AIG Gives Million Dollar Bonuses To Execs, Tasteful 'Thank You' Card To White House
After receiving close to $170 billion in bailout money, mega-insurance company American International Group (AIG) promptly paid almost all of its top executives "well-deserved temporary one-time salary raises" of over $1 million apiece.
In order to recognize the American taxpayers for paying their salaries, the company bought a thank you card from a local Rite-Aid pharmacy and mailed it to the White House.
The Enduring Vision was granted exclusive access to the card, which is made of 100% recycled cardboard. The front reads "To someone special", and the inside contains the following message:
"Dear America: Hey, how's it going? We just wanted to send a quick thank you for helping pay our bonuses during this time of need. We know you sacrificed a lot, and we appreciate everything. Sincerely, your pals, AIG. P.S. -- we stimulated the economy by buying this card, so... we're probably pretty even now."
The card is signed by over 60 AIG employees -- each of whom signed their names with 24 karat gold leaf -- including Edward Liddy, chairman and CEO of the company.
"We felt the need to express how thankful we at AIG are to America," said Liddy in a press conference to discuss the card, "because without the bailout money, we would have definitely had to declare bankruptcy, and I'm pretty sure you can't give bonuses when you're bankrupt, because of a strange condition, unfamiliar to me, that occurs when you don't have any more money."
Preempting critics who hate greeting cards, Liddy also said that the executive bonuses were necessary to keep the firm's top talent from going elsewhere in today's hot financial services job market.
"You need to pay top dollar to keep guys like these. Had they not been around during this recent crisis, we may have been in real danger of needing some more government money. More than we already got."
Liddy added that, on a "completely unrelated note", 11 executives departed the company immediately after receiving their bonuses.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that President Obama, who has up to this point condemned the bonuses, is "deeply touched" by AIG's card, and has decreed that the card be permanently displayed in a case on the White House lawn.
"Obviously, since the card is addressed to America, everyone in America deserves to see the card," said Gibbs, wiping a tear from his eye. "I've never seen anything like this. It's just beautiful."
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill were so excited by the card that most of them skipped work on Tuesday. They thronged to see the card and have their photos taken with it, waiting up to eight hours in line.
"I think that without us here in Washington, none of this would have happened," said a proud Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "If anyone should get to keep this card, it should be all of us in Congress. We are so awesome."