Recently, Ohio-based bank Fifth Third (FITB) drew criticism for its decision to spend $900,000 on a promotional scratch-off game that was designed to bring in fresh customers. Critics allege that the company, which received $3.4 billion in the recent bailout, wasted taxpayer funds on an expensive and pointless promotion.
On the bright side, at least Fifth Third's scratch-off game could be explained as a legitimate marketing expense. The same cannot be said of bad bailout poster-child AIG (AIG), whose lavish retreats and outrageous bonuses have inflamed taxpayers and politicians alike. Even in AIG's case, though, there's something of a silver lining to the anger and disgust: We're finally getting a chance to see how many of our once-respected corporations really do business.