Can AIG Pay Me a Bonus?

04/18/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I just got the bill to renew our corporate insurance policy. Normally, I pay it without a problem. I had always felt assured to know that, as a small business, we have the security of a giant, established company behind us. Yes, you guessed it. AIG is our insurance company.

As an early stage, growing business, we are pouring everything into the company. My partner and I haven't taken salaries in over a year. It's been challenging, but we, like so many other entrepreneurs, think that managing cash flow wisely in these tough times is smart business sense. We believe that our upside will come when we have hit our goals and we are willing to make sacrifices in the short term to get there.

The front page of New York Times had an article over the weekend that quoted Edward M. Liddy, the government-appointed chairman of A.I.G., on why the bonuses need to be paid:

"We cannot attract and retain the best and the brightest talent to lead and staff the A.I.G. businesses -- which are now being operated principally on behalf of American taxpayers -- if employees believe their compensation is subject to continued and arbitrary adjustment by the U.S. Treasury"

If it was the "best and the brightest" who got us into this mess, I'll take the "worst and the dumbest". Maybe they have a way out and they'll definitely be a lot cheaper!

In the meantime, can I take the money that I owe AIG for our insurance premium and pay myself a bonus?