0) (#29)
    by hairspray on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 11:10:21 AM EST
    not hold up in court.

    Claw It Back (none / 0) (#60)
    by FreakyBeaky on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 04:17:55 PM EST
    A retroactive tax is less than ideal, but a hell of a lot better than doing nothing.  Letting the SOBs keep their bonuses paid with taxpayer money is flat out class warfare - as was letting the payments go forward in the first place.  

    The cluelessness frightens me (5.00 / 7) (#9)
    by esmense on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 09:54:35 AM EST
    The people with the power to set and influence policy, public and private, and those in the media who are suppose to help keep the rest of us informed, are too out of touch with the country's basic economic reality to make intelligent decisions. The economic divide is reaping serious consequences.

    Recently, a friend told me about a conversation with her boss -- CEO of a major urban airport. Her boss, commenting on a nephew's new job, characterized the nephew's $150,000 salary as "lower middle class."

    Years ago, when Michael Moore had his TV show, he did a man on the street bit with workers and (obviously) very affluent shoppers in Manhattan. He asked both if they knew the price of AT&T stock, an expensive champagne, and what the minimum wage was. The workers didn't know, and knew they didn't know, the price of AT&T or the champagne, but they knew exactly what the minimum wage was. The affluent, on the other hand, confidently reeled off the AT&T price, the champagne's cost, and their notion of the minimum wage -- an average of about $20 an hour. At the time, I thought Moore was being dishonest -- that he must have really searched for clueless rich people to make his point. Now, after all that has happened, I realized that America really has been divided into two worlds. And the one in power is shockingly delusional.

    Not trying to sound either (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by jeffinalabama on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 09:55:17 AM EST
    naive or incredulous... but 250k yearly? It's beyond my comprehension. I bein to think i'm dustin Hoffman in 'Rainman--' "about a hundred dollars."

    I can't fathom that amount. When times were better, the five-figure income I earned was quite enough to keep a family of three well off and satisfied.

    There's too much greed. Too little concern for everyone else.

    If I make six figures, and the IRX wants to tax the top, or the proportion over 100,000 at 70-0 percent, I won't complain.

    Look at the debt the nation's piling up for future generations. Time for the upper 1.5 percent to pay their fair share.

    Gawd (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by Steve M on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 10:01:53 AM EST
    What is this obsession with believing AIG is full of $30,000/yr receptionists whose spouses make $220,000/yr... receptionists who apparently receive MASSIVE BONUSES that are now going to be taxed at 90%?  What planet do these people live on?

    Planet (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by kmblue on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 10:04:34 AM EST
    of the Rich?  ;)

    they took 'going Galt' (none / 0) (#13)
    by jeffinalabama on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 10:06:39 AM EST
    to a new level, didn't they?

    Is it an obsession? (none / 0) (#14)
    by jbindc on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 10:08:18 AM EST
    Or is it fair to say that mixed in with the folks who are getting these bonuses, not everyone makes over $250,000?

    Personally, I'm not making the argument that the household shouldn't be taxed, I was pointing out that it means two entirely different things to say that employees who make over $250,000 and get bonuses should be taxed as opposed to saying employees who don't make that much, but their total household income is $250,000 should be taxed.  Two different concepts.

    I think if you're a couple making over $250k, you're doing pretty well for yourself.


    Well (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Steve M on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 10:18:57 AM EST
    I guess the reason they wrote the bill in this weird way is that if you file jointly, they can't really look behind that to determine which of the taxpayers is really making the income.

    Having said that, my point was simply that I don't live in a world where receptionists get huge bonuses out of the blue.


    I don't either (none / 0) (#25)
    by jbindc on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 10:46:50 AM EST
    But my guess is there are plenty of people who make $100,000 - $150,000 who are getting bonuses. Heck, you practice in NYC, your firm probably has top paralegals making $100,000, and I'm going to guess they aren't involved in top decisions of the firm, right?  

    Again - I have no beef with top households paying taxes, but what's being argued here is that every employee who received a bonus makes over $250,000 per year.


    Heh (none / 0) (#33)
    by Steve M on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 11:24:37 AM EST
    It's not one of THOSE firms.  Probably the majority of lawyers at my firm make less than $100,000.

    In any event, if we told everyone that there are no bonuses this year for anyone, because the firm is in such dire financial straits that we needed a federal bailout in order to survive, I think life would go on.  People further down the org chart aren't counting on their discretionary bonus; their comp is their comp, for the most part.


    The federal bailout is the key (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 11:40:28 AM EST
    In a normal circumstance, these 250k/yr people would be out of their jobs at AIG.

    Times are tough and they should not be receiving bonuses.

    But more than that, it is emblematic of the fact that Wall Street is sacrificing NOTHING in these times, while so many others are. It is an outrage.


    complete agreement. (none / 0) (#15)
    by jeffinalabama on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 10:10:11 AM EST
    How many people do you imagine (none / 0) (#28)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 11:09:34 AM EST
    are "mixed in?" A hundred?

    Help me here, tax lawyers, but (none / 0) (#66)
    by Cream City on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 08:21:03 PM EST
    isn't it still possible for married people to opt to not file jointly but to file separately?  Wouldn't that solve the alleged cases of such vastly disproportionate spousal incomes?  They might lose the marital tax break of a few thousand, but we all have to weigh options in managing our finances.  And if one spouse is making so much, I suspect they know how to weigh and manage options.

    Charlie Gibson doesn't think so (5.00 / 6) (#16)
    by kmblue on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 10:12:20 AM EST
    He was moderating a debate with Obama and Clinton and objected to Obama's plan to tax incomes over 250k.  Charles said it would affect "schoolteachers".

    The audience laughed at him, and he had no idea why.  Oh, the elite media!

    I'm going to have to ask my mom (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by jbindc on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 10:16:51 AM EST
    She's a retired school teacher in metro Detroit.  45 years experience, plus a Master's Degree.  I think her income at retirement was $75,000.  Apparently she hid the other $175,000+ from the rest of the family.

    kmblue, (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by jeffinalabama on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 10:17:07 AM EST
    I am at a loss for words on this.

    It won't even affect the most senior  full professors at state universities.


    Indeed (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by kmblue on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 10:20:48 AM EST
    It was a classic television moment.

    It will if they teach (none / 0) (#63)
    by oldpro on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 05:22:53 PM EST
    in the med school...and a few others, perhaps?

    That's exactly what I was (none / 0) (#41)
    by lilburro on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 12:05:50 PM EST
    reminded of reading Drum.

    Annoyingly out of touch.  I guess blogging has very high job security.


    Class warfare! (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by kmblue on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 10:21:47 AM EST
    Class warfare! ;)

    Techincally (4.40 / 5) (#6)
    by jbindc on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 09:33:21 AM EST
    Memo to Kevin, these "ordinary" AIG employees who make over 250,000 a year would be out of a job if the federal government had not bailed out AIG

    From what I read - what Kevin said was this bill would affect employees whose household income was over $250,000, so technically, that could include an employee who made $80,000 and received a bonus (and certainly not a decision maker in the whole fiasco) whose spouse made $175,000. Putting aside that the fact that their money is combined, this punishes the $80K employee for the salary of his/her spouse.

    Saying people who received bonuses who have household incomes of over $250,000 should be taxed is different than saying employees who make over $250,000 who received a bonus should be taxed.

    And? (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 11:12:01 AM EST
    What's the point? If someone makes 20K and their spouse makes 10 million, they are still rich.

    I am still scratching my head trying (none / 0) (#17)
    by inclusiveheart on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 10:13:52 AM EST
    to figure out why they didn't peg the taxation to the size of the bonus first and then to the rest of the income.  All this bill does anyway is encourage the institutions to move money out of the bonus category and into the salary category so that it is taxable at a lower rate.  Seems like a waste of time to me.

    With Kevin, everything is relative (none / 0) (#4)
    by NealB on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 09:08:29 AM EST
    The tears shed by those analysts living in their mini-mansions are the same as those of service employees and line workers that are paid so little they can't even imagine a secure future for themselves.

    Kevin Drum is clueless about it though, because he really can't see the difference between living well and barely surviving. To him, we all survive, so what's the difference? To him, we all survive, until we don't any more, and those that don't are no longer a part of the equation, so it's all the same to him. Drum seems so smart sometimes, it's hard to understand why he has this blind spot.

    Perhaps it's not a blind spot. (none / 0) (#62)
    by oldpro on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 05:10:47 PM EST
    Maybe he has crummy values.

    I'm indifferent on policy (none / 0) (#8)
    by Ben Masel on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 09:46:12 AM EST
    but have not seen a solid argument that this is not an unconstitutional Bill of Attainder.

    I have not seen one solid argument (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 11:10:37 AM EST
    that it is.

    I see a lot of folks blowing smoke about it but not any actual lawyers arguing it.


    Can we conclude that "Bemused" (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by shoephone on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 08:59:52 PM EST
    is violating site rules with all those "1" ratings?

    There's some cassedla (none / 0) (#70)
    by Ben Masel on Sun Mar 22, 2009 at 10:50:56 PM EST
    saying what isn't a Bill of Attainder, not much saying what is.

    A Bill of Attainder motion was submitted on my behalf contesting a fed Civil Forfeiture of cash in 1987, we won on other grounds before the Court reached the motion. I'd placed less hope in the BofA motion than my Attorney.


    cassedla>caselaw (none / 0) (#71)
    by Ben Masel on Sun Mar 22, 2009 at 10:52:05 PM EST
    Household incomes (none / 0) (#23)
    by Coral on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 10:30:07 AM EST

    The US Census statistics for 2005 are at the link above. 250,000 plus incomes go to top 3 1/2 percent or so. A huge problem is that the economic misfortune of those few mean a whole lot more to the political and media class in this country than the fortunes of, say, the real middle income earners, families bringing in between say, $25,000 and $100,000. These are the people whose jobs and pensions are insecure, who are losing houses through foreclosures, who are being hit the hardest by this crisis.

    This is also the group that both Obama and Clinton targeted in the 2008 election.

    Waiting for Obama to deal with the financial crisis, the banks and AIG, in a way that makes the most sense for this large middle group of Americans is beginning to feel like waiting for Godot.

    You know (none / 0) (#24)
    by Maryb2004 on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 10:30:46 AM EST
    I was willing to entertain the idea that AIG simply not pay the bonuses, get sued and eventually those people may or may not get the bonuses plus penalties IF there was no defense to the contract AND if AIG was still around to pay them.

    But I agree with Kevin on the bottom level of this large tax.  In fact the more I consider the whole thing, I think the tax is a very bad idea meant to fix the screw up of the federal govt. (both branches) because they pretended that they were shocked, SHOCKED, that there were bonuses.  

    Not that it will matter what any of us think - I predict this tax isn't going to happen.

    This is not germane to my point (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 11:08:33 AM EST
    in this thread.

    And frankly, you state your opinion but do not explain your thinking as to why you think it.

    Frankly, I agree that these bonuses are nothing to the real issue, but the attitude expressed by Kevin, and now you, about these poor people making 250K/yr demonstrates a sever disconnect with the reality we are facing in this country.


    I disagree (none / 0) (#44)
    by Maryb2004 on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 12:32:00 PM EST
    I think it is germane.

    But I'll explain.  To tax away almost 100% of the money that someone has received under a valid contract is an incredible remedy and should only be undertaken by the govt. under under extreme circumstances and only with respect to the most extreme cases where major wrongdoing was involved.  As far as being an extreme case - people making $250,000 a year are not in and of themselves extreme cases.  No they are not poor but $250,000 is not evidence imo of people bilking the system. It's not nearly enough money to be evidence of that. You may think that's a different point than Kevin was making but I think that's what he was saying - $250,000 isn't enough.  

    And (my earlier point) this is not an extreme circumstance.  The only extremity is that the govt. screwed up and pretended they did not know about these bonuses in advance.   And now they are trying to cover their tracks.

    No extreme circumstances; no extreme cases.  No tax.

    (and I'll respond right now to anyone who wants to argue whether there was a valid contract - let a court decide that.  Not Congress.)


    It seems to me (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 12:40:29 PM EST
    you are putting words in Drum's mouth that were not there. He called them "ordinary workers." they are not. they are wealthy workers.

    you appeal to fairness in arguing that there should not be a special tax in this case. why is it not fair for folks making 250k/yr and it is fair for folks making a million? Isn't it equally unfair for both?  

    Drum is simply not saying what you are saying.

    If he had said what you said, I would have a different response - to wit, the bonuses themselves were not fair in that they came from government largesse. There are people with much greater needs than these folks at AIG.

    they are lucky to have their jobs, millions do not have jobs. THAT is unfair.


    No (none / 0) (#48)
    by Maryb2004 on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 01:34:01 PM EST
    Hecalled them "fairly" ordinary, not ordinary.  And they are, in the sense that making $250,000 is not extraordinary.

    I don't see where I appealed to fairness, I said that taxing at almost 100 percent would be extraordinary. I'll rephrase and say that such an extraordinary tax should only occur in extraordinary circumstances. Tuthfully I don't think I would ever find circumstances extraordinary enough but $250,000 is not even close to extraordinary.

    What it comes down to though is that I agree with Kevin's bottom line even if we end up there through different reasoning.

    No need to respond.


    In a country in which median (5.00 / 3) (#61)
    by esmense on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 05:06:48 PM EST
    household income is only a little above $50,000, $250,000 is not "ordinary" at all -- in the sense of on a par with the incomes of the vast majority of people. This is what "ordinary" American incomes look like: In 2007,according to the Census Bureau, the median annual household income was $50,233.00. The real median earnings of men who worked full time, year-round was $45,113. For women, $35,102. In 2006, the median income per household member (including all working and non-working members above the age of 14) was $26,036. Given recent developments in the economy, it's unlikely that median income has grown by leaps and bounds since then.

    $250,000 may not be "extraordinary" -- as for instance the billions of dollars per year that a only a very limited number of people earn definitely is -- but it is extremely affluent in comparison with the household incomes of at least 80% of the population. The fact that many of these affluent earners feel poor in comparison to a small number of fabulously wealthy earners may be true -- but the assumption that because they don't enjoy the lifestyle of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet or even today's average corporate CEO, they are somehow earning and living on a par with school teachers, nurses, paralegals, or skilled union craftsmen in their region is not only untrue, it's delusional.

    One reason why many people in this affluent cohort mistake not easily being able to keep up, in terms of spending and status, with the slightly more affluent Jones next door or the much wealthier folks in the even more upscale gated community up the road, for real financial hardship is that their livelihoods depend on providing services to a limited number of people who are much richer than themselves. If you sell yachts (or financial services) to millionaires and billionaires you will have a very different idea of the nation's relative wealth, and what is required for a healthy economy, than if you provide health care or education to the poor and middle class or goods to the mass market. That distorted sense of reality can make it very hard to make intelligent decisions -- in both business and politics.


    It is extraordinary (none / 0) (#57)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 03:54:07 PM EST
    when the federal government kept them out of bankruptcy.

    You must admit that.


    What part of banned from my threads (none / 0) (#35)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 11:42:06 AM EST
    do you not understand?

    I do not care if your comment is an elogy to my brilliance, you can't make it in my threads.

    If you want to apply for reinstatement to my threads, you send me an e-mail and we will discuss it off of TalkLeft.

    In the meantime, do not comment in my threads.

    I have no intention (1.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Bemused on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 12:06:46 PM EST
     of following any commands from you. If you want to use technolgy to censor me I can't stop you, but I will not cooperate in your endeavor to hide from people challenges to your assertions which you cannot adequately address.

      Obviously, it is extemely important to you to appear as if you know far more than you actually do. If you feel the need to censor comments showing how little you know about some things go right ahead. People can draw their own conclusions as to why you have to resort to that. but, unless you take the route of preventing me from doing so i will continue to respond to your erroneous assertions and to let as many people here know when you stoop to eliminating comments because you cannot engage in meaningful debate.


    Then do not comment in my threads (none / 0) (#43)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 12:31:48 PM EST

    You state openly you will not follow my instructions.

    I'll forward this comment to Jeralyn and let her decide what to do with you.

    But I will be continuing to delete your comments and response to them from my threads.


    Erm, BTD, it's 'elegy' (none / 0) (#37)
    by jeffinalabama on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 11:47:15 AM EST
    not trying to start a fight here. I make a lot of spelling mishaps, and don't see them until I hit post.

    the 250k is for Households, not individuals at AIG (none / 0) (#38)
    by nycvoter on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 11:54:45 AM EST
    So if a spouse is making 150k and the AIG employee tops 100k with their bonus...bye bye. We're talking the NY metro area and it's not unheard of in this area with the skewed incomes and corresponding expenses of running a household.  I'm always telling my clients (as a financial advisor) that over 75k is not normal in America, but raising a family in NYC, or withing commuting distances, for under 250k can be tough for those invisioning a middle class lifestyle. (good schools,day care, a family and date night out once a week, and a vacation)

    well they still (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by lilburro on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 12:01:24 PM EST
    get to keep their 250k don't they...

    They live in CT (5.00 / 3) (#47)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 01:00:25 PM EST
    Maybe they need to find cheaper places to live.

    Oh BTW, they have jobs, a lot of people do not.

    Oh btw, FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BAILOUT! Can you think of no one more deserving of help than these folks?


    Exactly so (5.00 / 2) (#64)
    by DFLer on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 06:37:02 PM EST
    downgrade the lifestyle. Taxpayer bailout is not obligated to support that lifestyle

    Some would have gotten (none / 0) (#56)
    by nycstray on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 03:50:33 PM EST
    a spot on the unemployment line . . .

    A post (none / 0) (#69)
    by Wile ECoyote on Sun Mar 22, 2009 at 06:50:02 AM EST
    worth saving and dredging up later.

    What would their bonus have been (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 01:34:11 PM EST
    if we taxpayers hadn't bailed out AIG?

    I'll help you out.  With the tax, they get 10% of the bonus.  Without the bailout, they'd likely have gotten nothing.


    Another way of looking at this (none / 0) (#53)
    by Green26 on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 02:58:00 PM EST

    How much would the US investment in AIG have declined in value if some/many/most of these AIG employees had left the company--instead of being persuaded by the retention bonuses to stay for the rest of 2008 in order to assist in cleaning up the bad assets/situation?

    The retention bonus plan was put in place in early 2008 to encourage employees to stay at AIG. Apparently, many employees were starting to see the handwriting on the wall and making plans to leave.

    One of the things cited in the AIG white paper was that a mistake of .01% in hedging their positions would result in $600 million of losses (or maybe it was $700 million).


    You need 250k to live a MC lifestyle here? (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by nycstray on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 03:44:41 PM EST

    Humph . . . news to me, lol!~


    so making 250K + but not 500,000+ (none / 0) (#39)
    by nycvoter on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 11:58:02 AM EST
    in the NY metro area is very normal.  should be added

    Got come stats on that? (none / 0) (#55)
    by nycstray on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 03:46:08 PM EST
    Huh? (none / 0) (#46)
    by KoolJeffrey on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 12:55:21 PM EST
    ...but raising a family in NYC, or withing commuting distances, for under 250k can be tough for those invisioning a middle class lifestyle.

    You are right. They are entitled to a lower tax rate. Sheesh.


    Very sad story (none / 0) (#52)
    by ricosuave on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 02:43:33 PM EST
    Perhaps the government should give a few billion to every employer in New York so they can hand out bonuses.  God forbid they should have to switch to blended whiskey and eat conventional tomatoes.

    Sure...these folks could use some extra money.  But that's not why the government infused them with cash.  Federal money kept the company alive.  Every federal dollar that they spend on something other than the vital function they are said to provide to the US economy is a dollar wasted.  

    To put it in perspective, the bonus dollars we are talking about are a little more than half of the projected cost of the bridge to nowhere.  Should we have spent that money so that the people on the Island in Alaska would be better off as well?


    well (none / 0) (#58)
    by connecticut yankee on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 04:08:46 PM EST
    We should probably invest more in the invasion ponzi-schemes where the streets are paved with gold and the people throw gold coins and oil at us in gratitude.   That was a better plan cept for the not working bit.

    Do-Over! (none / 0) (#68)
    by Sweet Sue on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 10:09:34 PM EST
    TeresaInSnow2 and others are correct in my opinion.
    Those original contracts were invalidated the minute that AIG took TARP money and you, I and Joe Schmo bailed the corporation out with our oh so lower middle class money.