Insurance giant AIG was the poster child for corporate greed and a government bailout program run amok. Now in their self-reliant efforts to turn things around and restructure, the insurer needs just one more thing – 22 billion more in taxpayer dollars. The TARP funds will be used to buy “Federal Reserve preferred stock interests in the special purpose vehicles holding two key subsidiaries being sold off, AIA Group Ltd and American Life Insurance Co (ALICO).” When you figure out what that means, let me know. There is one bright spot in this corporate muck however. According to the Treasury Department statement, ” … these assets significantly exceed the amount of the preferred investments, and as such, no losses are expected on those preferred interests.” I’ll file that in the “We’re From the Government and Are Here to Help You” file. Maybe we’ll get this finance mess fixed, when both government and industry resolve to speak English again. I’d back legislation to make that happen.
_ Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
9 thoughts on “Nothing Succeeds Like — Failure”
Man, I’m so depressed by the state of the nation that I can’t even post anything of substance, I just sit here occasionally ejaculating aloud my (borrowed but favorite) bleat-of-horror/despair…
Im out of town without a computer so i cant verify. I was told 2 day dat its o fish all g m will not b able 2 pay loan back
Translation. “Even though we pissed away those other billions of dollars you gave us, all we need is a few billion more and we can turn this thing around”. Also, any “finance reform” is going to be written by the banks themselves so dont hold your breath on it making things better.
“Maybe we’ll get this finance mess fixed, when both government and industry resolve to speak English again.”
I think REAL financial reform isn’t going to happen…at least for a long time. I’m not very optimistic at this point in time.
Wall Street’s Big Win
Finance reform won’t stop the high-risk gambling that wrecked the economy – and Republicans aren’t the only ones to blame
By Matt Taibbi (August 4, 2010)
Cue the credits: the era of financial thuggery is officially over. Three hellish years of panic, all done and gone – the mass bankruptcies, midnight bailouts, shotgun mergers of dying megabanks, high-stakes SEC investigations, all capped by a legislative orgy in which industry lobbyists hurled more than $600 million at Congress. It all supposedly came to an end one Wednesday morning a few weeks back, when President Obama, flanked by hundreds of party flacks and congressional bigwigs, stepped up to the lectern at an extravagant ceremony to sign into law his sweeping new bill to clean up Wall Street.
Obama’s speech introducing the massive law brimmed with celebratory finality. He threw around lofty phrases like “never again” and “no more.” He proclaimed the end of unfair credit-card-rate hikes and issued a fatwa on abusive mortgage practices and the shady loans that helped fuel the debt bubble. The message was clear: The sheriff was padlocking the Wall Street casino, and the government was taking decisive steps to unfuck our hopelessly broken economy.
But is the nightmare really over, or is this just another Inception-style trick ending? It’s hard to figure, given all the absurd rhetoric emanating from the leadership of both parties. Obama and the Democrats boasted that the bill is the “toughest financial reform since the ones we created in the aftermath of the Great Depression” – a claim that would maybe be more impressive if Congress had passed any financial reforms since the Great Depression, or at least any that didn’t specifically involve radically undoing the Depression-era laws.
The Republicans, meanwhile, were predictably hysterical. They described the new law – officially known as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act – as something not far from a full-blown Marxist seizure of the means of production. House ¬Minority Leader John Boehner shrieked that it was like “killing an ant with a nuclear weapon,” apparently forgetting that the ant crisis in question wiped out about 40 percent of the world’s wealth in a little over a year, making its smallness highly debatable.
But Dodd-Frank was neither an FDR-style, paradigm-shifting reform, nor a historic assault on free enterprise. What it was, ultimately, was a cop-out, a Band-Aid on a severed artery. If it marks the end of anything at all, it represents the end of the best opportunity we had to do something real about the criminal hijacking of America’s financial-services industry. During the yearlong legislative battle that forged this bill, Congress took a long, hard look at the shape of the modern American economy – and then decided that it didn’t have the stones to wipe out our country’s one ¬dependably thriving profit center: theft.
The lender of last resort is lending. You should be angry that things have come down to the last resort, thanks to all the voters who felt Wall Street regulation would infringe upon their freedom, not by the lender merely doing its job after failing in its normal duties. I hear the “We’re From the Government and Are Here to Help You” snit a lot about stuff like this. If we ever pay for Medicare Part D we’ll hear it again, and you can guess from who.
SwM & anon nurse,
I didn’t see it at the time but hindsight is 20/20 … gotta agree with you …
Thanks for that link, Swarthmore Mom. I’ve heard rumblings about this before, and agree that it’s possible, even likely, that he was “set up”, as you say. He, unlike AIG, was not “too big to fail.”
http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/132547/was_eliot_spitzer_taken_out_because_he_was_going_to_bust_aig/ Spitzer was on to Maurice Greenberg and AIG early on. Some think he was set up. I think I do.
Nope … when the government fixes all those undocumented mortgages by reducing the pay-offs and straightening out the paperwork then … maybe … AIG can have a little bit more … maybe
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