Archive for the ‘perks’ Category

Did Obama White House Fuel AIG Bonus Mess To Enact Tougher Rules With Public Support, “Outrage”?

March 18, 2009

Despie President Obama’s many anti-big business, anti-executive and anti-Wall Street pronouncements, he never could gain much traction with the public and the congress until just this week.

That, and the view that we should “Never let a good crisis go to waste” makes one wonder why the AIG bonus crisis was left unreported until just now?

And Obama’s faux outrage at AIG reminded me of the movie “Casablanca” when Captain Renault said, “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”

Why do we have our national panties in a bunch over less then $200 million while we are spending trillions?

The answer could be that this is the crisis, the tool, the White House was waiting for to open the door to tougher standards on pay, bonuses, aircraft and other perks for an army of top executives….

This may be about government intrusion into corporate life in America much more than it is about AIG and Geithner.

But Geithner is a friend of Wall Street and Summers is a friend of both and Obama hired them both…..

Obama: Why Are We Saving Geithner and His Incestuous Relationship With Wall Street?

I mean, the president is offering in his budget to intrude upon every other corner of American life — why not the captains of Wall Street?

You don’t think the term “Big Oil” was an accident, do you?

“This is a manipulation of the media and the public, simple as that,” a long time political operative told us.  “Don’t underestimate these guys.”

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, left, President Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in the Oval Office. Rahm Emanuel is just outside the camera’s view.  Photo: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

From The New York Times, January 29, 2009:
“Obama Outraged, Calls Wall Street Bonuses ‘Shameful'”
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/30/
business/30obama.html

*************

By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, Associated Press

Cue the outrage. For months, the Obama administration and members of Congress have known that insurance giant AIG was getting ready to pay huge bonuses while living off government bailouts. It wasn’t until the money was flowing and news was trickling out to the public that official Washington rose up in anger and vowed to yank the money back.

Why the sudden furor, just weeks after Barack Obama’s team paid out $30 billion in additional aid to the company? So far, the administration has been unable to match its actions to Obama’s tough rhetoric on executive compensation. And Congress has been unable or unwilling to restrict bonuses for bailout recipients, despite some lawmakers’ repeated efforts to do so.

The situation has the White House and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on the defensive. The administration was caught off guard Tuesday trying to explain why Geithner had waited until last Wednesday to call AIG chief executive Edward M. Liddy and demand that the bonus payments be restructured.

Neither Obama nor Geithner learned of the impending bonus payments until last week, senior administration officials told The Associated Press late Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity about internal discussions.

Publicly, the White House expressed confidence in Geithner — but still made it clear he was the one responsible for how the matter was handled.

“I do know that Secretary Geithner last week engaged with the CEO of AIG to communicate what we thought were outrageous and unacceptable bonuses,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said. Gibbs declined to provide a timeline that would show when members of the administration — including the president and others at the White House — became aware of the bonuses.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Obama’s chief economic adviser Lawrence Summers said: “In the context of what we’re doing, Secretary Geithner was notified, he has said, last week. As he reported to the rest of us, he moved aggressively and immediately, aggressively and immediately, to recoup whatever could be legally recouped. He recognized that you can’t just abrogate contracts willy-nilly, but he moved to do what could be done.”

The bonus problem wasn’t new, as many lawmakers and administration officials knew only too well. AIG’s plans to pay hundreds of millions of dollars were publicized last fall, when Congress started asking questions about expensive junkets the company had sponsored. A November SEC filing by the company details more than $469 million in “retention payments” to keep prized employees.

Back then, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., began pumping Liddy for information on the bonuses and pressing him to scale them back. “There was outrage brewing already,” Cummings said. “I’m saying (to Liddy), ‘Be a good citizen. … Do something about this.’ ”

Around the same time, outside lawyers hired by the Federal Reserve started reviewing the bonuses as part of a broader look at retention and compensation plans, according to government officials who spoke on condition of anonymity. The outside attorneys examined the possibility of making changes to the company plans — scaling them back, delaying them or rescinding them. They ultimately concluded that even if AIG’s bonuses were withheld, the company would probably be sued successfully by its employees and be forced to pay them, the officials said.

In January, Reps. Joseph E. Crowley of New York and Paul E. Kanjorski of Pennsylvania wrote to the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department pressing the administration to scrutinize AIG’s bonus plans and take steps against excessive payments.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/2009031
8/ap_on_go_pr_wh/aig_what_di
d_they_know

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/0
3/18/the-kabuki-theater-of-aig-outrage/

Obama: Fire Geithner

Related:
 AIG Bonus Flap: Lawsuit to Get Back $165 M Could Cost $300 M or More

Obama White House Issues “Lamest” Confidence Statement Ever for Geithner

Amid AIG Furor, Dodd Tries to Undo Bonus Protections He and Geithner Put In

 Biden Off Mic: “Gimme a f*&$#ing break”

AIG Bonus Flap: Lawsuit to Get Back $165 M Could Cost $300 M or More

 Obama Dead Wrong On Stimulus, Caterpillar Company Jobs, Recovery

Obama, His Outrage in Legal, Political Quicksand Over AIG Bonuses?
.
Obama Wants To “Unclog Blocked Lending Arteries” — Here’s The Problem

 Finance, one of America’s great industries, being destroyed by Congress during crisis?

 Bankers Press Case Against Punitive Tax

 President, Treasury, Congress “undermining efforts to shore up the economy”

AIG Bonuses: Pure Distraction
http://axisofright.com/2009/0
3/18/aig-bonus-outrage-is-a-distraction/

http://porcupinerim.wordpres
s.com/2009/03/21/obama-spokesman/

Obama Really Against Executive Perks? Give Up Air Force One

February 5, 2009

Even Donald Trump agrees with President Obama “100%” that there should be limits on executive pay and bonuses.

Tom Daschle gave new meaning to the term “Limousine Liberal.”

Now maybe we should have a government moritorioum on all those who turn in their excessive executive perks and goodies — their overpayments and bonuses by the tax deadline on April 15, 2009.

Maybe President Obama should give up his cool executive jet or his new limo, “The Beast.”

Air Force One over Mt. Rushmore.jpg

Here’s how Scott Mayerowitz of ABC sees this…. 

America’s CEOs are coming under fire these days not just for their hefty salaries but also for their use of private jets, limos with drivers and free trips to posh resorts.
But they aren’t alone in living this lavish lifestyle — the president of United States gets all these perks and more.

And unlike some of his Cabinet appointments, he doesn’t have to pay taxes on these benefits.

It might be a bit of a stretch to compare today’s corporate titans with the commander in chief, but some Wall Street bloggers clearly upset with President Obama’s attempts to rein in executive pay are doing just that.

“Some accountability needs to be put in place. We won’t have them kicking sand in the face of taxpayers any longer,” said one private equity worker on Dealbreaker.com, a Wall Street gossip site and blog.
 

Above: Donald Trump holds a driver. Photo: AP

Read the rest from ABC:
http://abcnews.go.com/Business/CEOProfi
les/Story?id=6806414&page=1

Related:
Freedom Watch Says Obama’s Promise of Transparency Really Only Partial Promise, Partial Transparency — “Worse Than Bush”
.
White House Man Most Responsible For Air Force One Scare of NY Resigns; Investigation Ongoing, Photo Released
.
Obama White House “Dysfunction”

In this photograph released by the White House, Air Force One ...

In this photograph released by the White House, Air Force One flies over the Statue of Liberty in New York, April 27, 2009.

(AP Photo/The White House)

Daschle Symbol Of What’s Wrong With Washington

February 4, 2009

The withdrawal of former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle from consideration as secretary of health and human services follows a long tradition of “blood in the water” politics in a city infested with bipartisan sharks. But it isn’t the sharks’ fault. Politicians keep tossing them food.

The sense of entitlement among the powerful and privileged in both parties makes some people think they can live in an exclusive political neighborhood whose access is denied to others.

It was the late hotel magnate Leona Helmsley who uttered the immortal words, “We don’t pay taxes; only the little people pay taxes.” Mrs. Helmsley apparently has been reincarnated in the persons of now Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Mr. Daschle.

By Cal Thomas
The Washington Times

Mr. Geithner “forgot” to pay “only” $43,000 in back taxes and penalties. He paid the Internal Revenue Service shortly before his confirmation hearings when the “oversight” was brought to his attention.

Mr. Daschle stiffed the IRS for $128,000 (plus $12,000 interest and penalties), paying up just six days before his first Senate confirmation hearing. (He agreed to a Senate Finance Committee request to pay another $6,000 in Medicare on additional income related to a car and driver. More about that in a moment.) According to The Washington Post, Mr. Daschle waited nearly a month after his nomination before telling Barack Obama of his tax tardiness.

Mr. Daschle’s rationale again exposes what is wrong with Washington. Recall President Obama’s vow to “change the culture of Washington.” With Mr. Geithner and Mr. Daschle (and prior to them, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who withdrew his nomination for commerce secretary under pressure of a federal investigation into how his political donors landed a lucrative transportation contract), we are still waiting for “change we can believe in.”

When Mr. Daschle was Senate majority leader, one of his perks was a car and driver paid for by taxpayers. When he lost his re-election bid in 2004, Mr. Daschle was given a car and driver by the head of a private equity firm headed by entrepreneur and longtime Democratic Party donor, Leo J. Hindery Jr., according to The Post, which cites a confidential draft report prepared by Senate Finance Committee staff.

Naturally, one who had been squired around when he was a senator and public servant shouldn’t be expected to drive himself and search for his own parking spot, or worse, take public transportation. Once someone has enjoyed the power and perks of the Senate, it is difficult to come down to where the “little people” live. Perhaps some counseling would have helped.

Mr. Daschle supposedly didn’t know a luxury car service is considered income if provided by someone else. How could he not know since for many years he participated in writing – or at least voting on – tax laws the rest of us must abide by or face fines and possibly prison. Mr. Daschle also made “questionable” charitable contributions totaling $15,000, according to the Finance Committee report, which additionally lists unreported consulting fees. Not reporting income raises red flags with the IRS.

It’s not that Mr. Daschle couldn’t afford the taxes. Since leaving office, according to documents filed with the Office of Government Ethics (now there’s a contradiction), Mr. Daschle earned $2.1 million from the law firm of Alston and Bird and, since he left the Senate in 2005, $1 million a year from Mr. Hindery’s private equity firm, InterMedia Advisors. He also made money speaking to and serving on the boards of health-care organizations he would have regulated as HHS secretary.

Does anyone else see a potential conflict of interest?

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/200
9/feb/04/our-patience-taxed/