American International Group Inc. Chairman Edward Liddy says he agreed to pay bonuses to the financial products unit employees to keep the unit from collapsing.
Liddy says he understands public anger about the bonus payments, and about the government providing $173 billion in cash to keep AIG solvent, but he says the only way the government can get its money back is to stay the course.
Liddy made his comments in sworn testimony today before the House Financial Services Committee capital markets subcommittee.
The committee room and an overflow room above the committee room were packed.
A dozen photographers were waiting for Liddy at each of the two entrances he could use to come into the committee room.
Committee members on both sides of the aisle struggled to express their outrage about the bonuses in the 1 or 2 minutes allotted.
One, Rep. Paul Hodes, D-N.H., declared, “For the American public, AIG now stands for Arrogance, Incompetence and Greed.”
“Obviously,” Liddy said, “we are meeting today at a high point of public anger. I share that anger.”