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Congress' reaction to AIG bonuses -- am I the only one concerned?
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Thu, 19 Mar 2009 20:42:27 -0400



Begin forwarded message:

From: Mary Shaw <mary.shaw () gmail com>
Date: March 19, 2009 7:46:27 PM EDT
To: dave () farber net
Subject: Re: [IP] Congress' reaction to AIG bonuses -- am I the only one concerned?

Assuming that the bonuses are indeed outrageous under the standard of your choice, I would far rather see the contracts invalidated directly than go down the path of writing special punitive legislation. I'm not a contract lawyer, but can't contracts be invalidated if they're contrary to the public interest?

Better, of course, would have been to provide government subsidies only to companies that have used up all of their own resources, including resources that might be used for junkets and bonuses, and to cap total compensation, no matter how packaged or disguised.

Mary Shaw

On Thu, Mar 19, 2009 at 6:13 PM, David Farber <dave () farber net> wrote:


Begin forwarded message:

From: "Savage, Christopher" <ChrisSavage () dwt com>
Date: March 19, 2009 5:25:43 PM EDT
To: <dave () farber net>
Subject: RE: [IP] Congress' reaction to AIG bonuses -- am I the only one concerned?

Dave:

A few points:

1.  Any comments about whether the bonuses were or were not appropriate
under the contracts are without foundation unless one has read the
contracts.

2.  Even if the bonuses were paid in accordance with the contracts, that
does not mean that the contracts themselves are valid and enforceable.
There are any number of possible grounds for attacking them in the
abstract although, again, without seeing the contracts and knowing the
circumstances, it's hard to know which if any might apply.

3.  Lauren's comments assume that the individuals who received the
bonuses were, in effect, innocent of wrongdoing, either with respect to
the underlying mess or with respect to what would be needed to clean it
up.  If that is true then he might have a point.  I have not seen
information to show that it is true, however.

Chris S.


-----Original Message-----
From: David Farber [mailto:dave () farber net]
Sent: Thursday, March 19, 2009 5:19 PM
To: ip
Subject: [IP] Congress' reaction to AIG bonuses -- am I the only one
concerned?

I disagree djf

Begin forwarded message:

From: Lauren Weinstein <lauren () vortex com>
Date: March 19, 2009 2:04:08 PM EDT
To: dave () farber net
Subject: Congress' reaction to AIG bonuses -- am I the only one
concerned?


Dave,

I can't be the only person feeling increasingly disturbed by Congress'
reaction to the obnoxious AIG bonuses controversy.

I believe we all pretty much agree that the bonuses were utterly
inappropriate to be contracted when they were ... but the fact is that
they *were* contracted, and work was done on the basis of those
contracts (much of which is now completed, and the relevant persons
departed as planned).  We now know it was the Obama Treasury
Department that requested the language honoring those bonuses (despite
righteous indignation we're hearing now from the administration about
the bonuses -- after the story blew up).

It's particularly chilling to hear Congress talking about special
targeted 90% or 95% taxes to try suck back the bonuses from
individuals at this stage of the game.  It's completely appropriate to
recover the funds from AIG, but retroactively going after the
individuals who worked under legal contract terms -- in expectation of
being paid under those terms -- seems to me to set a terrible
precedent.  Emotions are running wild over logic.

I'm a big supporter of Obama, but the AIG situation seems to me to
have become overly personalized, and now members of Congress are
trying to out posture each other with "get tough" reactions, some of
which seem to be very poorly thought out (surprise! surprise!) and
could do even more damage.

Am I alone in thinking that the situation is becoming chaotic, with
many of the negative ramifications associated with such chaos?

--Lauren--
Lauren Weinstein
lauren () vortex com
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800
http://www.pfir.org/lauren
Co-Founder, PFIR
 - People For Internet Responsibility - http://www.pfir.org
Co-Founder, NNSquad
 - Network Neutrality Squad - http://www.nnsquad.org
Founder, GCTIP - Global Coalition
 for Transparent Internet Performance - http://www.gctip.org
Founder, PRIVACY Forum - http://www.vortex.com
Member, ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
Lauren's Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com






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