AIG副总裁的辞职信

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上个月,AIG保险公司干了一件犯众怒的事。

该公司在接受了政府1800亿美元的援助之后,居然要向高管支付4.5亿美元的奖金。一时间,美国舆论哗然,奥巴马总统发誓要阻止这件事,国会通过特别法案,要征收90%的奖金税。

但是,就是在这样的一种氛围之中,《纽约时报》刊登了一封AIG高管的辞职信(实际上是抗议信)。这封信引起了巨大的争论,在中国我看到不少人说这封信写得好,这不禁让我想来评论一番。

为了避免产生先入为主的印象,请先看这封信,再看我在信后的评论。中译是由一个台湾朋友翻译的(此链接被屏蔽),我根据大陆的语言习惯做了少量的修改。

==================

再见,AIG

【简介】

以下的这封信是2009年3月24日发出的,发信人是AIG集团金融产品部的副总裁Jake DeSantis,收信人是Edward M. Liddy,AIG的CEO。

原载:2009年3月25日《纽约时报》

译者:(台湾)George Lee

【正文】

DEAR Mr. Liddy,

亲爱的 Mr. Liddy,

It is with deep regret that I submit my notice of resignation from A.I.G. Financial Products. I hope you take the time to read this entire letter. Before describing the details of my decision, I want to offer some context:

我很遗憾地在此递交辞呈。我决定从"AIG 金融产品部"(译者注:后文简称AIG-FP)离职。我希望您能抽出一些时间,将整封信看完。在我详细叙述辞职的理由之前,请允许我说一些心里话:

I am proud of everything I have done for the commodity and equity divisions of A.I.G.-F.P. I was in no way involved in -- or responsible for -- the credit default swap transactions that have hamstrung A.I.G. Nor were more than a handful of the 400 current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. Most of those responsible have left the company and have conspicuously escaped the public outrage.

我对于自己在 AIG-FP 的商品与权益部门所做的一切,感到自豪。导致AIG大幅亏损的 CDS 交易,我没有以任何形式参与,或是应该对此负责。现在 AIG-FP 的400多位员工中,和此事有关的人员屈指可数。大部分应该负责的人都早已离职,而且显然躲过了如今外界公众的咆哮。

After 12 months of hard work dismantling the company -- during which A.I.G. reassured us many times we would be rewarded in March 2009 -- we in the financial products unit have been betrayed by A.I.G. and are being unfairly persecuted by elected officials. In response to this, I will now leave the company and donate my entire post-tax retention payment to those suffering from the global economic downturn. My intent is to keep none of the money myself.

经过了12个月的辛勤工作----其间公司多次跟我们保证,我们将在2009年3月获得年终奖----现在,我们这些 AIG-FP 部门的员工,感觉自己被公司出卖了,而且还遭受到政府和国会的不公平对待。作为对此的回应,我准备离开公司,并且把我得到的税后奖金,全数捐献给因为这次金融风暴受害的人。对于这笔钱,我一分钱都不留。

I take this action after 11 years of dedicated, honorable service to A.I.G. I can no longer effectively perform my duties in this dysfunctional environment, nor am I being paid to do so. Like you, I was asked to work for an annual salary of $1, and I agreed out of a sense of duty to the company and to the public officials who have come to its aid. Having now been let down by both, I can no longer justify spending 10, 12, 14 hours a day away from my family for the benefit of those who have let me down.

在做出这个决定前,我已经为公司奉献了11年高质量的服务。但是如今我没有办法在这种不正常的环境下继续善尽我的职责,而且公司也不再为此付我薪水了。和你一样,我也被要求以年薪1美元的代价工作,而且我也同意了,因为我认为我不只对公司有责任,而且也对提供援助的政府有责任。但是现在两者都让我失望了,我没有办法再每天花上10个、12个、甚至 14个小时,不陪伴家人,却为了让我失望的人的利益继续工作。

You and I have never met or spoken to each other, so I'd like to tell you about myself. I was raised by schoolteachers working multiple jobs in a world of closing steel mills. My hard work earned me acceptance to M.I.T., and the institute's generous financial aid enabled me to attend. I had fulfilled my American dream.

你和我从来没有单独见面或交谈过,所以我想和你谈谈我自己的一些背景。我的父母都是学校教师,我是在钢铁厂里长大的,那些厂如今都倒闭了。我努力学习,被麻省理工学院录取,靠奖学金读完了大学。我在自己身上实现了美国梦。

I started at this company in 1998 as an equity trader, became the head of equity and commodity trading and, a couple of years before A.I.G.'s meltdown last September, was named the head of business development for commodities. Over this period the equity and commodity units were consistently profitable -- in most years generating net profits of well over $100 million. Most recently, during the dismantling of A.I.G.-F.P., I was an integral player in the pending sale of its well-regarded commodity index business to UBS. As you know, business unit sales like this are crucial to A.I.G.'s effort to repay the American taxpayer.

1998年,我作为一个债券交易员,加入了AIG。随后,成为了商品和权益交易部门的主管。在危机发生的的数年前,被提升为商品部门的业务开发主管。在这段时间内,我的部门持续盈利,大部分的年头都能获利超过1亿美金。最近,在 AIG-FP 解体的过程中,我也是主要负责把声誉良好的商品指数部门卖给瑞士银行的人。如你所知,类似这样把业务单位卖掉的交易,对于AIG的生存、以及将来偿还美国纳税人的援助,是非常必要的。

The profitability of the businesses with which I was associated clearly supported my compensation. I never received any pay resulting from the credit default swaps that are now losing so much money. I did, however, like many others here, lose a significant portion of my life savings in the form of deferred compensation invested in the capital of A.I.G.-F.P. because of those losses. In this way I have personally suffered from this controversial activity -- directly as well as indirectly with the rest of the taxpayers.

显而易见,我的薪资报酬主要来自于我们部门的高盈利。我从来没有从现在导致公司巨额亏损的 CDS 交易中领过1分钱。而且,我和许多 AIG-FP 部门的同事一样,在这些亏损的 CDS 交易中,损失了不少毕生积蓄,因为我们都把推迟支付的工资,投资在 AIG-FP中。如同广大的美国纳税人一样,我们从未从CDS交易中获利,却深受其害。

I have the utmost respect for the civic duty that you are now performing at A.I.G. You are as blameless for these credit default swap losses as I am. You answered your country's call and you are taking a tremendous beating for it.

我对你目前在AIG的角色,抱着崇高的敬意。因为在CDS交易上,你和我一样无辜,而且在国家需要你的时候,你勇敢地站出来响应政府的号召,但是现在却因此而饱受抨击。

But you also are aware that most of the employees of your financial products unit had nothing to do with the large losses. And I am disappointed and frustrated over your lack of support for us. I and many others in the unit feel betrayed that you 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 you didn't defend us against the baseless and reckless comments made by the attorneys general of New York and Connecticut.

你也相当清楚,这个部门内大部分的员工都和这些巨额亏损毫无关联。你没有站在我们一边,让我感到相当失望。上周三,你面对国会议员和媒体关于我们年终奖的不实指控、以及后来纽约检察官发表一些无事实根据的评论的时候,却没有办法挺身而出为我们辩解。我们AIG-FP部门的同仁深深感觉自己被背叛了。

My guess is that in October, when you learned of these retention contracts, you realized that the employees of the financial products unit needed some incentive to stay and that the contracts, being both ethical and useful, should be left to stand. That's probably why A.I.G. management assured us on three occasions during that month that the company would "live up to its commitment" to honor the contract guarantees.

去年10月,当你知道这个年终奖的发放计划时,我猜想,你认为AIG-FP部门的人员需要一些诱因才能够留下来。而且,这个年终奖,既合乎道义又有实际效果,应该得到执行。这大概就是公司在那个月里,先后三次跟我们保证会履行诺言,发放年终奖的原因。

That may be why you decided to accelerate by three months more than a quarter of the amounts due under the contracts. That action signified to us your support, and was hardly something that one would do if he truly found the contracts "distasteful."

这大概也是你决定让这些年终奖提早3个月发放的原因。这个决定让我们感受到你对我们的支持,这一点都不像一个真心认为这些合约"难以接受"的人会做的事情。(译按:AIG CEO 在被炮轰的时候,曾经这样形容这些年终奖合约。)

That may also be why you authorized the balance of the payments on March 13.

最后,这大概也是你在3月13日最终授权支付这些年终奖的原因。

At no time during the past six months that you have been leading A.I.G. did you ask us to revise, renegotiate or break these contracts -- until several hours before your appearance last week before Congress.

在过去6个月你领导AIG的期间,你从没有要求我们修改、重谈、或是放弃这笔年终奖,直到你出席国会听证会的数小时前。

I think your initial decision to honor the contracts was both ethical and financially astute, but it seems to have been politically unwise. It's now apparent that you either misunderstood the agreements that you had made -- tacit or otherwise -- with the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, various members of Congress and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo of New York, or were not strong enough to withstand the shifting political winds.

我想你刚开始的想法是,既然这些年终奖原则上没错、在财务上也说得过去,那么应该给予尊重。但是这个做法现在看来在政治上不讨好。那么显然,你要么是误解了同联储、纽约州检察官、国会议员、财政部之间的成文或不成文的协议,要么就是不够坚定,无法抵挡这些政治压力。

You've now asked the current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. to repay these earnings. As you can imagine, there has been a tremendous amount of serious thought and heated discussion about how we should respond to this breach of trust.

现在,你要求 AIG-FP 部门的同仁缴回这些他们应得的年终奖。你可以想像,我们对你破坏了大家对公司的信任是多么怒火中烧,怨声载道。

As most of us have done nothing wrong, guilt is not a motivation to surrender our earnings. We have worked 12 long months under these contracts and now deserve to be paid as promised. 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.

既然我们大部分员工都是无辜的,罪恶感当然不是让我们缴回年终奖的动机。我们勤奋工作了12个月,现在理应按照合同被支付薪酬。这就好像一个水管工修好了水管以后,一个粗心的电匠却把房子烧毁了,水管工不应该被责怪一样,我们这些员工也是无辜的。

Many of the employees have, in the past six months, turned down job offers from more stable employers, based on A.I.G.'s assurances that the contracts would be honored. They are now angry about having been misled by A.I.G.'s promises and are not inclined to return the money as a favor to you.

过去六个月当中,许多部门内的同仁,因为这份年终奖的缘故,拒绝了许多比 AIG 更稳定的工作机会。 AIG高层一直不断保证,这笔年终奖会如期支付。同仁们现在因为被骗,而感到非常愤怒,不愿意为了帮你的忙就把奖金缴回公司。

The only real motivation that anyone at A.I.G.-F.P. now has is fear. Mr. Cuomo has threatened to "name and shame," and his counterpart in Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, has made similar threats -- even though attorneys general are supposed to stand for due process, to conduct trials in courts and not the press.

现在唯一让他们缴回奖金的动机其实只有恐惧。检察官已经放话,威胁要公布所有得到奖金的"可耻的人的姓名"。可是,检察官的正确做法,理应是在法庭上处理案件,而不是诉诸媒体。

So what am I to do? There's no easy answer. I know that because of hard work I have benefited more than most during the economic boom and have saved enough that my family is unlikely to suffer devastating losses during the current bust. Some might argue that members of my profession have been overpaid, and I wouldn't disagree.

所以,我该怎么办?这不是轻松的决定。我知道,在此前经济繁荣的时候,由于我的辛勤工作,我的生活要比大多数人过得优渥,我也仍然有足够的储蓄让我的家人不至于在这次风暴中受到毁灭性的打击。有些人可能会批评我们这行业的人报酬过高,我对此没有异议。

That is why I have decided to donate 100 percent of the effective after-tax proceeds of my retention payment directly to organizations that are helping people who are suffering from the global downturn. This is not a tax-deduction gimmick; I simply believe that I at least deserve to dictate how my earnings are spent, and do not want to see them disappear back into the obscurity of A.I.G.'s or the federal government's budget. Our earnings have caused such a distraction for so many from the more pressing issues our country faces, and I would like to see my share of it benefit those truly in need.

这就是我决定把税后奖金100%地捐出来、帮助受到金融风暴打击的人的原因。这不是什么避税花招;我只是希望,我最低限度能够对自己的红利奖金应该怎么使用做主,而不是听任这些钱消失在AIG 复杂的帐务中,或是消失在政府预算中。我们的年终奖吸引了太多大众的注意力,让大家没办法把目光放在需要帮助的人身上。我希望能够尽点力量,帮到那些真正需要帮助的人。

On March 16 I received a payment from A.I.G. amounting to $742,006.40, after taxes. In light of the uncertainty over the ultimate taxation and legal status of this payment, the actual amount I donate may be less -- in fact, it may end up being far less if the recent House bill raising the tax on the retention payments to 90 percent stands. Once all the money is donated, you will immediately receive a list of all recipients.

3月16日,我收到了公司支付的税后年终奖,总计$742,006.40。因为目前相关税务和法规还不确定,所以我实际捐赠的金额可能会小于这个数字。事实上,很可能是远小于,如果国会现在关于这笔奖金的90%惩罚性税法通过的话。总之,当我把这笔钱尽数捐出以后,你会立刻收到收款对象和捐款明细。

This choice is right for me. I wish others at A.I.G.-F.P. luck finding peace with their difficult decision, and only hope their judgment is not clouded by fear.

这个决定对我来说是对的。我祝其它AIG-FP的同仁好运,希望他们能够心情平和地在这个困难的处境下做出决定,但愿他们不要被恐惧的阴影围绕。

Mr. Liddy, I wish you success in your commitment to return the money extended by the American government, and luck with the continued unwinding of the company's diverse businesses -- especially those remaining credit default swaps. I'll continue over the short term to help make sure no balls are dropped, but after what's happened this past week I can't remain much longer -- there is too much bad blood. I'm not sure how you will greet my resignation, but at least Attorney General Blumenthal should be relieved that I'll leave under my own power and will not need to be "shoved out the door."

Liddy先生,我也祝你好运,祝你能够实践把红利退回给政府的承诺,也祝你能够继续把AIG整顿好,尤其是那些不好处理的 CDS 交易。短期内,我会继续帮忙确保没有什么问题发生,但是在这周发生的事情以后,我没办法再留下来很长时间了,因为有太多嫌隙和不信任。我不知道你将如何看待我的离职信,但是我想纽约检察官应该会感到欣慰,因为我是自愿离职的,而不是如他所威胁的让他"扫地出门"。

Sincerely,

Jake DeSantis 敬上

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【我的评论】

首先,我必须承认,Jake DeSantis先生非常聪明,写了一封看似非常有力、能够博取同情的抗议信。当然,这不奇怪,搞金融投机的人总是很聪明的,要不然他们怎么能拿到"远比大多数人优渥"的薪水呢?要是他们不聪明,又怎么能把整个国家拖入泥潭、让我们所有人跟着一起受罪呢?

但是,我就不明白了,如果DeSantis先生真的那么聪明,他为什么就看不出一个简单的事实呢?那就是,他拿到的年终奖,不是AIG的钱,而是政府的钱。如果不是美国政府援助,6个月前AIG就已经破产了,他一分钱都拿不到,早早就失业了。换句话说,他口口声声遭到背叛的"年终奖合同"其实早不存在了,如果知道自己的钱会被用来支付奖金,纳税人还会同意援助吗?纳税人凭什么向他提供742,006.40美元的年终奖呢?奖励他把整个国家搞垮了?......所以我觉得,他用到了"背叛"这个词,实在太可笑了。我不确定,他到底是不够睿智呢,还是故意混淆视听。

DeSantis先生声称自己从未介入那些导致亏损的交易,所以对公司的困境毫无责任,不应该被惩罚。那么我要问,那些因为金融风暴失去工作或住房、对未来感到绝望、不知道明天在哪里的贫苦人们,又有什么责任呢?他们做错了什么,要受这样的惩罚?难道是他们要对金融风暴负责吗?

DeSantis先生还强调,自己是一个具有爱心的人士,响应政府的号召,愿意接受1美元的年薪,并且还要把年终奖全部捐给金融风暴的受害者。真是太感人了,但是我仔细一看,怎么就不是那么一回事呢。首先,他真正的报酬除了1美元之外,还有742,006.40美元的奖金。原来在他看来,奖金不是报酬。其次,他真正捐的钱比这个数额少得多,因为国会准备征收90%的奖金税,他真正能捐的最多只有十分之一的钱,何况还有检察官威胁要公布姓名,那么捐款简直是保护自己利益的最佳策略了。

总之,我觉得太不可思议了,在明摆着的事实面前,DeSantis先生居然能够写出这样义正词严、振振有词的抗议信,还向《纽约时报》投稿。他是不是太狂妄自大了?或者因为没有拿到742,006.40美元的奖金而懊恼不已,昏了头,把世人都当作傻瓜了?

不错,DeSantis先生可以声称自己也是金融危机的受害者,但是让他愤愤不平的遭遇,同其他人相比,简直就不值一提。他确实是一个受害者,不过,是一个比其他受害者舒服得多的受害者。

《奖金税法案》的提出者之一、来自佛罗里达州的民主党议员艾伦·格雷森有一句话,可以送给DeSantis先生自省:"任何人都无权利用纳税人的钱致富。任何人都不应从严重的错误中致富。"

最后,我还有一些话想说。我觉得,就是因为有这样私欲膨胀、贪得无厌、将个人利益置于社会公共利益之上、并且因此获得高薪奖赏的金融从业者和这样的一个行业,我们这个社会才像现在这么糟糕。金融证券业是一个鼓励投机、奖励贪婪的行业,人人都在不顾一切地追求利润,动用所有社会资源为私利服务。当经济繁荣时,投机的暴利被少数人攫取,而一旦经济发生危机,他们种下的恶果就要由整个社会来承担,尤其是主要由社会中的弱势群体来承担。这是不公平的,也是有害的。有句话说"危机毁灭了一切,但也创造了一切",我对这次金融危机的期望就是,它至少可以改变一些事情,不要危机结束以后,一切又回到原来的样子。

(完)



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