Say what? Run that past us one more time.
Some context: After the deep financial crisis five years ago this month, the federal government bailed out large financial institutions lest their collapse drag down the entire U.S. economy, or so the argument went. Critics saw it differently. To them it looked as if the Wall Street bigshots who played a huge role in crisis by their wild and irresponsible speculation were being rewarded for bad behavior. Despite this, the bailed-out companies didn't see any reason to stop paying its top producers huge bonuses. (See David Cay Johnston or Matt Taibbi for more.)
Which brings us to the Journal's interview with Benmosche where he said:
The uproar over bonuses “was intended to stir public anger, to get everybody out there with their pitch forks 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.
“We wouldn’t be here today had they not stayed and accepted … dramatically reduced pay. … They really contributed an enormous amount [to AIG’s survival] and proved to the world they are good people. It is a shame we put them through that.”