Dear AIG-FP Sr. Vice President Jake DeSantis

An AIG executive is a bit upset, because he feels that he (and other high level execs at AIG) are being hung out to dry by CEO Edward Liddy in the interest of political expediency.

Commentary By: Richard Blair

Dear Mr. DeSantis:

I read your resignation letter to AIG CEO Edward Liddy, which was published in the New York Times on my birthday, 3/24/2009. Having just turned 55, and being currently unemployed and living check to check, I thought you might be interested in my reaction.

The sense of entitlement that you express is absolutely astounding, and beyond the logical comprehension of a lifelong prole such as myself. You state:

I take this action after 11 years of dedicated, honorable service to A.I.G. I can no longer effectively perform my duties in this dysfunctional environment, nor am I being paid to do so. Like you, I was asked to work for an annual salary of $1, and I agreed out of a sense of duty to the company and to the public officials who have come to its aid…

Excuse me if I don’t choke up with sympathy, Mr. DeSantis. I have no doubt that during your “11 years of dedicated, honorable service”, you were very handsomely rewarded for your efforts, both in salary and past bonuses. I haven’t even googled your name, but I imagine that you live in a very nice home in a prestigious zip code, and that you hold title to at least one or two other vacation homes in equally toney neighborhoods. You probably drive multiple high end, imported vehicles, have multiple tax-sheltered bank accounts and financial instruments, and have never had to make the choice between feeding your family or paying the electric bill or cutting your pills in half to stretch out a medication prescription. It’s probably also safe to assume that you have a hired staff to attend to your family’s many needs and routine, mundane household chores.

So when you say:

I and many others in the unit feel betrayed that you failed to stand up for us in the face of untrue and unfair accusations from certain members of Congress last Wednesday and from the press over our retention payments, and that you didn’t defend us against the baseless and reckless comments made by the attorneys general of New York and Connecticut…

As most of us have done nothing wrong, guilt is not a motivation to surrender our earnings. We have worked 12 long months under these contracts and now deserve to be paid as promised. None of us should be cheated of our payments any more than a plumber should be cheated after he has fixed the pipes but a careless electrician causes a fire that burns down the house…

… I have to conclude that my personal sense of outrage over the bonus that you (and your fellow AIG executives) were scheduled to receive was justified. It’s crystal clear that you are disconnected from the social and political reality around you. The gravy train has been running on time for years, but by all appearances, when it ran off the tracks in 2008 your company continued to try and grease the rails for AIG executives who were already riding in first class.

Meanwhile, millions of Americans (including me) who were working as hourly wage slaves or in minimally salaried supervisory roles lost their jobs because of the recklessness of companies like AIG. So now, you resign and whine to your CEO via an editorial in the New York Times?

I’m sorry, but I just can’t feel the love for ya, Jake. As I try to figure out how I’m going to make it to next week, my sympathy meter just isn’t moving in your direction.

If you feel I’m alone in my lack of compassion for your situation, you might want to check out political cartoonist David Rees’ opinion:

Pay me $700,000 a year, or however much the AIG guy whining in today’s New York Times made, and you can threaten me with death all goddamn day. Because do you have any idea how much money that is??? Hell, I’ll let you throw rocks at me. I’ll let you poison my soup. You can slash my tires and spray-paint my driveway. AND ONCE I GET ALL THAT MONEY, I’M TOTALLY PAYING OFF SOME STUDENT LOANS AND FIXING THE GARAGE ROOF AND BUYING SOME NEW PANTS. Because that’s an insane amount of money.

I know, I know, Jake. It’s sad. To folks like you, $700,000 is chump change that can be given away in a fit of angst, and then reclaimed next April as a tax deduction. The unwashed (such as Mr. Rees or myself) just don’t understand. Perhaps you could do a little house shopping in Florida this weekend to sooth your wounded soul.

At the end of the day, though, I thank you for bringing the plight of the perceived injustice you’ve experienced to our collective attention, and I wish you luck in your job search. Sorry I have to cut this short, but maybe I’ll see you down at the local Wal-Mart and we can further discuss your anger. I hear they’re hiring part time stocking help for the night shift, and I need to rush out and get in the application line.

Best regards,

Richard Blair

Thursday, March 26th, 2009 by Richard Blair |

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