Boss Limbaugh: ‘I Am All for the AIG Bonuses’ – Also Lies about Dems’ Efforts to Restrict AIG’s Corporate Pork

Just days after alleged death-squad leader Dick Cheney gave his hearty endorsement to Rush Limbaugh as the Republican Party’s new boss, Limbaugh weighed in on the controversy over $400 million in taxpayer-funded bonuses slated to be paid to derivatives traders at insurance giant AIG.

“Let me tell you something, folks. I am all for the AIG bailouts, and I am all for the AIG bonuses. Well, I’m not for the bailouts, well, in a way I’m for the bailout because I’m for the bonuses.”

On his radio rantfest yesterday, Limbaugh came out in support of corporate pork and then — after quickly retracting his support of bailouts and then just as quickly retracting the retraction — came out full force in favor of the AIG bonuses, which would use taxpayer money to reward the traders whose risky schemes crashed the world economy:

Rush Limbaugh: “Let me tell you something, folks. I am all for the AIG bailouts, and I am all for the AIG bonuses. Well, I’m not for the bailouts, well, in a way I’m for the bailout because I’m for the bonuses.”

And Rush said: “We need some perspective here. Okay, so they’ve got $170 billion in bailouts, the bonuses are $165 million. The AIG bonuses are one-tenth of 1 percent of all the bailout money, not just for AIG, but for everybody else. It’s in their contracts. What is the number-one asset any company has? It’s people. It’s employees. This $165 million in bonuses is gonna help estimate the economy. It’s going to stimulate the New York City economy, $165 million, one-tenth of 1 percent of all bailout. The populist thing to do, the popular thing to come and do here today is bang my fist and be outraged over how in the world can they use my taxpayer money this way.”

Of course, many of the traders who have received the initial $165 million in bonuses were citizens of Great Britain who worked in AIG’s London office, and so won’t be stimulating the U.S. economy. It was also revealed yesterday that after receiving these “retention bonuses,” many of the traders left AIG for greener pastures.

In this snippet from yesterday, he criticizes a senator for suggesting that AIG bonus recipients should commit suicide — conveniently omitting the fact that the senator was a Republican — and then he deliberately misstates facts about Senate Banking Chair Chris Dodd’s efforts to restrict the bonuses from being paid out:

LIMBAUGH: It’s getting so ridiculous — yesterday on radio station WMT in Cedar Rapids, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley [R].

GRASSLEY : The first thing that would make me feel a little bit better towards them, if they’d follow the Japanese example and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say, “I’m sorry.” And then either do one of two things: resign or go commit suicide.

LIMBAUGH: Did you hear that? He wants the AIG bonus recipients to go commit suicide. Now, I know, he said later we’re just talking about honor here. Honor? These bonuses were exempted by Chris Dodd in the “porkulus” bill. Dodd’s own amendment, just to remind you, provides an exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before February 11, 2009, and these are — meaning, exemption from any limits on them.

The “porkulus” bill has an executive compensation pay limit, as you know. We’re limiting executive pay. Chris Dodd put in his own bill — his own amendment — that exempts bonuses from this limitation. And he’s out there now saying tax them at 90 percent. These people are the biggest frauds, artists of deceit — they all are acting. Every damned one of them knew that this was coming. They are the architects of this. And so now Grassley goes out there, says these guys ought to commit hari-kari.

The Boss apparently “sourced” this misinformation to a FoxBusiness.com story that was misleadingly headlined, “Amid AIG Furor, Dodd Tries to Undo Bonus Protections He Put In.” Contrary to the headline, the text of the article actually reported the truth — that Dodd’s amendment to the bill actually restricted bonus compensation:

[Dodd’s amendment] did not add “protection” for bonuses or “create a loophole” without which the bonuses could not be paid. Nor did it provide an “exemption from any limits” on bonuses agreed to before February 11.

In the article, FoxBusiness.com reported, “Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) on Monday night floated the idea of taxing American International Group … bonus recipients so the government could recoup some or all of the $450 million the company is paying to employees in its financial products unit.” The article later stated: “While the Senate was constructing the $787 billion stimulus last month, Dodd added an executive-compensation restriction to the bill.” Indeed, Dodd’s amendment as introduced directed the Treasury secretary to require each Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) recipient to “meet appropriate standards for executive compensation and corporate governance”: “a prohibition on such TARP recipient paying or accruing any bonus, retention award, or incentive compensation during the period that the obligation is outstanding to at least the 25 most highly-compensated employees, or such higher number as the Secretary may determine is in the public interest with respect to any TARP recipient.”

In a shining example of how the right wing echo chamber functions, FoxBusiness.com’s false headline was dutifully picked up by GOP house organs like the Drudge Report and the Fox News Channel, who disseminated it without challenge to the right-wing radio talkers and the conservative blogosphere, where the lie will masquerade as the truth for years to come.

6 Comments

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  • Calgal
    March 18, 2009 - 8:05 am | Permalink

    If Boss Limburger is an example of the GOP’s intellectual elite (and he is cuz Boss Cheney said so), especially after these types of convoluted rants, then it explains a lot about the past 8 tortuous years.

  • March 18, 2009 - 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Limbaugh is done. This is a populist uprising and he’s on the wrong side.

  • nikolai
    March 18, 2009 - 1:05 pm | Permalink

    There are 2 things I don’t get about the AIG (or any other bailout banks) bonuses;

    1. Isn’t a bonus supposed to be for a job WELL done?

    2. The handful of times I received a bonus, 50% was immediately taken off the top for taxes, but I understand that the AIG execs are getting to keep ALL of theirs!

    What am I missing here? I don’t understand ANY of this AIG bonus nonsense!

  • ZZDoug
    March 18, 2009 - 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Limbaugh will never “be done”. In the talk show game, all it takes is a few million loyal listeners and you can laugh all the way to the bank. Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck etc all tell their audience what they want to hear. Whether its true or not is irrelevant, hence the title of a book Limbaugh once wrote – “The Way Things Ought To Be”. Conservatives dont really want to know the truth if it contradicts the way they think things ought to be. If you dont believe it, try telling a Limbaugh fan the truth. Even when you point out the actual proof they wont believe you.

  • March 18, 2009 - 10:28 pm | Permalink

    ZZDoug ~ Exactly … A gop / con. talker could be a convicted of mass murder and be in jail and their droid audience would still listen.

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