Big Failures, Big Bonuses

We all should have Ed Liddy's problems.

Ed's the CEO of American International Group (AIG), the insurance giant and this week's bailoutrage. Though kept afloat by $170 billion in taxpayer dollars, Ed still has one big worry that keeps him awake nights: How to retain the AIG staff through all this turmoil. These are people whose derivative trading skills nearly sank the company, taking the global economy with it.

The answer, of course, was bonuses. Big bonuses. Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of bonuses.

By rewarding failure, AIG could set a whole new trend.

For instance, what about Michael Steele, the chair of the Republican National Committee? Get the bonus money ready or they might lose him to Planned Parenthood.

What about some of those southern governors, such as Texas' Rick Perry and Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, who are staving off efforts by the federal government to ease the suffering of their laid-off workers? While jobless families worry about having food on the table and a roof over their heads, Perry and Jindal focus laser-like on a possible burden on business if their states accept money to provide extended unemployment benefits. If not bonus checks, Perry and Jindal are in line for some healthy campaign contributions next election.

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford should get recognition. He rejected $700 million allocated to his impoverished state for education and health care.

And we can't forget the recent rants against earmarks. There should be bonuses for Congressional Republicans who claim they tried to save taxpayers billions of dollars. When the smoke had cleared after debate over the $410 billion spending bill, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell said his fellow Republicans "tried to cut the bill's cost" but everyone of their money-saving ideas were ignored. Never mind that six out of the top ten Senate earmark porkers are Republicans—McConnell himself had 53 earmarks costing $73 million.

Doesn't former Gov. Rob Blagojevich (remember him?) deserve a bonus for saving Illinois a costly special election by naming Roland Burriss (remember him?) to the Obama-vacated Senate seat? (That could be a two-fer with Burriss as the pick).

What about CNBC's Jim Cramer who brought an Animal House quality to his financial reporting of Bear Stearns and other Wall Street firms he apparently knew nothing about?

And the SEC certainly deserves a bonus for sleeping through Bernard Madoff's $50 billion Ponzie swindle.

Maybe there should be a special bonus for Twitter. Twittering keeps Congress awake and out of mischief during presidential speeches.

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