AIG bonuses - What's the fuss about?

The NYT et al are hopping mad that AIG is going to pay $165M in bonuses to execs after receiving $170B in bailouts. So freaking what?

I ask that for a couple of reasons:

  • During the debates over the various porkulus bills, Obama kept saying that people shouldn’t let some fraction they had a problem with (4-5% in the latest case) keep them from voting for the bill. Well these bonuses are around 1/10 of 1%, so if 4-5% (that meant $7-8B) wasn’t supposed to be a big deal, then why in the heck are we supposed to be concerned about 0.01% that is a measly $170M
  • Obama has claimed his program will create or save 4M jobs. So no matter how bad the job situation gets, as long as there are at least 4M still employed Obama will say that he met his goal and deserves praise. Well by the same token, can’t these execs say things at AIG would have been even worse if they hadn’t done such a great job?
  • In a similar vein, Obama blames his predecessor for leaving him a mess, blames him for everything bad, and takes credit for everything good. Can’t these execs make exactly the same claims?