Friday, March 27, 2009

My Letter to Andrew Cuomo

There's a big hullabaloo about some bonuses that are being paid out to employees at AIG. Compared to the amount of the bailout funds AIG has received, the total amount spent on bonuses is trivial--but it makes a good story, and politicians love an easy punching bag.

The combination of grandstanding politicians and sensationalist journalism has ignited a furor. AIG employees are receiving death threats. Eager to look tough on greedy executives, New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo threatened to release the names, addresses, and bonus amounts of those recieving compensation under the pretense of legal action against the company.

CNBC has a passable article on the matter, and here is an AP report.

I sent Mr. Cuomo a letter using his office's online email form.

Mr. Attorney General,

I was surprised to discover that your
office is now in the business of
blackmail and extortion. Apparently a
lot has changed back home since I left
for college; I had been under the
impression that one of your mandates was
to facilitate the enforcement of
contracts; I had thought that your
office was responsible for protecting
New York's citizens from intimidation
and fraud.

Since apparently the galling immorality
of what you've done with regards to the
AIG bonuses fiasco is totally beyond
your grasp, allow me to offer a more
practical argument. What private entity
in its right mind would enter into an
agreement with the government if the
government is allowed to unilaterally
change the terms of any agreement it
enters? By blackmailing AIG bonus
recipients--and it is blackmail,
regardless of your protestations--you
are not merely lowering yourself to the
role of a mafia thug collecting on
behalf of his boss, you are undermining
the very fabric of civilized society.

Congress very clearly misappropriated
public funds when they "bailed out" AIG.
It would be a shame if your office
compounded the mistake by turning the
rule of law into a laughingstock. Your
approach to this incident is equivalent
to an endorsement of vigilantism.

You have two choices: apologize and
reverse course, or, if you find that
your personal outrage makes you unable
to faithfully execute the duties of your
office, resign.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Grant Babcock
If you wish to give the Attorney General a piece of your mind, and I encourage you to do so, use the form here.

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