U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), a member of the Banking Committee released the following statement on bonuses paid out by AIG, the insurance giant that also has benefited from a government rescue plan:
“These bonuses are an insult to families who are trying to survive the economic crisis by saving every penny and changing their way of life. They have every right to be furious that AIG is taking their tax dollars while carrying on with what can only be described as business as usual – particularly when business as usual helped put us in this mess.
“President Obama is right to have his administration search every legal means available to try to block these bonuses, and I will help push similar efforts in the Senate. The question must be asked: If unions can be expected to renegotiate contracts to help save companies or industries, then why can’t companies do the same with their executives during this crisis?
“We have to make sure that Wall Street is using taxpayer money in a responsible manner. Perhaps equally as important, we have to make sure that some on Wall Street don’t further erode the confidence of the American people by failing to recognize the need for shared sacrifice. There is a fundamental and troubling disconnect between the realities that families across this country are living through and how some on Wall Street are acting like there is no crisis.”
Senator Menendez also appeared yesterday afternoon on the MSNBC program “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue” with host David Shuster to discuss his feelings on the AIG bonuses.