Robert Benmosche (Bloomberg News)
AIG's CEO Robert Benmosche -- who came in to rescue the company after the 2008 financial crisis -- told the Wall Street Journal that the outrage over the bonuses promised to AIG's members was just as bad as when white supremacists in the American South used to lynch African Americans:
The uproar over bonuses "was intended to stir public anger, to get everybody out there with their pitchforks and their hangman nooses, and all that -- sort of like what we did in the Deep South [decades ago]. And I think it was just as bad and just as wrong."Yes, enduring some public criticism for receiving multimillion-dollar bonuses after helping crash the global economy is a lot like being hanged from a tree by your neck until you die.
These kinds of sentiments don't emerge in a vacuum. Benmosche is expressing a view that was pretty common back in 2010 and 2011, when it was kind of a thing for members of the besieged 1 percent to compare public anger over their compensation to the way Nazi Germany treated the weak. There was supermarket mogul John Catsimatidis:
"Taxes are going to go up regardless. What I'm afraid of is, we shouldn't punish any one group. Whether we're punishing people who are wealthy," he said. "New York is for everybody; it's for the poor, it's for the middle-class, it's for the wealthy. We can't punish any one group and chase them away. We - I mean, Hitler punished the Jews. We can't have punishing the '2 percent group' right now."...