The government claims they are contractually obligated to pay 400 AIG executives and employees their $165M in bonuses.
How do we get these people to do the right thing and forgo these completely undeserved bonuses?
The administration can play hardball. Make a public statement that states, yes, you can take your bonus as the law dictates. However, if you do, we will make your names, addresses, and the amount of your bonus public. Not hardball enough? Then, make this policy apply in perpetuity (e.g. if you move, we will keep your address up to date). Too hardball? Limit it to those taking home >$500K from this bonus pool.
This will certainly make them think twice about accepting this money.
Of course, none of this would have been a problem if we hadn’t bailed them out in the first place – they would enter bankruptcy and these contracts could be void.