Editor's note: Some comments from readers have been edited for clarity or length.The poster child for federal bailouts, AIG ( AIG), which earlier this month declared the largest corporate loss in history, said it will pay hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses to certain employees. The beneficiaries include those at a business unit that was responsible for losing billions last year and positioned the company to require more than $170 billion in federal aid. AIG argues that bonuses are necessary in order to retain people who can help solve the problems plaguing the insurer, but Washington isn't pleased, and neither are our readers. Here's what some of you had to say:
- "It is unfair for executives to get massive bonuses even if they were promised last year. Times change, and conditions change. An employee loses his job, or loses matching funds for his or her 401K. A stockholder gets a dividend cut. Executives should not be immune to getting bonus reductions, especially if they permitted the greed without 'blowing the whistle.'" -- Robert C. "The fact that the management of AIG would even consider bonuses for the executives should be grounds for retracting the proposed continued bailout and the dismissal of the current management." -- Charles N. "It appears that the management needs to be replaced." -- Ed T. "Legal contracts don't justify bonuses. Only good performance should justify a reward. As a taxpayer, I want our administration to take back the $$$ that we gave to AIG. Let AIG file bankruptcy, and then let the courts sort out who gets bonuses. If our federal government can indemnify the bank's toxic assets, who needs AIG anyway?" -- John A. "The company posted biggest lost ever last quarter and they still give out bonuses. This is the last straw, let the company fail." -- Tom D. "In my opinion, they should give those bonuses back and suffer like everybody else. They were responsible for the mistakes leading to the bailout, and now they are compensated for their mistakes." -- Gladys S.