Dear Mr. Edward Liddy and AIG Financial Products unit in London,
As Capitol Hill erupts with partisan crossfire and accusations over your $165 million bonus money, and lawmakers try to legislate and tax their way out of this colossal conundrum, I have also been sitting in my Washington office thinking about your 418 individual bonuses totaling around $165 million. I know, I know, it is not even half a percentage point of the $170 billion in bail out money, and ordinary people don't get that you are top notch talent, despite the slip up that brought down AIG, but hear me out.
You see, that trip to the Seychelles, the bigger house in Primrose Hill, and dinners at Nobu London are not going to help you through, especially if your names become public. (Personally, I would be more worried about a 14-year-old hacker posting you name and addresses on the internet than Governor Cuomo going public, the most vigorous and boisterous finger wagging from John Boehner, or tongue lashing by Timothy Geithner. They are WAY too invested and connected. I mean where they are going to go when they leave the government if not a recovered Wall Street or a lobbying firm with Wall Street ties? ). Ah but I digress, let me get back to my advice for you on "How to Spend it?", one of my favorite sections in the Weekend Financial Times. I really want them to do a special section just for you! Of course, they can include the Victorian cameo necklaces for £12,750, earrings for £74,000, silk dress for £4,255 and such, featured earlier this month. But, here are my suggestions of items to also be included especially for the AIG trader who wants to protect his or her person should the 14-year-old computer hacker succeed in making your names public. If the 418 of you in the Financial Products division in the London office get together, you could:
• Give 27,500,000 children bed nets to prevent malaria, the biggest killer of children under age 5 in Africa ($5.93 per treated net)
• Provide clean water for 18,333,333 children in developing countries for a year. ($9 per year) UNICEF $1 for 40 days = $9 for 365 days
• Provide 137,500,000 children with tetanus vaccines at $1.20 per shot - a leading cause of more than 1/3 of child deaths.
• Buy AIDS drugs to that keep 452,054 children alive for a year at $1 dollar per child per day.
• Put 6,346 foster children through 4 years of college in the US at $26,000.
• Feed 6953 families of four for a year at $779 per month (Official USDA Food Plans: Cost of Food at Home Low-Cost plan, U.S. Average, January 2009)
• Send 550,000 poor kids to summer camp ($300 dollars a week for day camp)
• Pay for 4,125,000 swim lessons ($40 per lesson)
• Pay for 866,666 impoverished kids to spend the day at to Disney world at $75 a day
I know, not nearly as fun as months in the Seychelles, or a very posh new pad to demonstrate what a smashing success you are, AND saving dying children in Africa (or anywhere else) is SO last year, BUT this could be your salvation. I mean think about it, either in the real purgatory, or the hell on earth that would be created by the 14-year-old hacker making your names public. Donating at least some of the money to charity could be a brilliant preemptive PR move to neutralize your current out of touch if not demonic collective public persona.
Think of it this way, putting at least some of your money toward these poor sod's survival could be the very thing that could ensure your very own survival.
Global Action for Children