From a close friend:
Spoke with a recipient of AIG bonus money this weekend (in a regional management role, not in their executive offices). He spends a lot of time meeting with senior executives of large clients convincing them to stay with AIG in what are obviously tough times for the firm. Whenever Elijah Cummings, or Barney Frank start railing against the firm (and obviously in the recent case Administration types, editorial boards, Mitch McConnell etc…), it makes it harder and harder for those companies to keep doing business with AIG, and harder for him to want to stay (and there are rival firms who would love to poach the bulk of AIG’s book of business). Similarly, another friend is a top banker at a bailed out bank that froze bonuses. He’s leaving, with many others in his group that played no part in the asset backed losses at his bank. We are running the risk of cementing a system of winners and losers, where the losers are the banks with low compensation, no skilled foreign workers, limited bonuses for profitable units, mandatory public transportation to business meetings, and required appearances to be pilloried in front of Congress. I know I wouldn’t choose to invest in companies with those attributes. Oh wait, I already have.