So I get that President Barack Obama is all outraged at A.I.G. paying out many millions in bonuses to a bunch of its execs. “This is a corporation that finds itself in financial distress due to recklessness and greed,” Obama said, according to this Pacific Business News story. “Under these circumstances, it’s hard to understand how derivative traders at A.I.G. warranted any bonuses, much less $165 million in extra pay. How to they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping this company afloat?”
But using that same line of thinking, how does Obama justify making a man like Lawrence Summers his chief economic adviser? In the late 1990s, Summers (as I previously blogged here) played a key role in making sure the government didn’t regulate derivatives in the first place. How does Obama justify that outrage to the voters who elected him to clean up the mess in Washington that led to the current economic crisis?