Full of sound and fury, signifying 0.000019%

The anger over the AIG bonuses is growing, and now the President is wading in:

“Under these circumstances, it’s hard to understand how derivative traders at A.I.G. warranted any bonuses at all, much less $165 million in extra pay,” Mr. Obama said. “How do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?”

Seriously, this is what we get mad about? In December Barry Ritholtz calculated the cost of the bailout to be $8.5 trillion. A trillion is a million million. At $165 million, the AIG bonuses are 0.000019% of the total cost. Considering the amount of money that financial CEOs have blackmailed out of the U.S. government by threatening to detonate the dynamite strapped to their chests, those bonuses are nothing. Less than a drop in the bucket. A rounding error.

So, President Obama, Senator Barney Frank, and anyone else grandstanding on this: Why spend time on this issue? Because this issue is actually important? Or because this is the only thing having to do with the bailout that an economically uneducated constituency can be expected to understand? Why do I get the strange feeling that this is the Democratic version of the earmarks talking point?

This is like having a friend who finds out that her boyfriend has a baby with some other woman, doesn’t actually have a job, and has been stealing the money she’s been trying to save for the both of them, and then her biggest complaint is how he doesn’t ever buy her flowers. Goddamit, girl. Dump the fucker already.

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Tagged: economics

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