As Brady Dennis reports in his article for the Washington Post on the failure of the majority of AIG executives to return their bonuses, old habits are hard to break. Profit often has a way of trumping principle in corporate America. Dennis writes:
"When word spread earlier this year that American International Group had paid more than $165 million in retention bonuses at the division that had precipitated the company's downfall, outrage erupted, with employees getting death threats and President Obama urging that every legal avenue be pursued to block the payments.Does this really shock anyone?
New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo threatened to publicize the recipients' names, prompting executives at AIG Financial Products to hastily agree to return about $45 million in bonuses by the end of the year.
But as the final days of 2009 tick away, a majority of that money remains unpaid. Only about $19 million has been given back, according to a report by the special inspector general for the government's bailout program."
So why is anyone shocked that a large portion of the progressive population is distrustful of a Senate health care reform bill that both fails to offer a public option and fails to address the insurance industry's exemption from anti-trust laws? Isn't trusting the health insurance to contain consumer costs a little like asking Wall Street executives to return their bonuses?