Sunday, March 22, 2009

Dear A.I.G.: Intercepted E-Mail

Date: Fri, 20 Mar 2009 8:52:51
From: [name withheld]
Subject: some polite suggestions

To the Board of Directors of AIG and Edward Liddy, CEO:

In recent days, the complexity and vastness of our financial system have greatly troubled me. Not because I am a simple, middle-class American and have no capacity for such financial stuff, but because I am frustrated and embarrassed by the amounts of money that (currently unknown) members of your staff have received in bonuses to their salary. I understand that these staff members are of great value to your company and that you surely wish to retain the ones still at your company. Further, I understand that there is an impending 90% tax upon these bonuses which the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to impose.

In the interest of protecting the good name of your staff and company, I would like to make the following suggestion: donate the money to your favorite 501.c.3 organization. Perhaps you have't done your own taxes in a while, and you may not be aware that contributions to 501.c.3 organizations are tax deductible. These types of organizations are valuable institutions such as schools, hospitals, and service organizations which provide the citizens of our nation with education, health care, and other fundamental services. Often rendered in places where the current tax base is not maintaining the high standards to which you may be accustomed, these services are over-burdened and unable to meet the needs of Americans. As members of the Board of Directors of a large, wealthy corporation, you may not regularly be exposed to Americans who are unable to provide for their families or for themselves, despite their best efforts to do so. I only mention this to be sure you understand that there are those who are in desperate need of the bonuses which members of your staff collected.

If in fact members of your staff would be interested in donating these funds, and if they are at a loss to think of an organization which they might like to aid, let me offer a few suggestions.

First, I'd like to suggest my son's school. This Watauga County, North Carolina public charter school serves children in grades K-8. I think it is a very special place which is helping my son be a prepared and well rounded citizen. He just told me that today in science his fourth-grade class made a motor run. Like many other charter schools, this one is working hard to raise funds for a new building. Even more, they need a couple more staff members, like a librarian, who could really help the school achieve its gallant goals. A gift of $1 million (about 1/165th of the amount of your bonuses) would give us a jump start on the building, pay off the school's debt, hire a librarian for a couple of years, and endow several of the programs the school has for its students.

Secondly, I'd like to suggest the New Opportunity School for Women. The NOSW is a program which offers Appalachian women in poverty the opportunity to transform their lives in a three-week residential program that combines self-esteem building, workforce training, and new life skills in a transformative curriculum. Here, your staff would have two locations to choose from, a school in Berea, Ky., and one at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, NC. I'm partial to the Lees-McRae site, since I used to direct the program there, and I am sure your staff can understand the sometimes ugly and self-serving concept of loyalty. For one woman to attend the three-week session, it costs about $5,000. A gift of $500,000 (about 1/330th of the amount of your bonuses) would fund the Lees-McRae program for 100 Appalachian women.

Third, if your staff is interested in a more "national" sort of charity, I would suggest giving to one of the fabulous organizations that works toward ending cancer (certainly a company which offers health-related insurance can understand the great need here). I would be partial toward one of the breast cancer charities. I have a cousin who is currently battling the disease. Her name is Tracy. My friend Marcia is a two-time breast cancer survivor. My best friend since kindergarten, Anne Marie battled breast cancer when we were 30. My sister-in-law Cindy lost her fight when she was 38. A gift of $100,000 (about 1/660th of the amount of your bonuses) to any affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation would fund Breast Cancer screenings for hundreds of needy women in America.

Those members of your staff who prefer to give to causes which support the humane treatment of animals might be interested in our local Watauga Humane Society. This organization is staffed with only one part-time director and relies on the aid of volunteers to help maintain their animals and facilities. A gift of $10,000 (about 1/1320th of the amount of your bonuses) would pay a $45 sponsorship for 222 pets in the shelter, providing food, water, and blankets to homeless animals.

These are only samples of the many fine organizations which help to strengthen our nation with their service to the greater good. I am sure if you looked in your city, you would find other worthy causes. Again, these are only suggestions, but it seems that if you gave all of the money I have recommended, you would have only spent $1,511,000.00.

You would still have over $163 million to pay in taxes.

[name withheld]
Boone, NC 28607

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