In a stunning display of self absorption, executives at financial giant AIG spent $440,000 on a posh California retreat just days after accepting an $85 billion bailout loan from the federal government.

While the extravagant retreat did not include employees from the troubled financial services division, how on earth could these men and women partake in wining, dining and spa treatments when they know how much their company has cost taxpayers and investors? Even if you argue that this is exactly the time a distressed company needs to rally its employees, can’t you have a meeting at Holiday Inn and a happy hour at Chili’s?

Lawmakers are incensed. Barack Obama all but called for AIG heads to roll. And the rest of us are left with yet more proof that what caused this mess was not just a few bad mistakes but an entire culture of undue privilege and no accountability.

It’s going to take more than a flood of government money to wash away those problems.

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