We the People have sold our last shares in the American Insurance Group or AIG. While there were many firms that contributed to the Great Recession, AIG was arguably the number one culprit in sinking the economy and throwing millions of hard-working middle class taxpayers into the misery and chaos of unemployment. Including by the way, your humble blogger.
Wapo — AIG, which is based in New York City, nearly collapsed at the height of the financial crisis. The company suffered massive losses from financial instruments whose value was based on mortgage securities.
AIG became a symbol for excessive risk on Wall Street and a touchstone of public anger. It was criticized by some members of Congress for spending $440,000 on spa treatments for executives only days after it was bailed out and for millions of dollars in bonuses it provided executives.
When the company could not make good on their trillions in unregulated bets back in 2008 they came begging, hat in hand, for a taxpayer bailout. Principles of free market magic and moral hazards preached from the pulpits of capitalism for decades evaporated faster than morning dew under a blowtorch. At several points hired panhandlers bleated repeatedly that they, American Insurance Group, the largest and most successful risk manager on earth mind you, simply had no idea they were taking on so much risk! Save us!
It worked, the bankstas got oodles of money and free loans from We the People, companies like AIG were nationalized and survived, the banks were saved, and Wall Street rebounded, but not before tens of millions of taxpayers lost their jobs and thousands of those lucky duckies lost everything including their homes. After AIG and their banking buddies got bailed out of their bad debts by We the People and paid themselves a round or two of lavish multimillion dollar bonuses, top executives and their lobbyists went strutting around like carefully groomed peacocks scolding the rest of us on the evils of taking on the very debt that saved them.
Socialize the losses, privatize the profits. Most crooks would stop right there and thank what gods that be they’re not in several rotting pieces hanging from a light post on the edge of town. But these are in the words of Diehard’s head bad guy ’most uncommon thieves,’ they weren’t satisified. The banksta gang moved on to the next part of their caper: fighting regulations that would prevent another meltdown tooth and nail and demanding We the People sacrifice even more so the perps, now remarketed as Job Creators, could get another tax cut. They found eager partners among the conservative elite and armies of volunteer citizen foot soldiers among the religious right and neoconfederates, and went on to label those of us who objected to the ongoing heist, mainly middle class and former middle class folks like me who paid dearly with our livelihood and savings, with names like moocher, socialist, and the ’47% who expect government gifts’.
Whaaaat; you want the government that bailed out AIG to make good on the decades of premiums you’ve paid into Social Security and Medicare? Class warfare! Class warfare! IOW, carefully managed projection on an heretofore unseen industrial scale.
When the majority of us rejected their scam and their lead toadie Mitt Romney, they were stunned — somehow the smartest guys in the room could not understand why they lost that argument? But despite getting their gold plated asses kicked in the election, those dark forces of insatiable greed continue fighting against the middle class taxpayers who saved them to this day. See the scary Deficit Monster and its sidekick the terrifying Fiscal Cliff for today’s rendition of the same old song.
Americans are often criticized for having short memories. But this just happened over the last four years and it’s pretty simple, We saved their asses, They trashed us. Remember this sordid tale when your crazy Teaparty uncle decides to lecture you on the evils of government spending over the holidays.