0558: "1000 Times"

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kevpar
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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby kevpar » Fri Mar 20, 2009 5:17 am UTC

What you have to consider is that for some of us, perhaps 30 seconds with your daughter and a night with her are the same thing. . .
>_>

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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby AvalonXQ » Fri Mar 20, 2009 5:26 am UTC

gomerwerle wrote:The bonuses, while legal, were greedy in nature and undeserved.


We have no way of knowing that. We don't know who's getting the bonuses (other than none of the highest-level execs are getting any of it), and we don't know how much of the "bonuses" is actually commission-based salaries and other appropriate payments. We don't have enough information to call it "greedy" or "undeserved".
The bail-out was stupid, but having given them the money, there's no reason to believe that this isn't an appropriate way to spend some of it. These "bonuses" have always been part of AIG's compensation schemes, and many employees depend on them. If you don't want AIG to spend your money as AIG always has, don't bail it out.

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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby Moz » Fri Mar 20, 2009 5:26 am UTC

Amarsir wrote:To her credit, I heard Patty Ann Browne on FoxNews read it as "billion with a 'B'" which I think is the best way to emphasize.

$170 billion with a bee? What do they need a bee for? I don't want my tax dollars paying for their apian fetish!

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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby toysbfun » Fri Mar 20, 2009 5:32 am UTC

H2SO4 wrote:And I also like how people wave off all the earmarks going towards worthless things because "It's less than 2% of the total spending money." Who cares how much it is? It's still there! And 2% of a billion dollars--er, sorry--$1,000,000,000 is still $20,000,000. That's more than most Americans will make in their lifetime. Now multiply that by 170. That's some money that doesn't need to be spent. I read somewhere that for every $1,000,000,000 spent by government, that's about $8 out of YOUR pocket. Now, let's see...$410,000,000,000 Omnibus plus....$787,000,000,000 Stimulus....Carry the one...$9,576 in his first three months of YOUR money that he has spent! That can get you a new car! Pay for your own health insurance that he's so keen on you getting! A lot of groceries!

Not my money. Somebody else's grandchildren's money.


H2SO4 wrote:Pretty much, I think that debt to counteract debt is NOT the solution. You know more than the government when it comes to spending your money.

Didn't we get into this mess because people didn't know how to spend money any better than the government?

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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby Relssek » Fri Mar 20, 2009 5:44 am UTC

With all these large sums of money being thrown around it is hard to imagine what the hell all that money amounts to physically. So to put our national debt in perspective if we were to stack up $11 trillion in $1 denominations we could make approximately three towers of cash from the Earth to the Moon. Thought this was pseudo relative with today's comic.

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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby eryksun » Fri Mar 20, 2009 5:45 am UTC

The bonuses are just a political distraction from the information released about AIG's counterparties. Goldman Sachs, of which Henry Paulson is a former CEO, was at the top of the list with $13 billion paid out, getting 100 cents on the dollar. These billions are being paid out for side bets (CDS, credit default swaps) on defaulted asset-backed securities (e.g. CDOs) that were fraudulently given AAA ratings. Management at Citibank, Bank of America, and Sachs had to know that AIG didn't have the reserves to cover these bets. They knew the mortgages were predatory and destined to default; they knew the AAA ratings on the CDOs were a scam; and they knew the CDS bets were equally a scam. But they all knew they were "too big to fail" and the Treasury and the Fed would come running to their rescue with trillions in handouts and loans. 165 million in bonues? Try 1.4 trillion in taxpayer debt (and probably more before that former NY Fed weenie Tim Geithner is satisfied) and 2 trillion handed out the back door of the Fed. This is all a big scam, and many of the perpetrators and instigators are currently at the helm (e.g. Larry Summers). I want to know where the AIG counterparty money is going. Forget quibbling over bonuses; these white-collar criminals should be tried and sentenced to prison. This fiasco makes Enron look relatively benign. The cretins coming out of our Ivy-League schools apparently skipped Ethics 101. It's time for them to learn the hard way.

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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby balrog0517 » Fri Mar 20, 2009 5:50 am UTC

I agree that the media and our "leaders" in Washington conflate big numbers, sometimes out of ignorance, sometimes to create a false drama. However, the real and valid point is that these bonuses are rewarding precisely the people who screwed the pooch in the first place.

Having said that, if I understand the Constitution correctly at all, this 90% tax rate bill that is now working its way through Congress is an unconstitutional "Bill of Attainder" and will, if we are in fact still governed by said document (a proposition that seems more dubious every day), be struck down by the Supreme Court.

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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby twild1990 » Fri Mar 20, 2009 5:55 am UTC

Randal you always seem to find a way to put a smile on my face. :)

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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby kestasjk » Fri Mar 20, 2009 5:58 am UTC

Ohhhh it's 165 million. I thought it was billion!

Damn, I better call them and apologize.

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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby GbLiNg420 » Fri Mar 20, 2009 6:02 am UTC

Let's all sit here and bitch.

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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby Phelyx » Fri Mar 20, 2009 6:03 am UTC

As I admit, AIG isn't a company I personally do work with I've considered but what if it was.

Lets say for example Google needed a buyout. How much would I sacrifice for it instead of god awful Yahoo or MSN search. After long thought I said 0.

Edit: damn double negatives.

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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby aleflamedyud » Fri Mar 20, 2009 6:10 am UTC

kevpar wrote:What you have to consider is that for some of us, perhaps 30 seconds with your daughter and a night with her are the same thing. . .
>_>

I wish I could say that I feel your pain, but I really, really don't. Holy crap that fucking sucks.
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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby airbush » Fri Mar 20, 2009 6:13 am UTC

I was one of those people that did not notice until this strip, wow

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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby threefourfive » Fri Mar 20, 2009 6:15 am UTC

My boyfriend and I were having a discussion on this and tripped on one thing:

Anybody know whether the daughter thing is incestuous or not?
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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby threefourfive » Fri Mar 20, 2009 6:18 am UTC

Also, it is 42 people splitting those lovely millions, 11 of them no longer working for AIG (which maybe defeats the purpose of a "retention" bonus?).

Not all people are morons. They can tell that a Billion is larger than a Million. And it's mainly comparing a million dollars to a person's yearly salary that gets folks riled up---especially when people are unemployed because of this debacle.
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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby dennisw » Fri Mar 20, 2009 6:41 am UTC

threefourfive wrote:My boyfriend and I were having a discussion on this and tripped on one thing:

Anybody know whether the daughter thing is incestuous or not?

It's intended to trigger one's protective instinct. Which situation would you prefer someone else to be in with your daughter?
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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby Eternal Density » Fri Mar 20, 2009 6:42 am UTC

bsoric wrote:I'm not sure if this is a US vs. the rest of the world thing, but isn't a billion 1 million million?

Keeping with the metaphor, I suppose that equates to a week with your mom.
Or is that a dollar?
dennisw wrote:
threefourfive wrote:My boyfriend and I were having a discussion on this and tripped on one thing:

Anybody know whether the daughter thing is incestuous or not?

It's intended to trigger one's protective instinct. Which situation would you prefer someone else to be in with your daughter?

This is one of the reasons why I'm so never having a daughter of my own.
(Though having anyone else's is highly doubtful too.)
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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby Ghona » Fri Mar 20, 2009 6:46 am UTC

BlastOButter42 wrote:How is that dishonest? Do you really think most people don't realize that a million is 1/1000 of a billion?

Not here in England.
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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby The Boz » Fri Mar 20, 2009 6:51 am UTC

Here's an idea that popped up in a recent debate about this issue among my peers. Can anyone think of any reason why these people shouldn't be considered terrorists?
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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby Okita » Fri Mar 20, 2009 6:53 am UTC

threefourfive wrote:Also, it is 42 people splitting those lovely millions, 11 of them no longer working for AIG (which maybe defeats the purpose of a "retention" bonus?).

Citation needed. The Times reports 463. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/20/nyregion/20siege.html

And I have no idea what you're talking about the 11 who don't work at AIG anymore but I will say that they probably had a prior severance package (golden parachute) which would be legally binding and the company probably would be better off paying them to get the hell out of the way instead of screwing up the company even more.

Anyway, I started an SB thread about AIG and whatnot for people who wish to discuss. No need to really post about it here. I'd think it would be nice of the OP also put a link to the discussion to redirect people. No need to get into politics and whatnot over a comic Randall.
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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby Kdz » Fri Mar 20, 2009 6:54 am UTC

achan1058 wrote:
toysbfun wrote:There's still the issue of, "If you ran your company into the ground and now require a bailout to avoid crashing the world economy, you do not deserve any sort of bonus."
This line is gold. I agree 100%, especially when a 165M bonus is still a very large sum of money. I would be very, very happy if I have 1/100 of it. Of course, another issue is how many people are the bonuses being paid to?


What most everyone seems to be forgetting is that these bonuses are part of legally binding contracts that were signed before all this jazz went down. So yeah, it's shitty they get paid so much, but it's in their contracts, and those have to be honored.

What scares me a bit is that the government is trying to find some way to either tax the bonuses out of existence (which is kinda impossible, because taxes legally can't discriminate groups of people except on income levels, so everyone would be affected) or find some way to break a legally binding contract. This scares me because if they set the precedent of being able to do it now, they can theoretically do it for anything. It'll destroy financial trust in the government.

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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby thedufer » Fri Mar 20, 2009 7:02 am UTC

Relssek wrote:With all these large sums of money being thrown around it is hard to imagine what the hell all that money amounts to physically. So to put our national debt in perspective if we were to stack up $11 trillion in $1 denominations we could make approximately three towers of cash from the Earth to the Moon. Thought this was pseudo relative with today's comic.


I think a better way to put the national debt is to realize that we just (mid-January 2009 or so) exceeded the yearly GDP of THE ENTIRE WORLD. Think about that for a minute. (Note: This estimate includes owed social security, etc. which the government doesn't count but really should.)

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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby Luthen » Fri Mar 20, 2009 7:13 am UTC

Jedifreak wrote:Perhaps we should send this to every news company. Added bonus: If thy start whining about it on the air, XKCD is going to get millions of new readers.
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Ghona wrote:
BlastOButter42 wrote:How is that dishonest? Do you really think most people don't realize that a million is 1/1000 of a billion?

Not here in England.
To remove confusion I propose the use of SI prefixes: The bailout was G$170 and the bonuses M$165. Or alternatively scientific notation: bailout $170x109, bonuses $165x106.

Also it was my understanding (read: I'm not at all sure about this) that most bonuses in the US weren't really bonuses. They're completely expected and almost sure to happen. In my opinion, that makes them not bonuses.
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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby vodka.cobra » Fri Mar 20, 2009 7:18 am UTC

Sheeplauncher wrote:yea that alt text made me almost spit out my drink just remembering no one being able to do math at Verizon. Quite a good one.

Must resist urge to make dirty joke...
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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby Titanium Dragon » Fri Mar 20, 2009 7:21 am UTC

I don't really see the two next to each other very often, so I don't really think of it as being an intentional deception. I mostly hear that they got bailout money, and paid out money in bonuses - the dollar amounts typically aren't juxtaposed in this manner. At least not in the print sources that I typically read.

Really, I think the emphasis isn't on the 170 billion dollars anyway - I don't hear that number very often. Rather, I hear people complaining about the $165 million in bonuses, which is, I think, enough in and of itself to cause the outrage even without some sort of unfair juxtaposition, given that $165 million is about four thousand times the average wage of an American. I'm sure someone has intentionally used the juxtaposition, but I haven't ever seen it.

Its an incredibly large quantity of money by comparison to what people normally make, and it is obviously very undeserved (seriously, if you drive a company into bankruptcy, getting a bonus for it is pretty unacceptable). I don't think this particular example is all that great.

Of course, maybe its on some terrible cable news channel.

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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby Phoenix '97 » Fri Mar 20, 2009 7:40 am UTC

One million's not even one percent of one billion! WOW!
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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby SlyReaper » Fri Mar 20, 2009 7:52 am UTC

The Boz wrote:Here's an idea that popped up in a recent debate about this issue among my peers. Can anyone think of any reason why these people shouldn't be considered terrorists?

Because they didn't do it deliberately, and haven't actually murdered anyone.
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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby cag » Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:10 am UTC

nweis wrote:On the subject of Verizon's math...

http://xkcd.com/verizon/

seeing that made me register:
why would he want to give $.002 to verizon? that hardly calls for taunts. in fact, verizon gains $.002 in this situation. :?
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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby Mr. Burke » Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:23 am UTC

toysbfun wrote:There's still the issue of, "If you ran your company into the ground and now require a bailout to avoid crashing the world economy, you do not deserve any sort of bonus."

They got the government to give out free money. I can see how this may be worth some bonus.

Of course, that doesn't mean I like it.

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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby speedweasel » Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:33 am UTC

You had me at Gin. God, I love Gin.

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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby Meagen » Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:36 am UTC

The Boz wrote:Here's an idea that popped up in a recent debate about this issue among my peers. Can anyone think of any reason why these people shouldn't be considered terrorists?


They're white?

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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby Taot » Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:39 am UTC

I didn't really agree with comic's point and I started to think why.

( Disclaimer, this is not a war-cry for Metric/Imperial war.)

With metric the powers of 10 are everywhere, so there's no dishonesty associated with saying, for example, 1 m and 1 km instead of 1 m and 1000 m. That's actually the correct way usually as you're ment to use the different prefixes.

So, is this just a cultural difference or am I missing something?

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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby SEE » Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:49 am UTC

Consider, for a moment, that you are an employee of Acme Corporation, which has two divisions, Alpha and Beta. Indeed, you are a very important person at Beta division, so your contract says you get a bonus based on how much profit Beta division makes. It turns out that the executives above the division level really screwed up, and so did Alpha Division. So, although Beta Division made $10 billion dollars, Alpha Division lost $100 billion. Near bankruptcy after the loss of $90 billion, Acme is purchased by Genericorp. Genericorp then comes to you and says, "Sorry, Acme lost money, so we're not paying you your $1,000,000 bonus. Sure, it's in your contract, and your division turned a profit, but you were an Acme executive, and Acme didn't turn a profit overall, so we're not going to give you the money anyway."

Would you consider that fair?

Okay, now let's move one step on this. It's March 2008, and your current contract says your bonus is based on Acme Corp.'s overall profit, not Beta Division. It's already obvious that Alpha Division is going to lose a hell of a lot of money, possibly making Acme go bankrupt. You look around, and other companies, seeing what a good job you've done with Beta, are willing to hire you, for huge amounts of money. So you go to the executives at Acme, and tell them, "Look, I'm not happy that my division is making money, but I'm getting no bonus. And, well, the company looks like it might tank. If you don't change my contract to give me more money, I'm getting off this sinking ship and going somewhere else where they'll pay me." Acme looks at the excellent job you're doing in Beta, and realizes they really want to keep you, so they offer you an extra $1,500,000 if you're still working there nine months from now. You accept. But the same 10/100 divide happens, and Acme is purchased by Genericorp. Genericorp then comes to you and says, "Sorry, Acme lost money, so we're not paying you your $1,500,000 retention bonus. Sure, it's in your contract, and it's the only reason you stayed at the company while it was failing instead of taking a different job, but we're not going to give you the money anyway."

Is it fair now that you don't get the money you're owed under your contract?

One step more. Now the entity that bought you was not Genericorp, but the U.S. Government.

Is it fair now?

Of course it is. You're a terrorist for working at a company where other people screwed up! Just like all those terrorists who work as janitors in GM office buildings!

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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby Red Hal » Fri Mar 20, 2009 9:04 am UTC

1.7 x 1011 versus 1.65 x 108. Much easier to understand. The alt text, on the other hand, was pure genius.
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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby brunswikstu » Fri Mar 20, 2009 9:25 am UTC

I was just talking to a friend about this yesterday, how some tv stations clearly show the difference and others don't. Can you get out of my head please? ( see I said please)

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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby keithc » Fri Mar 20, 2009 9:26 am UTC

Kdz wrote:What scares me a bit is that the government is trying to find some way to either tax the bonuses out of existence (which is kinda impossible, because taxes legally can't discriminate groups of people except on income levels, so everyone would be affected)

Looks like they found a way. Pretty clever one, when you think about it.

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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby JennyWren » Fri Mar 20, 2009 9:27 am UTC

The problem is, in my opinion, that numbers above 1000 become rather intangible for most people. I don't think your average person really has much of any idea of the difference between 1 million and 1 billion because they are just both Pretty Damn Big Numbers (either than or the difference is just one "of opinion", heh). I'm sure that, if asked to write both out in full with all the zeroes, many people would get the numbers wrong (not xkcd-ers, of course). Writing both dollar values in the same units makes the comparison clear, even for those who have trouble comprehending large numbers. Then again, writing numbers out in full didn't work for Andrea at Verizon....

I was just reading/listening to all the VerizonMath stuff last night. Pretty crazy.

P.S. I always opt for the term "bajillion". For example "I've asked you a bajillion times not to leave empty tea boxes on the shelf" (he does that sort of thing a LOT).
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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby bray » Fri Mar 20, 2009 9:39 am UTC

H2SO4 wrote:I read somewhere that for every $1,000,000,000 spent by government, that's about $8 out of YOUR pocket.


Well, if you read it somewhere, it must be true. If you take $1,000,000,000 and divide it by the number of taxpayers (138 million), then you get roughly $7.25 which I can only imagine is where that $8 number comes from. But, then, that's a pretty stupid thing to do, isn't it? Just because we divided one number by another doesn't mean that the result actually, you know, means anything. In particular, since different people pay different amounts of taxes, why would the same amount of money come out of each person's pocket? So how much comes out of YOUR pocket will depend on who YOU are. If you're Bill Gates then it will be a hell of a lot more than $8. If you're a typical person, well, considering the bottom 50% of taxpayers by income pay around 3.3% of total federal income taxes, it will be a lot less than $8.

H2SO4 wrote:Pretty much, I think that debt to counteract debt is NOT the solution. You know more than the government when it comes to spending your money.


Please refrain from speaking about this subject until you have, at the very least, read the Wikipedia article on Keynesian economics. Virtually no one who actually studies how economies work thinks that what you're saying makes any sense. What people know to do with their money these days is hide it under their mattresses. And that's a pretty good idea actually, it just has the unfortunate side effect that if no one spends money then businesses won't be able to sell things which means that they won't be able to pay their workers which means things are just going to get worse.

Is it costing a lot of money? Yes. But the question any time you're spending money is not "How much is it?" but "Is it worth it?". Is it worth it? Huge budget deficits do suck. But Great Depressions suck even more.

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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby bray » Fri Mar 20, 2009 9:58 am UTC

bray wrote:Please refrain from speaking about this subject until you have, at the very least, read the Wikipedia article on Keynesian economics. Virtually no one who actually studies how economies work thinks that what you're saying makes any sense.


Just to be clear: not everyone agrees with Keynesian economics as a whole but I think very few people would disagree with it on the grounds that "you know what to do with your money better than the government". In particular, that position ignores the whole question of collective action problems (i.e. 90% of the purpose of government in the first place): if you're experiencing deflation, then it's a Nash equilibrium for everyone to do the whole hiding cash under the mattress thing. But deflationary spirals are generally considered a bad thing so having a government which fails to see the wisdom of cash under mattresses actually works out to be a good thing.

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Re: "1000 Times" discussion

Postby Aligheri86 » Fri Mar 20, 2009 10:17 am UTC

To me the issue isn't about the proportion of money, or it's distribution. This is just another in a long string of strikes for this company. How long is this administration going to let these things slide. And while the raises might be legal, for those of you who watched Jim Kramer on "The Daily Show" he has been trying to help authorities on how to nail these guys. So much of the bailout money to AIG and many others has simply disappeared, as has a lot of money sent to Iraq as well as 9/11 relief funds and Katrina relief funds. I'm sure someone around has totaled or can easily find a number of the amount of cash, cold hard cash, that has simply disappeared in the last 9 years.


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