Tell us what you really think Senator Grassley
WASHINGTON – How outraged can they be?
U.S. lawmakers are clearly outraged by the $165 million in bonuses being paid to executives at bailed-out insurer American International Group. For the last two days, they’ve been talking about it in press releases, at news conference and in speeches on the floor of the Senate and House.
But no one says it more colorfully and more bluntly than Republican Senator Chuck Grassley — so far.
Grassley, an Iowa farmer, is most likely just channeling what many taxpayers are thinking.
The U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve has put up to $180 billion at AIG’s disposal to keep them afloat and prevent the insurance giant from sinking the global financial system. The company said it had contract obligations to pay out some $165 million in retention bonuses to employees.
Grassley on Monday had some other colorful comments about AIG executives saying they should perhaps adopt what he called the Japanese approach to taking responsibility for their actions and “resign or go commit suicide.”
He pulled back from that “rhetoric” saying he obviously does not want people to kill themselves.
But Grassley says executives at AIG and other companies that ran to the government for money after “running their corporations into the ground” owe U.S. taxpayers an apology and ought to consider resigning.
Grassley’s Senate office phones have been ringing off the hook since the suicide remark with about half the callers saying his remarks were insensitive and half agreeing with him, an aide said.
Grassley also received numerous comments of praise on his Facebook page, including one who lauded that the senator “had the guts to stand up and say what the taxpayers are thinking.”
– Photo credit: Reuters/Mike Theiler (Senator Grassley speaks at Reuters regulation summit last year)