3.26.2009

Mr. DeSantis leaves AIG

Jake DeSantis has famously submitted his resignation because he concluded that AIG had betrayed him and every other employee now working in AIG's Financial Products group who never profited from the ill-fated credit default swaps that subsequently wrecked the company. DeSantis believes he has earned his bonus. And he has if his account of his AIG career is at all accurate. Yet, problems remain.

First, DeSantis should have his bonus but for the fact that his company is insolvent and remains in business mostly because the Bush and Obama administrations were willing to keep it out of bankruptcy court. Why ought the taxpayers reward him and others like him when he willingly participated in this dubious enterprise?

Second, was DeSantis aware of the dangers posed by these credit default swaps? If he was, did he blow a whistle? Did he indirectly profit from this activity (by working for a company that greatly profited from this activity)?

Third, let us not forget that the relevant events occurred in a capitalist economy — in the especially brutal American system, no less. Fairness would have as much bearing on the AIG bonus situation as it had, say, on the UAW members who were forced by the crisis and political hectoring to give back additional monies and benefits. Does DeSantis believe that these men and women deserve this fate in any way at all?

While I find it easy to feel sympathy for Mr. DeSantis' plight; I also believe that the wrong he has suffered at the hands of AIG and the public pales when compared to the despair and misery one can easily find throughout the world. It is a matter of proportion. The world has more pressing problems to address than the one made public by Mr. DeSantis.

3 comments:

toronto realtor said...

This so call scandal is getting a bit too tiresome. What about the real issues? This particular issue are about millions, but there are cases involving trillions of US dollars. See here if interested: http://www.alternet.org/workplace/133228/the_real_aig_scandal%3A_how_the_game_is_rigged_at_wall_street%27s_casino/

Take care,
Elli

Stephen Zielinski said...

Speaking for myself, the hope is that the bonus matter will direct public attention to other problems and issues. But I doubt that that will happen.

One point that can be made about the DeSantis letter: Despite his better nature, DeSantis makes plain the sense of entitlement some feel because of their occupation, industry, etc. Economically he has already had a fortunate life. Others will lose far more than he relative to their life circumstances because of the AIG debacle, the greater economic crisis and the government bailouts.

Thanks for reading,

Steve

toronto real estate said...

I was thinking exactly the same the other day and the last bit of sympathy I had left for Mr DeSantis simply disappeared. Thanks for responding.

Take care,
Elli