It's a bad time to be an expert at AIG. The public is pissed about having to pay millions of dollars in bonuses to AIG executives, given that they bankrupt AIG. Edward Liddy, the CEO of AIG, testifying live and under oath before Congress, says that those bonuses are necessary to avoid total collapse of the company, the economy, and the baby Jesus.
''I am trying to desperately prevent an uncontrolled collapse of the business," said Liddy, who was brought out of retirement six months ago to run AIG. There is still risk that that could blow up," said Liddy, and it was clear from his expression that the prospect was not a rhetorical exercise.
Liddy didn't need to further connect the dots. If AIG F.P.'s outstanding portfolio of derivative products "blows up" -- the cascade could likely bring down AIG's counterparties. Which would inevitably require the expenditure of further government trillions to prevent a systemic crash.''
However, now Congress doesn't want to give them that money because the public is pissed.
Salon: ''You have to love -- or hate -- the beauty of this showdown. The CEO of AIG tells Congress that giving out bonuses is necessary in order to prevent a financial cascade of destruction that could bring down the economy. And Congress tells the CEO of AIG that giving out the bonuses ensures that Congress will not authorize any more funds to mitigate exactly that disaster.''
Okay, I hate drawing historical parallels, but... As someone who studies French history, it's pretty hard to think of another situation in which an entrenched and corrupted elite went begging a public- that already had a deep and justified hatred for them- for more money to keep them in lifestyles that were no longer sustainable with the excuse that they really needed the money because they'd messed up the nation's economy and now needed to save it...
Oh, wait, no it's not!