The Village Voice‘s Roy Edroso pokes fun at me, among other conservative bloggers, for defending an AIG executive whose resignation letter was published in the New York Times:
“At AIG, just like everywhere else,” generously allows the American Spectator, “there are people who are suffering as a result of the irresponsibility and sins of others.” But most of us who have been struck by the fragments of the solid-gold speculative bubble — burst by AIG, among others — don’t get Op-Eds in the Times. If you get a shit deal from your job, neither the Times nor Dagny Taggart will rush to comfort you — which probably just proves to these folks that your pain is less important than that of a 17-year high-finance veteran whose spectacular early retirement (to whatever miserable hovel such a career affords) now breaks their hearts.
Look, I’m angry about the government bailing out AIG and the idea of rewarding undeserving executives with bonuses, but Edroso’s Tom Joad sermonizing does nothing but convey his own contempt for people of means. The point isn’t that this particular AIG executive is a hero, but that AIG has 116,000 employees around the world, and it’s unfair to paint all of them with a broad brush as if each of them is equally responsible for the damage the company did to our financial system. Also, while not everybody who loses their job gets space on the NY Times op-ed page, the op-ed page, as well as the news page, as well as the rest of the media, consistently gives voices to those dispossessed by the economic crisis — those losing their jobs and homes, those without health care, and those who are struggling to stay afloat. For weeks, the media has been pummeling AIG and all of its executives who took bonuses. These people have been villianized, persecuted by Congress and the NY Attorney General’s office, and yet we haven’t heard from any of them. Giving one of them a forum in the NY Times to make his case in a way that adds nuance to this ugly situation does not seem unreasonable to me.