AIG bonuses reveal human greed

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 March, 2009, 12:00am

The financial crisis has brought down many companies and thousands of people are losing their jobs every month.

The US government spent a lot of money to save some companies from collapse. One such beneficiary was the American International Group (AIG) which has received huge amounts of government financial aid.

But AIG used taxpayers' money to hand out US$165 million in bonuses to its employees. This is a violation of basic business ethics and shows how selfish and greedy people are.

AIG has treated the government bailout as a gift from taxpayers and everyone is angry about it.

But the real losers from the financial crisis, and the economic meltdown that followed, are the ordinary people. Social problems arise when companies collapse and people lose their jobs. There could be family quarrels with tragic consequences.

I hope we don't have to bear this pain for too long.

Tony To Tin-yu

From the Editor

Thanks for your letter, Tony. Many people were shocked at the news of the AIG bonuses. Of course it is deeply unfair for the people who managed the company, and were responsible for its financial situation, to be rewarded. Many people did not get any bonuses at the end of the year because of the financial crisis.

But, AIG is not the only company to have done this. Many of the banks and companies awarded bailout money have paid bonuses to their staff. Now the US government wants to tax the bonuses given to employees of those companies who received government aid. The House of Representatives wants to tax it as much as 90 per cent, while the Senate only wants to tax it by 30 per cent.

It certainly seems as if US President Barack Obama has his hands full.

Susan, Editor