Tell us what you really think Senator Grassley

March 17, 2009

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“From my standpoint, it’s irresponsible for corporations to give bonuses, at this time, when they are so sucking the tit of the taxpayer,” Grassley said at a news conference on Tuesday.

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.”

For more Reuters political news, click here.

– Photo credit: Reuters/Mike Theiler (Senator Grassley speaks at Reuters regulation summit last year)


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I think the whole government should follow Sen. Grassley’s advice they are all guilty.

Posted by Peggy | Report as abusive

Way to go Senator Grassley

Posted by Craig lehnowsky | Report as abusive

salute to sen. Grassley who is only one of politicians who made right call for those well deserved crooks at AIG and other financial institute. Those crook CEO keep saying they dont want to lose talents but where are they going if they resigned or quit? Screwing the company and US is sure gifted talent, if they do not commit suicide, at least they should forfeit entire bonus. Treasury department said we(tax payer) will lose more money if they sue us government? I will volunteer to sit in jury box and first one to throw stones at them if I ever have a chance. give me a break. all politicians and wall street crooks are all in same boat.

Posted by ihk888 | Report as abusive

Obviously the Senator doesn’t want the execs to committ suicide; rather he is speaking rhetorically about the shame that should fill these individuals. While they may be agents of their shareholders, they are also members of society and as such, have an obligation to contribute positively to society and not tear it apart. Reckless risk-taking and operating a business on bluff are shameful acts that in retrospect should fill one with a sense of deep humiliation.

Posted by Ema | Report as abusive

Way to go, Sen. Grassley! Why on earth should we worry about being “sensitive” to thieves? The bizarreness of that idea simply astounds me, we’re so worried about being PC that nothing of substance ever gets said.

At the very least, Americans who own these banks should now rid them of corporate criminals, and renegotiate ALL their contracts.

Posted by madame_zora | Report as abusive

As usual, Senator Grassley calls things as they are. He is a man who deserves respect because time and time again, he does the right, and honorable thing. While obviously a discussion of suicide should not be taken seriously, a discussion of them leaving the office they have failed at should be obvious.

We need a few more men in charge such as the Senator.

Posted by Lisa | Report as abusive

You Grassley cheerleaders, have you lost your minds? This guy voted to give the money to them in the first place. How can a quirky, sideways comment redeem someone from that? Imagine, taking money out of our children’s pockets to give these irresponsible, greedy companies, then acting outraged when they use it irresponsibly? Come on, guys.

Posted by Russ in PA | Report as abusive

wow. you and the rest of these idiots on this blog don’t get it you Sen Grassley and the gov’t gave them the money (no strings attached) they should all keep their bonus money.. do you think if they gave it back, we the taxpayers would see any of it, hell no. Obama and congress should not have bailed them out in the first place. I’m from Iowa ,and I am ashamed of Sen Grassley speaking for Iowans

Posted by Anthony Spidell | Report as abusive

Could we recall Obama and replace him with Senator Grassley? Obama is chicken little. I want a real man running this country.

Posted by Reese | Report as abusive

The witch-hut of former AIG ceo Hank Greenberg and the current set of executives is just another classic example of virulent anti-Semitism in our culture.

Posted by af | Report as abusive

What unbelievably idiotic comments from a state senator -go back to farming, you obviously don’t understand the way the business world works. Bonuses are contractual, binding agreements – lets move on and try to fix the economic crisis.

Posted by Brian R. Clark | Report as abusive

Senator Charles Grassley for Financial Czar at least. Yes, he was duped into giving these crooks at A.I.G. the dang money in the first place, but A.I.G. is now operating under the principles of “Bernie Madoff”. So, Melon-Heads, let’s get real here and concentrate on the issue at hand —gettin’ that !@#$%^&*() money back. Those people don’t deserve it, they never did, and they never will. An apology would be appropriate, and a Public-Hanging, or 100, might be entertaining … and most educational. The audacity, pomposity, and arrogance of A.I.G. executives is indescribable; I agree with the Senator.

Posted by Jeffrey B. | Report as abusive

Senator Grassley has the right idea. I think that ALL politicians that refuse to uphold our constitution and not allow our free markets to work in the way they are meant to should all fall on their swords.

Our attention to what the government is really up to is being diverted by the crooks in Washington. Wake up America, we are on the road to Socialism.

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive

why not just fire them all. Oh they have billions of positions that need to be taken off. No one likes it but no one like paying garbage men more than teachers. I think everyone is missing the point. AIG wrote protection (ie guaranteed) on bonds that went bad so they lost money. A lot of money. They owed this money to other firms like Goldman, Bank of America, Hedge funds etc. The firms were world wide and they bought this protection to protect or hedge other positions. If AIG failed then the “hedge” becomes worthless to the other firms. Then that company goes bankrupt, and then another and another and another. Then Americans have no availability to credit that they cherish. Senator Grassley is a dope.

Posted by john | Report as abusive

Since Senator Grassley was chairman of the senate finance committee when this current financial mess started. during the Republican controll of congress, perhaps he should take is own advice, resign or go commit suicide. Over the years I have heard Grassley has made big talk but done little for America.

Posted by Norm | Report as abusive