How many adjectives can we use to describe the feelings associated with the news that AIG paid $165 million in bonuses when the Federal Government spend over $170 Billion – yes, that is Billion, in bail out money to save the ailing giant?
There is outrage and many in government leadership are expressing their opinions about how they feel about the audicity of AIG to effect those payments. That said, it is also important to make sure that leadership on both sides of the isle don’t get carried away with their comments.
CNN reported the following comments:
Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa didn’t appear to be joking, however, when he spoke with Cedar Rapids, Iowa, radio station WMT.
“I would suggest the first thing that would make me feel a little better toward them [AIG executives] is if they follow the Japanese example and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say, ‘I am sorry,’ and then either do one of two things: resign or go commit suicide,” he said.
“And in the case of the Japanese, they usually commit suicide.”
Now I know that emotions are high, but come on Senator Grassley – that is political rhetoric and frankly is uncalled for. I can’t believe for a minute that Grassley would, in fact, want anyone to commit suicide. After all – we are talking about money and money can be replaced – human life can’t.
Perhaps as the night wears on cooler heads will prevail. The right and ethical thing to do is reconsider how and when bonuses should be paid to a company that – but for the help of the taxpayers – would be bankrupt and out of business. Further, more – this whole scenario should serve as a less for other businesses that line up to receive their bailout money.
Bonuses should be paid for outstanding performance. When performance is lacking and, in fact, when a company faces the very real possibility of not continuing, then different choices should be made. As a business ethics speaker, I understand Grassley’s frustration, but would hope that he would be more careful with his words. Now is the time for level headed leadership, not sound bites spoken to garner media attention.
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