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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/29/09


"New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo yesterday announced that 18 of the 25 most senior executives at AIG Financial Products have agreed to return their bonus payments, amounting to $50 million of the pledged $165 million."
Million-dollar bonuses for AIG's economy-destroying executives.   It doesn't end there. Your tax dollars are being used by Wall Street CEOs to campaign against workers' rights. It's unbelievable, but it's true.
A bill was recently introduced in Congress called the Employee Free Choice Act that would streamline every Colorado worker's ability to organize and bargain for better pay, benefits, and a safer workplace. President Obama supports this bill because "it would level the playing field for working people and help fuel our economic recovery".
The same corporations whose private jet fleets and spa vacations are being funded by the taxpayer bailouts are now coordinating a multimillion-dollar ad blitz against the Employee Free Choice Act.
Get more information about the Employee Free Choice Act or declare your support.  It's a tangled, horrifying web, but here's how it looks:
AIG sells life and car insurance, as well as retirement pensions and health plans. But they took our money and leveraged it to trade trillions of dollars worth of derivatives that Warren Buffet called "weapons of financial mass destruction" concocted by "madmen" that would plunge into a "spiral that can lead to a corporate meltdown." This "huge-scale fraud" would be just like "hell... easy to enter and almost impossible to exit." He didn't say that after the meltdown happened--that's what he said in 2003. So the Bush Administration bailed out AIG no questions asked to the tune of $170 billion. Last week, AIG paid out over $165 million in bonuses to the top executives who created the financial house of cards that is now burning down around them. That's on top of the $55 million from September that we found out about in December, and the posh resort trips before that.
In October, three days after receiving its first bailout check for $25 billion, Bank of America hosted a conference call with at least one AIG executive for right-wing donors and activists to strategize against the Employee Free Choice Act. On that call, Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus said, "if a retailer has not gotten involved in this, if he has not spent money on this election, if he has not sent money to [former Republican Senator] Norm Coleman and all these other guys, they should be shot. They should be thrown out of their [expletive] jobs." Last week, Citigroup (recipient of a $50 billion bailout) hosted a similar call. Citigroup has so many corporate jets it formed its own private airline.
The right-wing coalition supported by AIG, Bank of America, and Citigroup reportedly plans to spend $200 million to defeat the Employee Free Choice Act. That's almost half of what all the presidential candidates combined spent on TV in 2008.
Is it an appropriate use of our own tax money to assault us on the airwaves with attack ads? Haven't these corporations done enough damage to our economy with their greed?
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Whether you call it the world financial structure, the U.S. culture of waste, or the ability of the common man to make a decent living, the system is broken. It's time for the common man to go on strike. Join or support the March on Washingon (more...)
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