Don’t miss this New York Times article about the public vilification of AIG executives. It follows yesterday’s Washington Post story on how many AIG execs are worried about being killed.
The AIG bonuses were outrageous, and Americans are justifiably furious. But between this and yesterday’s Populist Rage Tax, the pendulum has swung too far.
The A.I.G. executive who was nicknamed “Jackpot Jimmy” by a New York tabloid walked up the driveway toward his bay-windowed house in Fairfield, Conn., on Thursday afternoon. “How do I feel?” said the executive, James Haas, repeating the question he had just been asked. “I feel horrible. This has been a complete invasion of privacy.”
Mr. Haas walked on, his pink shirt a burst of colour on a slate-grey afternoon. The words came haltingly. “You have to understand,” he said, “there are kids involved, there have been death threats. …” His voice trailed off. It looked as if he was fighting back tears.
“I didn’t have anything to do with those credit problems,” said Mr. Haas, 47. “I told Mr. Liddy” — Edward M. Liddy, the chief executive of A.I.G., the insurance giant — “I would rescind my retention contract.”
True, Haas didn’t help himself with that bit about privacy. And the neighbours he asks the NYT reporter not to bother already hate him. But he also shouldn’t have to hire a security guard to stand in his driveway.
This weekend, the Connecticut Working Families Party is organising a bus tour of AIG execs’ houses, as well as AIG’s Wilton office.
“We’re going to be peaceful and lawful in everything we do,” said Jon Green, the director of Connecticut Working Families. “I know there’s a lot of anger and a lot of rage about what’s happened. We’re not looking to foment that unnecessarily, but what we want to do is give folks in Bridgeport and Hartford and other parts of Connecticut who are struggling and losing their homes and their jobs and their health insurance an opportunity to see what kinds of lifestyle billions of dollars in credit-default swaps can buy.”
As long as the CWF is indeed peaceful and lawful, that one’s fair. It should also be entertaining. We might as well confront American wealth distribution head on.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.