Imagine working 14-hour days — for a year — on a $1 salary with the understanding that at the end of the year, you would receive a financial reward for your hard work. Then imagine how you would react if Congress, angry mobs and a state Attorney General decided to take it all away. This is the other side of the AIG story.
The following is from a letter sent on Tuesday by Jake DeSantis, an executive vice president of the American International Group’s financial products unit, to Edward M. Liddy, the chief executive of A.I.G.
It is with deep regret that I submit my notice of resignation from A.I.G. Financial Products. I hope you take the time to read this entire letter. Before describing the details of my decision, I want to offer some context:
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 take this action after 11 years of dedicated, honorable service to A.I.G. I can no longer effectively perform my duties in this dysfunctional environment, nor am I being paid to do so. Like you, I was asked to work for an annual salary of $1, and I agreed out of a sense of duty to the company and to the public officials who have come to its aid. Having now been let down by both, I can no longer justify spending 10, 12, 14 hours a day away from my family for the benefit of those who have let me down.
Ed Morrissey's reaction:
If the public threatens the safety of their families, the Attorney General threatens to prosecute them, and Congress threatens to take the money away they got paid for not seeking employment elsewhere, why should they stay? And here’s an even better question: why should anyone take their place? Would you work for $1 a year just so you could put your children in the gunsights of lunatics doing bus tours past your house and have the state’s top prosecutor pledging to come after you with all the tools at his disposal? [snip]
This is what mob hysteria produces, and we can thank Congress and our “shaking with outrage” President for fomenting it. They’ve put people in danger who had little to do with the actual wrongdoing, and deliberately encouraged the drooling, mindless reaction around the nation. They’ve probably kneecapped any possibility of getting our money back out of AIG. I hope people enjoyed their outrage parties, because we just paid $150 billion for them.
Southpark's demented take on how the treasury system works: