“Give Us The Money Back, AIG”

“Give Us The Money Back, AIG”

March 16th, 2009 Posted By drillanwr.

Defense Budget

Anybody else recall certain republican Congress members insisting after the first bank bailout that there was no monitoring or watch-dogging going on as to how those who received the bailout money was spending it?

BTW, AIG had these bonuses pre-planned before the bailout … Congress, if they were “smart” would have looked into that and insisted before handing over money that the bank either cease or cutback any and all bonuses. But, as usual, it’s all political theater of indignation with these ass clowns.


White House May Want AIG Money Back
Administration Investigates Ways To Retrieve Some Of The Millions AIG Used For Bonuses

The Obama administration is looking for ways to recoup at least some of the $165 million American International Group, Inc. paid out in bonuses over the weekend, despite accepting billions in government aid to stay afloat, reports CBS News correspondent Peter Maer.

The White House continues to negotiate with AIG to bring any payments in line with the government’s priorities, an administration official told CBS News.

President Barack Obama is scheduled to speak Monday morning on AIG while rolling out his plan to help small businesses. He’s expected to voice anger over the bonuses and could elaborate on administration efforts to recover some of the money, reports Maer.

The administration official said that the bonuses “long been known about inside and outside AIG. But we didn’t want to accept them.”

The White House is seeking what are described as “mechanisms” to recover money spent on bonuses, but the company insists some of the bonuses are part of legally binding contracts signed before the government’s bailout.

The administration is concerned that public reaction to the bonuses could affect the president’s overall economic agenda, reports Maer.

“It is unacceptable for Wall Street firms receiving government assistance to hand out million dollar bonuses, while hard-working Americans bear the burden of this economic crisis,” the official told CBS News.

Meanwhile, AIG disclosed Sunday that it used more than $90 billion in federal aid to pay out foreign and domestic banks, some of whom had received their own multibillion-dollar U.S. government bailouts.

Some of the biggest recipients of the AIG money were Goldman Sachs at $12.9 billion, and three European banks – France’s Societe Generale at $11.9 billion, Germany’s Deutsche Bank at $11.8 billion, and Britain’s Barclays PLC at $8.5 billion. Merrill Lynch, which also is undergoing federal scrutiny of its bonus plans, received $6.8 billion as of Dec. 31.

Lawrence Summers, Director of the White House National Economic Council, said on CBS’ Face The Nation on Sunday that the AIG bonuses were “outrageous… The whole situation at AIG is outrageous. What taxpayers are being forced to do is outrageous.”

The company, now about 80 percent owned by U.S. taxpayers, has received roughly $170 billion from the government, which feared that its collapse could cause widespread damage to banks and consumers around the globe.

In an exclusive interview aired Sunday on 60 Minutes, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke spoke with unusual candor of the frustration he felt in bailing out AIG.

“Of all the events and all of the things we’ve done in the last 18 months, the single one that makes me the angriest, that gives me the most angst, is the intervention with AIG,” Bernanke told 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley.

“Here was a company that made all kinds of unconscionable bets. Then, when those bets went wrong, we had a situation where the failure of that company would have brought down the financial system,” Bernanke said.

“It makes me angry. I slammed the phone more than a few times on discussing AIG. I understand why the American people are angry. It’s absolutely unfair that taxpayer dollars are going to prop up a company that made these terrible bets, that was operating out of the sight of regulators, but which we have no choice but to stabilize, or else risk enormous impact, not just in the financial system, but on the whole U.S. economy,” he told Pelley.

The $90 billion chunk of the bailout money went to banks to cover AIG’s losses on complex mortgage investments, as well as for collateral needed for other transactions.

Other banks receiving between $1 billion and $3 billion from AIG’s securities lending unit include Citigroup Inc., Switzerland’s UBS AG and Morgan Stanley.

Municipalities in certain states, including California, Virginia and Hawaii, received a total of $12.1 billion under guaranteed investment agreements.


Lawmakers Target AIG Over Executive Bonuses
Rep. Barney Frank says American International Group is “rewarding incompetence” by paying out millions in bonuses.

Key lawmakers are calling for the government to crack down on American International Group after learning the bailed-out insurance giant is going ahead with plans to pay $165 million dollars in bonuses to its executives.

Though AIG Chairman Edward Liddy claims his hands are contractually tied, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said Monday he’s not convinced.

“I want to look at it very carefully,” said the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. “These people may have a right to their bonuses — they don’t have a right to their jobs forever.”

Appearing on NBC’s “Today” show, Frank noted that federal government “is the 80 percent owner” of the company and has some leverage.

“Maybe it’s time to fire some people,” he said, adding that the bonuses were “rewarding incompetence.”

“Forget about the legal matter here for a second,” Frank said. “These bonuses are going to people who screwed this thing up enormously, who made terrible decisions.”

A subcommittee for Frank’s panel plans to call Liddy to testify during a hearing on Wednesday.

Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., chairman of the subcommittee, said in a statement that lawmakers would investigate the bonuses at the hearing.

“We cannot allow individuals who acted irresponsibly to reap undue benefits,” he said.

The $165 million was payable to executives by Sunday and was part of a larger total payout reportedly valued at $450 million. The company has benefited from more than $170 billion in a federal rescue.

AIG reported this month that it had lost $61.7 billion for the fourth quarter of last year, the largest corporate loss in history. The bulk of the payments at issue cover AIG Financial Products, the unit of the company that sold credit default swaps, the risky contracts that caused massive losses for the insurer.

It also was revealed over the weekend that American International Group Inc. used more than $90 billion in federal aid to pay out foreign and domestic banks, some of whom had received their own multibillion-dollar U.S. government bailouts.

Some of the biggest recipients of the AIG money were Goldman Sachs at $12.9 billion, and three European banks — France’s Societe Generale at $11.9 billion, Germany’s Deutsche Bank at $11.8 billion, and Britain’s Barclays PLC at $8.5 billion. Merrill Lynch, which also is undergoing federal scrutiny of its bonus plans, received $6.8 billion as of Dec. 31.

The money went to banks to cover their losses on complex mortgage investments, as well as for collateral needed for other transactions.

On ABC’s “Good Morning America” Monday, Sen. Richard Shelby said Congress must do everything it can to make sure the government money going to AIG is handled appropriately.

“We ought to explore everything that we can through the government to make sure that this money is not wasted,” the Alabama Republican said. “These people brought this on themselves. Now you’re rewarding failure. A lot of these people should be fired, not awarded bonuses. This is horrible. It’s outrageous.”

AIG has agreed to Obama administration requests to restrain future payments. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner pressed the president’s case with Liddy last week.

“He stepped in and berated them, got them to reduce the bonuses following every legal means he has to do this,” said Austan Goolsbee, staff director of President Barack Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, told “FOX News Sunday.”

Lawrence Summers, a leading Obama economic adviser, said Sunday that Geithner had used all his power, “both legal and moral, to reduce the level of these bonus payments.”

In an interview that aired Sunday on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke did not address the bonuses but expressed his frustration with the AIG intervention.

“It makes me angry. I slammed the phone more than a few times on discussing AIG,” Bernanke said. “It’s — it’s just absolutely — I understand why the American people are angry.”

In a letter to Geithner dated Saturday, Liddy said outside lawyers had informed the company that AIG had contractual obligations to make the bonus payments and could face lawsuits if it did not do so.


Obama’s essence

Obama’s essence

By James Lewis

Undisciplined. Disorganized. Overreaching. Dangerous. Even the Democrats are taking off the upside-down plastic buckets they’ve kept over their heads, like David Broder, David Ignatius, and even David Brooks, the house conservative at the NYT, who keeps trying to hug that dangerous median strip on the superhighway of life, dancing and dodging between all the whizzing cars and trucks. 


But the commentariat still doesn’t understand that Obama is the worst control freak to occupy high office in the history of the United States. Obama is the Nanny to end all Nannies. Socialism is not a political philosophy for him. It’s the other way around. Control freakery is Obama’s basic personality. Socialism is just his way of making it look good to his buds on the Left.


It’s called obsessive-compulsive personality, and if he can get himself a good doctor he might be able to get a pill for it. But he doesn’t see it as a problem for one Barack (Barry) Soetoro Obama, the Reinvented Man. He sees it as everybody else’s problem, including the stock market, high-paid executives, people who objected to his weird appointee’s weird choice of Chas Freeman for a top intelligence post, and just about everybody else who doesn’t march in lockstep with his frantic fantasy life. We all just need a leetle more controlling and he’ll be just a titch happier with us.


Unfortunately for him this is the most naturally anarchic country in the world: What do you think Rock ‘n Roll is about, not to mention Gangsta Rap? It’s not a Mozart minuet. It’s the drumbeat of rebellion that has run this country since 1776.


Obama is oddly foreign in that respect. He’s more like Kim Jong-Il or Robert Mugabe, or Saddam Hussein for that matter. Control. He is profoundly afraid of losing it, and has learned to project total control in his very persona. That’s what earned him the faith of the liberal masses. The trouble is that nobody else will take orders!  No wonder he doesn’t like Israel, a country that is as wildly anarchic as America. No wonder he admires the disciplined Swedes, and gave his first big speech at the Berlin Prussian victory monument. Citizens of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your freedom.

The reason why this White House is so chaotic and can’t even staff the Treasury at a time of wild economic turmoil is that Obama needs to micromanage it all. That’s why he’s got six Secretaries of State. Hillary is just a figurehead. He’s got Joe Biden, who’s not all that together himself, he’s got his special reps to the Middle East and Af-Pakistan, he’s got his letter to Khamenei in Iran, he wrote his own letter to Russia’s prime minister (which was contemptuously dissed in public), he’s got his “Up yours, British Imperialist!” meeting with Gordon Brown, followed by some mysterious “high State Department source” telling the Brits they’re no different from all the other 200 countries in the world, and on and on. FDR famously played off his bureaucrats against each other to keep more power in his own hands. Obama is trying the same thing, except that he can’t resist the urge to meddle and micromanage. No wonder Warren Buffett is getting freaked out watching it. 

Take something as small as Obama’s need for a word-for-word script, just to answer questions at press conferences. His teleprompter dependency is simply unprecedented. Any Republican president would be laughed out of the room with that kind of hand-holding from Axelrod, or Bill Ayers, or Michelle, or whoever is dictating the words behind the scenes. No wonder Obama is considered eloquent. Like a talking head on TV he constantly needs his writers to feed him the words, so he can pay total attention to his acting style. But even his acting is degenerating in front of our eyes: Obama is turning Obombastama. You can tell from the tone of hysteria creeping into his operatic baritone. Maybe they need to switch that reverb circuit back on? That should impress all the lickspittles of the White House press.

The paradox of it all is that the free market will have to get us out of this mess, simply because whatever policies Obama conjures up from day to day are contradictory. You can’t spend a trillion plus on the phony stimulus bill, and then expect to spend more and more trillions of Monopoly money on your liberal wish list: universal healthcare, carbon trading schemes, declaring CO2 to be a poison. “Pardon me for breathing,” as New Yorkers used to say. That was a joke. Soon breathing out CO2 may require a carbon trading license from Carol Browner at the EPA.  Not a joke. As for the other end, methane is next.

With Obama running around in all directions at the same time, the market will find ways to get around overregulation. It usually does. The old military maxim is “order, counter-order, disorder.” Another useful rule is “never give a command that won’t be obeyed.” But that’s precisely what the Big O keeps doing. It’s an odd way to liberate those markets that cannot be controlled — which is most of them — but what the hell, it’s a libertarian dream.

And when the economy recovers in spite of all that control freakery, Obama will take the credit. In a way, he might deserve it.
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