Stephen Spruiell at National Review Online cuts to the heart of the AIG (AIG) matter:
Ed Liddy sized up this situation when he got to AIG and came to the conclusion that the best course for taxpayers and for the financial system was to pay the bonuses. This gets back to something I wrote earlier: If Obama disagrees with Liddy’s decision, he should either A) fire Liddy, or B) fire the guy who hired Liddy (Tim Geithner). What he should not do is go along with this Kabuki outrage, in which official Washington pretends it had no idea that big financial institutions — especially failing ones — might need to keep paying their top employees competitive salaries.
We’ve of course been calling for Tim Geithner to go, but if Obama believes that AIG was an isolated, one off Geithner mistake, then at least fire Ed Liddy.
See, we keep hearing politicians use the word accountable. Transparency and accountability are the two hottest buzzwords of 2009. Well this is what accountability means. You mess up, and you get fired. It’s not that complicated. How else can a public figure be held accountable for their actions if not by losing their job?
And it’s not about petty vindictiveness or even pitchfork-populist rage. There’s just no hope that any of these bailout could work if the public feels like the game is rigged. Some folks, like Fred Wilson, are even cancelling their AIG insurance policies out of protest, even though the regular insurance side doesn’t have much to do with the AIGFP mess.
So who is it going to be? Geithner or Liddy?