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AIG on their faces

I provide this link for those who may not “get” the pun and English idiom (as the result of language and cultural differences).

It is not true that “AIG” is an acronym for “Anger In Government,” :-) but you would never know it today from the reaction of the White House and some members of Congress to the insurance giant AIG’s intended plan to pay out $165 million (USD) in BONUSES after having received at least $170 billion in taxpayer bailout money (so far).

Pressure from the Treasury forced AIG to scale back on their intended bonuses by 30%, while U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, in a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, urged the Obama administration to explore legal options to prevent the millions of dollars in AIG payouts. According to the CNN article cited above, AIG lost a record $62 billion in the fourth quarter of 2008 and has more than 74 million insurance policies issued in 130 countries around the world.

AIG finally gave into demands from Congress today to name the banks that received billions of dollars during the fall of 2008 as part of a taxpayer bailout. According to the CNN article, the top recipients of CDS-related collareral were France’s Societe Generale, with $4.1 billion, Germany’s Deutsche Bank, with $2.6 billion, and Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch of the U.S., with $2.5 billion and $1.8 billion. The banks were also the top recipients under the CDO purchase program, with SocGen receiving $6.9 billion, Goldman $5.6 billion, Merrill $3.1 billion, and Deutsch Bank $2.8 billion. The top beneficiaries from the unwinding of the securities lending portfolio were Baclays of the U.K., with $7 billion, Deutsche Bank, with $6.4 billion, BNP Paribas of France, with $4.9 billion, Goldman, with $4.8 billion, and Bank of America with $4.5 billion.

(Note added March 23, 2009: The more I thought about it, the more I wondered why American taxpayers were bailing out (indirectly) all of these “foreign” banks. Then I remembered that both greed and stupidity know no “boundaries.” :-) )

Meanwhile, an iReporter video suggests that AIG SELL its corporate headquarters in downtown Manhattan and move “to an office park in New Jersey.” :-)

In case you got “lost in all of the zeros” of the figures above, it is important to remember the case of Bruce Windsor of South Carolina, an “average American citizen” whose business bankruptcy and debt of over $50,000 (that’s 4 zeros) drove him to allegedly rob a bank in desperation. If found guilty, Windsor faces 30 years in prison. The prosecution is urging a “hard line” toward the man, to serve as an example for other people who might consider robbing a bank as a solution.

It really DOES depend who is “holding the gun.”

(Note added 03/17/2009: In the combatting “AIGregious:-) gall department – see this article about plans in the Senate to tax the bonuses paid to AIG executives.)

(Note added 03/18/2009: And in the story that just won’t die… it’s “PAYBACK time!”) :-)

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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