The anger and outrage over $165 million in bonuses paid out to American International Group (AIG) executives has many upset and outraged, but it also has some scratching their head wondering where that same emotion is over the entire government spending/bailout culture that has encapsulated Washington, D.C.
Earlier on March 17, CNBC reporter Rick Santelli suggested on CNBC's "Squawk Box" some of this outrage could be purely political. However, liberal talk radio host Ed Schultz said on MSNBC's March 17 "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," host by David Shuster, this "outrage" is welcomed by President Barack Obama.
"David, I think the Obama administration wants this public outrage," Schultz said. "It's an issue of timing right now. They couldn't have stopped the money to AIG."
As was the case over the last eight years with any problem, Schultz instinctively blamed former President George W. Bush's administration for the AIG bonus fiasco and specifically named Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
"That was a done deal back in the Bush administration," Schultz said. "So, all this money that's been dished out - really I think the guy that's got to answer a lot of questions is Ben Bernanke. He's the one that brought the financial heads in the Congress together - the Senate Majority Leader and also the House Majority Leader - and this crew and said, ‘Look this is what we're going to do for AIG.'"
However, Fox Business News reported on March 17 that it was an amendment from Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn. that made it possible for the bonuses to be paid out to these executives, despite the AIG having been an institution that received TARP bailout money.
"While the Senate was constructing the $787 billion stimulus last month, Dodd added an executive-compensation restriction to the bill," Rich Edson wrote. "The provision, now called ‘the Dodd Amendment' by the Obama Administration, provides an ‘exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009' -- which exempts the very AIG bonuses Dodd and others are now seeking to tax."
Nonetheless, Schultz continued to put the blame on the former administration."They should have been telling the Congress exactly what was going to happen with these bonuses," Schultz said. "It's a lack of passing on of information. I would like to know if George W. Bush knew about these bonuses."