I guess I have to weigh in on the AIG controversy.
The more I look at the bonus issue the more I believe the problem is the word "bonus". A bonus is something extra that you get for the job you do. If you are successful at what you do and if what you do adds to the bottom line of the company then by all means you should be given a bonus. The way the AIG story unfolded we were told that people are to be given a bonus that utterly failed the company. Outrage should be the norm for such behavior. But now I read that these people were contract hires that don't work for a regular salary, but work under a contract for money paid to them at the end of their tenure. That is not a "bonus" by definition, it's compensation for work done. Calling this compensation a "bonus " is what makes everyone so angry.
Of course anger and outrage feeds the media so the media piles on feeding the anger and outrage. It's a vicous cycle.