With a tip of the hat to Brian, here is a resignation letter from one of AIG bonus recipients that is very indicative of the overall mood within financial industry.
I find these passages the most telling:
I and many others in the unit feel betrayed that [AIG Chairman/CEO Edward M. Liddy] failed to stand up for us in the face of untrue and unfair accusations from certain members of Congress last Wednesday and from the press over our retention payments, and that [Mr. Liddy] didn’t defend us against the baseless and reckless comments made by the attorneys general of New York and Connecticut.
None of us should be cheated of our payments any more than a plumber should be cheated after he has fixed the pipes but a careless electrician causes a fire that burns down the house.
The letter is a bit too heavy on self-justification, but it gets across a point. People have the right to be compensated for their services. A compensation contract should be honored if the person done their job and done it well (to say nothing of the fact that said person is not compensated in any other way).
Inventing laws on the spot to satisfy public hysteria and the thirst to punish “greedy bankers” can only lead to the exodus of better people from those firms that need them the most. Anybody thinks that that can improve the chances for recovery?