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Argument: Most AIG employees are blameless and earned bonuses

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Supporting quotations

Jake DeSantis, an executive VP in AIG's financial products unit. "Dear A.I.G., I Quit!". New York Times (Op-ed). March 24, 2009 - 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 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.

Wayne Outten. "Opinion: In Defense Of The AIG Bonuses". CNBC. March 23, 2009 - Most of the AIG employees did not receive the million-dollar payments featured in news coverage. Most are hard-working middle-income employees who undertook—on the terms set before the bailouts—to help AIG survive through 2008. And most of them were not personally responsible for taking unreasonable risks, making bad deals, or causing huge losses; they were not the decision-makers. Yet, they are all being painted with the same brush. And even those who might bear responsibility for AIG’s problems or who received huge payments should not be subjected to vilification, invasions of privacy, confiscatory taxation, and threats of violence.

Rush Limbaugh. "The Last Man Standing Speaks in Defense of AIG Bailout Bonuses." March 16, 2009 - The ones who got the bonuses did so on the basis of sales success. These were reported as merit bonuses that they are contractually permitted to get.

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