Yes the AIG bonuses were important to larger economic recovery, because it was important for the United States to send a message that they intend to stand by debts and honor them when they take over a country. To take over companies but not honor debts is to make investors distrustful of working with the U.S. government.
Well, perhaps they're important to the people who receive them. But lest we forget, the worldwide economy was almost brought to complete ruin by folks at AIG and other companies. I think they can without bonuses for a couple of years. Since greed is such a huge motivator, perhaps a few cash light holiday seasons will make them remember what happens when they don't play by the rules.