It's simply wrong for the Treasury Department to break its own rules and allow bonuses to executives of three businesses -- AIG, General Motors, and Ally Financial -- that were bailed out by U.S. taxpayers.
But that's exactly what Patricia Geoghagen, Treasury's special master for compensation, did for 2012. According to Christy Romero, special inspector general for the Troubled Assets Relief Program, $6.2 million in pay raises were given to these bailed-out businesses. One AIG executive was provided a $1 million pay raise. It bears noting that AIG, a firm largely responsible for the Great Recession, was bailed out by taxpayers to the tune of $182 billion.
This is so wrong on so many different levels. It's not the first time TARP inspectors have discovered that Treasury has allowed executives at bailed-out firms to get these lavish pay increases. From 2009 to 2011, seven bailed-out businesses avoided specific pay restrictions. It's outrageous that the Treasury Department, which is supposed to care about the interests of taxpayers, allows these companies to avoid restrictions on pay that were set as rules that they needed to abide by in order to be bailed out.
Treasury officials excused the pay raises, claiming that the executives who got the extra cash deserved the raises because they were either losing their jobs or retiring. What a nauseous explanation. We doubt a similar amount of concern, and dollars, were lavished on the millions of taxpayers who lost their jobs or saw their retirements decimated the past several years.
"We expect Treasury to look out for taxpayers who funded the bailout of these companies by holding the line on excessive pay," Romero told the Washington Post.
Good luck with that high ideal. It's become apparent that the Treasury's main concern is with those who borrowed billions from the taxpayers.