March 2nd, 2009
08:26 PM GMT
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NEW YORK – It has been called a black hole. The insurance giant American International Group is sucking in billions of dollars in government aid that just seems to vanish.

AIG managed the biggest quarterly loss in corporate history.
AIG managed the biggest quarterly loss in corporate history.

Ask analysts how AIG managed to lose almost $62 billion in just three months and many will just shake their heads and throw up their hands.

In good times, the company's balance sheet could be hard to decipher; in this crisis it has become a gargantuan task.

In an attempt to get to the bottom of it, I went through their press release.

There were billions in unrealized market valuation losses, derivative losses, goodwill impairments, tax benefits not obtained.

I ended up more confused. Especially when I saw the $2.3 billion chalked up to OTHER!!!

Thankfully, my colleague Ali Velshi interviewed AIG CEO Edward Liddy and pushed him to try and explain it in plain language.

This is what he said. "We have a $600 billion investment portfolio, it's invested in equities; equities are declining in value. It's invested in certain forms of real estate; real estate is declining in value. We have to take that decline and put it through our P&L, that's what drives a good portion of that $62 billion loss."

Okay, that makes a little more sense.

Just like my house and my 401K which have plummeted in value and hurt my net worth, AIG's assets are tanking and they are acknowledging those losses.

How did a boring insurance company find itself in this position?

In the 1990's AIG expanded from their traditional role of selling life insurance and retirement products and got heavily involved in the complicated derivatives market.

Analysts liken it to building a hedge fund on top of the regular business base.

In the boom times that quasi-hedge fund made the company billions, but when the U.S. subprime market cracked a lot of those derivative contracts came back to haunt them.

In Liddy's words, they got involved in a business they didn't fully understand. That is an understatement.

Unfortunately we are now paying the price.

The U.S. government has ponied up $180 billion in aid and backstops and some estimate that bill could ultimately run half a trillion dollars.

European banks remained exposed. Retail customers around the world worry that their policies are safe.

Are you one of those customers who hold an AIG policy? Do you agree the government should stand behind the company or does there come a time when enough is enough?

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soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. Chris

    Enough is enough since a long time. Obama, using economic instruments without considering the fact that these companies will never learn anything without having to take full responsibility for have taken extreme risks going for short term earnings is a bad idea. You can not just let the dollar printing machines solve all their problems. This will create an historic inflation never seen before is US history. Regards from Sweden.

    March 2, 2009 at 9:24 pm |
  2. RKaya

    Quite frankly – AIG should file for bankrupcty. It placed itself in its position and the idea it did not know what it was getting into is ridiculous. If a regular person did so and sustained these mind boggling losses, he/she would be bankrupt. The fact that other institutions or even countries would be in trouble or default if AIG were in bankruptcy is immaterial because so would the creditors and co-debtors if the "regular person" had to seek bankruptcy protection. It is unfair, ridiculous and mind boggling to "bail out" AIG with taxpayer money and my children's future. With nearly 200 billion in aid to this one company alone, if the government were instead to have given each taxpayer a proportionate share, the money would do more to re-generate the economy.

    March 2, 2009 at 9:59 pm |
  3. Zhuang

    Try to save all these companies, which are insolvent sometimes ago, by artificially prolong their heart beat, will not make them back to life. They are gone, please let them rest in peace. Now their zombie lifeless bodies are full of band-aid and slowly turning to Frankenstein monster. Let them go now, or others healthy mortal will be contaminated and become zombie as well. When US government run out of money to help them, USA will become a Frankenstein nation. It turn out that the world largest Casion is not in Las Vegas or Macau, it is in the whole financial sector of corporate America. In casino, you bet your own money, you either loose your own money or you take the win. In Wall Street, they bet using other people money, if win, they take the money, if loose, it is other people money. America Ivy League University really good in educating these smart people.

    March 3, 2009 at 7:48 am |
  4. Mehmet Kurtkaya

    Brace for impact, market capitalism is falling.

    Unfortunately CNN has always been way behind the curve since the crash began july 2007. Unfortunately always on the delusional side. It is funny that people call Dr. Roubini Dr. Doom as he was the only realist in a party of exubarance and lies. He must be renamed Dr. Sober.

    Anyways AIG as we know it will be gone eventually. Before that It will keep bringing more losses and all these will be underwritten by the American taxpayer held hostage by the finance people. At the end financial system will be owned by the government. People will still deny reality and claim this is capitalism. Hollywood will make movies along the line of "capitalism is dead, long live capitalism".

    March 3, 2009 at 8:22 am |
  5. James in Atlanta

    Sounds like it is time to quit throwing good money after bad! Break AIG up into smaller pieces and sell them off to the highest bidder.

    Fool me once shame on you; fool me twice shame on me; fool me three four or five times shame on our government!

    AIG gave lavish parties, handed out big bonuses, during bad economic times and asked for government bail out after bail out after bailout; that just show they have not good business sense. Bailing AIG out just rewards the bad behavior they have demonstrated.

    Any company should not be allowed to get so big that it is considered “too big to fail” and we need regulations to keep the “too big to fail” from happening.

    Firms like AIG often get "to big to fail" by buying smaller profitable firms and through "cost saving measures" replace all the people who made that firm profitable with lower paid workers who do not understand good businesses practices.

    Sounds like it is time to reverse the trends of the past by breaking up firms like AIG that are "too big to fail" into smaller firms that are not too big to fail.

    March 3, 2009 at 8:24 am |
  6. Steve Mierzejewski

    The government already owns 80% of AIG. Get it over with. Nationalize it, sell off the parts that can be sold, and use the remaining infrastructure as a scaffold upon which to build the impending U.S. national health care plan. At least taxpayers would have a chance to get some benefits from all of this money they've been spending.

    March 3, 2009 at 8:38 am |
  7. dan in Tucson

    OMG Washington. Look at the polls. PEOPLE DON'T WANT an AIG bailout again. When is Washington going to start listening to the people. We as Americans voiced our need for change last November, but it seems we have the same practices over and over.
    Obama, change means change. We are all grown up out here and know that change will hurt at first, but at least it will give us hope that the future will be better. You are slowly destroying that hope you seem to be giving us. My god, they shoot horses, don't they.

    March 3, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  8. James

    I believe that the gov't should in some cases back or help some of the larger companies because they are the backbone of the US economy, but what I really think should happen is that the gov't should back the $$ and make it stronger against the other major currencies so that our imports cost less and are not drawing down on the profits of all the companies in the US big or small. O believe this will have an effect on the whole world, do to the fact that the US will start buying more again from overseas and boosting the economies there also.

    March 3, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  9. FaithMarie

    While watching the story on AIG this morning I started to wonder why so many banks are failing, due to the mortgage crisis, if AIG's woes stem, partially, from its line of insurance that covered mortgages? What is the interplay? If AIG is covering the loss to the banks, they why are they failing?

    March 3, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  10. Paul D

    A limited amount of loans should be made only for the sake of the economy.
    But beware, only if the firm's management gets fired and replaced. Otherwise, future managers will behave jut as irresponsably. And of course, the federal government has limited resources.
    I hope the loans will be payed back to American taxpayers with interest, and to the last penny, when the economy recovers. Please, no disguised gifts.
    Nationalization is only a desparate and temporary move, beause the fire is raging.
    The federeal government needs to make seroius moves so that this financial mess does not happen again, because history often repeats itself.

    March 3, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  11. Scott

    Enough is enough. AIG cannot be 'too big to fail'. The survival of the fittest rings true in business more than anywhere else. If we keep funneling the taxpayer money into businesses who have way too much debt exposure, we propogate the problem by excusing the lack of foresight; and the cycle begins anew.

    Let them fail, imo. Sure it will hurt a lot of people in the short term. (For that I am truly sorry to those invested) However, long term, we will be sending a distinct signal to ALL of the lenders/insurers that we trust our money to those who are fiscally responsible.

    Do we reimburse the common man for failed investments? No, we do not. By not cutting our losses and taking our lumps (I would say this relates to the entire financial crisis), we are slapping the American people as well as the smaller businesses (many of whom were wiser with their investments) in the face with the damages.

    What happens when the funds dry up? Print more money? Better to let them fail then take us all down with them. No one is THAT big.

    March 3, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  12. Phil, Heidelberg, Germany

    You don't mean to tell me that the CEO and Execs are looking for another bonus? Or, are the dividends they received not high enough?

    March 3, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  13. Phil, Heidelberg, Germany

    Why is Liddy still the CEO if he doesn't understand investments and still buys into them?

    March 3, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  14. Phil, Heidelberg, Germany

    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH – LET THEM GO BANKRUPT!!!!

    March 3, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  15. Johnny Chia, Singapore

    Can only shake my head!!! We are punished for "a few good men" ignonance.
    The best part is that they are enjoying the best paid salaries.
    Shame on all these corporate leeches!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 4, 2009 at 3:59 am |
  16. Onyiluka Ik

    If you conduct a SWOT analysis of the USA, AIG and other corporations that are "too big to fail", represent grave threats. AIG, GM, Citigroup etc should die for America to live.

    March 4, 2009 at 8:47 am |
  17. David

    CUT THEM ALL LOOSE – let them go broke.
    Not just AIG. Outrages… Anyone involved in U.S. subprime markets hould have ALL family assets seized by the Feds, all the mansions, the holiday villa, the aircraft, the boats, and the condos, everything right down to the dinner plates. Use the Police and Army to seize the lot. Send a strong message, never again NEVER AGAIN will the people tolerate this crap from cowboy corporates. Family trusts need to be outlawed and the assets that they hold seized using retrospective legislation. Corporate assets and companies nationalised if that’s what it takes. Let the blood flow and clean this “Made in the USA” mess up once and for all. Criminal charges laid against anyone who has played any part in this, lock them up, lay charges as Terrorist, they have committed Treason on US soil, give them the chair. For year these scum have reaped fortunes in massive rewards, now they fly to Washington in private jets seeking the taxpayer to bail them out. OUTRAGES. Send in the receivers and the Police. Send a message that only the honest and trustworthy will survive. Bailouts only reinforce bad and risky behaviour and promote that Corporates can do anything including pay themselves outrages amount while committing Trason and the Fed Govt will underwrite any lose – what a jock. The USA Gov’t allowed this to happen and is now responsible to clean it up.
    Every nation from around the world affected should send the USA the bill for bailout package costs. Those cost could be worked off via trade over the next 20 or 30 years, just like the US did to countries like the UK after WWII.
    AIG is just cancer in the corporate world, CUT THEM ALL LOOSE and let the many honest and trustworthy companies who product real wealth prosper.
    It is time for TUFF LOVE corporate style.
    Not just with AIG and the banks – same with car manufactures – what a joke still using gas to run cars... Who killed the electric car? GM. New companies will soon fill the space, be strong, have courage to make the hard decisions.

    March 5, 2009 at 2:13 am |
  18. Francois Hodler, Spain

    When they lose money, they indirectly kill people, Hang them all please. May this nightmare end someday !

    March 7, 2009 at 12:33 am |
  19. Frank J. Robbins

    When will the Executives of the Financial and Investment Firms and Lobbiest Paid Politicians be held accountable for the lending programs that they promoted on mortgage lending stampede through the house? This has ruined the lives of millions of people around the world. These guys know exactly how the financial and investment systems work. They were all making money on the back end.This was a deliberate plan from the start. They knew the borrows ability to pay their debt was less than a 50 percent. The executives and politicians plan was to profit 100 percent. It is in my opinion as countless others, tarring and feathering or prison is not enough for these thieves.

    March 7, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  20. Sam in Spain

    Maggie, I have to agree with Phil in Heidelberg, a beautiful city. I also find it breathtaking that the US even considered bailing out this company. There are hundreds of Insurance companies in the US so even if it is or was the biggest I am sure that there would have been take up by the other companies of parts of the business instead of WASTING TAXPAYERS MONEY.
    Mind you their credability has sunk very low after Katrina and the rejection of genuine claims. You will know the old expression "Too many cooks spoil the broth". I think Obana will have to re-think this expression and change it to "TOO MANY CROOKS SPOIL THE ECONOMIES", and the UK is getting just as bad

    March 8, 2009 at 10:34 am |
  21. Val, United States

    Be afraid. Be very afraid. AIG is just one of many - happens to be a very big one, but still just one. Until leaders are honest about how many derivatives (MBS, CDO, CDS) exist and for how long... we are not coming out of this. And these derivatives are still being created and sold - and unregulated. What legistlation is being created to fix/stop this practice? Until that happens - no confidence, no trust, no recovery. We are the next Japan. To increase confidence and trust - be honest, be factual, fix the problem, and replace the folks that created this economic disaster. Pouring money into AIG solves nothing.

    March 8, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  22. stephen, Philippines

    If you are a believer in Capitlism, then I would say a controlled bankrupt is preferred than putting good money into bad. In capitalism, you screw up you owed up. Besides, there will always be people who will buy or invest, they are just waiting for the right product or time.

    If you are a believer in refined Capitalism or semi-socialism, then I would say there's nothing wrong with Nationalizing AIG and other big boys on the block, since they have ask for fianancial assistance, as creditor, whether its other judicial personality or government (sepcially government since its the taxpayers' money), can demand since they are "investing:"

    Go in, changed the entire management team and the board of directors, the former created this mess, the latter didn't exercise prudence and fiduciary responsibilities. Clean up the and sold off to private or institution investors later.

    By the way, why not separate again the bank, insurance, investment brokerage and mortgage activities? When the insitution became too big they think they can write their own rules and play their own games.

    March 9, 2009 at 1:54 am |
  23. stephen, Philippines

    One more thing, repeal the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999. Re-enact or re-install the 2nd GLASS-STEGALL ACT (BANKING ACT OF 1933).

    It seems the congress then have more sense and balls and are not that beholden to the big boys.

    March 9, 2009 at 2:18 am |
  24. Homer Landreth

    Campbell Brown has finally stood up to the task that all of the other "talking heads" at CNN have not done. She said that we the people need to be told where our bailout money went. The first candidate for an attempt to do that is AIG. The first issue the people need to find out about is Credit Default Swaps. CDS are the reason for the dump in the economic system. Subprime mortgages are not the cause, they were the simple tipping point that started the CDS house of cards falling. AIG is he biggest player in the CDS market. I think that CNN business "experts" should draw up a flow chart of what a CDS is and then explain to the viewers how the CDS market as owned by AIG and others swallowed up all of the bailout money. That is where it all went, "show us the money"!

    March 9, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  25. Tim

    There is alot more to this. the reason this company cannot fail is a lot of our politicians Govenors, senators, congressmen, are funded in the reelection campaign .if they do not do what big buisness says you will not recieve campaigne funding. this puts politicians in the pocket of big buisness, let them fail. vote for term limits, it is the only way to get a handle on this type of corruption.

    March 12, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  26. DrewK

    I just want to make sure you guys know these are loans to the company. I realize some public is against the bailouts,but it strongly depends on what news source you rely on.

    All the news organizations have 2 groups of economists, And it seems whatever will get ratings is the group they go with for todays stories.

    March 12, 2009 at 11:04 pm |
  27. dan in Tucson

    The day of the big corporations and Republican thinking is over. Lets let them both die out. Ultimately we will all be better off. Lets start by bailing out the middle class instead of the rich.

    March 13, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  28. Phil, Heidelberg, Germany

    Stop bailouts to AIG and the other troubled organizations until they stop spending their money on Sports, and the doped up sports athletes. They wouldn't be able to make all that money they need for the dope. Ban any player found to use dope for LIFE, not a slap on the wrist.

    March 14, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  29. Ed, Maryland

    We have too many American families struggling to survive this recession and shouldn't focus on companies who aren't willing to help themselves. As a taxpayer, I believe we should let the company fail and serve as an example to other companies. Most companies are now using the excuse that their companies will fail if they don't receive a bailout from the government. We have to put an end to this and start holding companies accountable now.

    Ed

    March 15, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  30. Carla

    If all of these top people at AIG must get there bonuses, what did they do to deserve it? Since when is running a business into the ground consider worth of a bonus. Supposedly these top people will leave if they don't receive their bonuses I say where they are going to go. Most people in today's economy are just glad to have a job. Take the money away if it is not going to be spent helping the economy.

    March 15, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  31. D. Miller

    I am absolutely furious about how AIG has chosen to spend their TAXPAYER bail-out money–AGAIN–in giving millions of dollars in bonuses to executives, who (as far as I'm concerned) have done a deplorably bad job of running their company. WHY they should get ANY bonuses for their performance is beyond me, and I deplore the conceited arrogance and sense of superiority these people show toward the American people that just pulled their fat out of the fire yet one more time. If it were up to me (obviously it's not) this company would not have received another dime. I do not believe any company is too big to fail. I say let them take their lumps with the rest of us down here in the trenches. If they still want to pay out the bonuses, then fine–just subtract that amount from what they get from the government!

    March 15, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  32. f j wlas

    im behind 2 and a half months on my morgage and home equity loans on the verge of being forclosed. i pay taxes yet i cant get any help from the gov , the gov is giving AIG bale out money from taxpayers and they give it to co’s? i put myself in this position and if i lose my house i accept it but this is so far from fair and just that srew saving these companys they just abuse and abuse! hel[p the people get out of debt! we will start the economy!!

    March 15, 2009 at 10:51 pm |
  33. Alex

    The sooner the world financial system gets rid of dealing in "fresh air" (derivatives) the sooner the system will return to some sort of normality. Combine this with real accounting practices as opposed to ones that make no sense and markets and thus ordinary people will gain tremendously. Regulators & governments have created this mess – if they never allowed it in the first place, this recession would never have happenned. The worst is, they don't even understand what derivative traders do, nor I bet can they make sense of corporate financial reports. Whatever happenned to trading in real value? Now you have bllions of taxpayers money being wasted on bailing out AIG – what about the millions of small businesses struggling to make an honest living in the real world?

    March 16, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  34. Anthony

    To A I G excutives your bonus contracts are here now render null and void, you've received Ferderal Funding to keep the doors open, as a surviver of September 11 attack on the World Trade Center , you have a job,now do some work ,clean up that nasty mess, there's Bonus!!!

    March 16, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  35. ms

    I would hire someone who is not highly sought after in the business world BUT has a conscience, morals, and scrupples who can learn the trade and work his way up. Enough of these top people who think they are needed and wanted because they think we need them more than they need us... FIRE the whole lot....They have wasted our money and quite frankly – They need a kick in the ass to tell them who controls their future....

    March 16, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  36. James

    Put them all on the daily show !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 16, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  37. Bonita Bojarski

    Don't you think AIG executives should be considered a toxic asset.

    March 16, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  38. Ron Signorino

    It's high time that the government-appointed CEO Liddy gets the message and starts coming down with two feet on AIG excesses. He was in a perfect position to require all executives with large bonuses coming to them to either modify the bonus provisions of their contracts or leave (with their ill-gotten gains). I support Congresswoman Maloney's 100% tax on such bonuses, and will emphatically tell her so today.

    Just yesterday on a flight from Newark-Liberty to Seattle, I had occasion to sit opposite an AIG executive (with an attache case and travel bag both resplendent with AIG ID tags). We were both fortunate enough to have seats in first class. The big difference: My self-owned company is profitable, and I do not receive any subsidies from U.S. taxpayers who had to mortgage their children's future in order to allow that (and other) AIG excesses.

    Liddy must wake up, or go. I hope Congress makes that point clear to him at the upcoming oversight hearing.

    March 17, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  39. Dan

    AIG's philosophy for increasing wealth is a prime example of what is wrong with our economy. It is the same philosophy the wall street day traders it have. You can't make our country prosper when you have an elite few skimming all the profits from manufacturing and goods producing businesses. The only way we can increase our wealth as a nation is to produce goods and products here for export. Borrowing money from other countries, shuffling it around a little bit while skimming off a handsome portion for yourself, and then lending it out to others to pay back amounts to selling our country to foreign investors. We need to get our technological and manufacturing edge back ASAP!

    March 17, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  40. jim

    Let them have their bonuses. Just tax the excess of the sum of all 1099misc over 100k at 95%. Betcha those bonuses would disappear in a big hurry.

    March 17, 2009 at 11:50 am |
  41. Terik Ororke

    If AIG were already bankrupt, then bonuses paid out would have to come from Tax payer money. That gives the government the leverage it needs.

    March 17, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  42. Vincent Mutulo

    President Obama, you have inherited a mess, but, you are going about it in the wrong way. Give the american people the money, it would only cost 300 million to give each and every american a million dollars. That is stimulus. AIG needs to go under and away, regardless of the consequences. I'm mad, very angry, that these rich s.o.b.'s dare to pay out bonuses to their "executives" who don't care about the american people at all. They only care about themselves and screw us. Well, screw you, you unholy rich bastards. I have to scrimp and try to live on my little pittance of money while you live high on the hog. Mr President, never mind the contratual agreements and the consequences. Don't give AIG any more money. Let em sink!!

    March 17, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  43. Karen

    I wish our government would finally take action as they did with the monopolies of the past; bust up companies too big to fail like AIG. They will survive like the oil companies did of the past.

    March 17, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  44. barry

    AIG is a company made of up executives with the biggest set of balls i have ever seen. The government should definitely name the names of people who got bonuses...tax them...or somehow stop the checks from cashing.

    This is a company who, you remember, had a huge execfest at the company's, and, taxpayers expense.

    When will we stop being 'suckers' and victims.

    March 17, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  45. Betty Murphy

    All I keep hearing is they cannot do anything about the bonuses of previous contracts for retention bonuses but if these people have already left the company it should already be voided because they did not stay. That seems simple!

    March 17, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  46. barry

    What possibly could be going on in people who run AIG...are they really that naive? Do they understand what they've done? Do they have no conscience?.

    The government should definitely name the names of people who got bonuses…tax them…or somehow stop the checks from cashing.

    This is a company who, you remember, had a huge execfest at the company’s, and, taxpayers expense.

    When will we stop being ’suckers’ and victims.

    March 17, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  47. christa

    I am so angry with all CEO's, they are giving me the creeps.

    March 17, 2009 at 7:48 pm |
  48. Jim Johnson

    If those AIG guys that got the million dollar bonus had balls they would have refused it due to our present economic situation.

    If the government wants to give money away next time give it to people who are unemployed like me the rich don't need it but by God They'll Take It the greed basturds. Thier needs are no greater than my needs and thier lives are no more important than mine and they live a hell of alot better than I do and I Work For A Living!

    March 17, 2009 at 8:12 pm |
  49. Julian Boardman

    For AIG to receive bonuses AFTER the government awarded billions is the exact same thing as asking a terrioist on if they have a bomb after the plane has taken off. The damage is already done. And if you go after the bonuses, any savings would be spent with high dollar attorneys and they consultants charging, let me guess, 165 million in fees. Duh...! Welcome to village of the congressional idiots.

    March 18, 2009 at 2:09 am |
  50. Theresa Bingham

    I am begining to think that the United States Government has completely lost their minds.

    The legislative branch is displaying outrage over the AIG bonus plan and doing it's very best to pin the tail on Tim Geitner. Is it possible that they think every American has the word "stupid" tatooed on their foreheads???

    Please, ladies and gentlemen: GET REAL. The job of the house and senate is to review what the Executive Branch wants done and create legislation to allow the executive branch to get the work done. Just how many of our house and sentate rep's are lawyers? How many of our house and senate rep's have lawyers on their staffs? AND more importantly how many of our house and sentate rep's reviewed AIG's financial position, their corporate structure, and what/ where & how the money THEY gave away through the TARP legislation was going to be used???

    It is time for all the finger pointing and name calling to STOP. It is not a time for us to try and circumvent well established law and individual rights just because some news reporter broke the news that both the Executive and Legislative Branches of government failed miserably in protecting our assets.

    TO THE CONGRESS, SENATE and PRESIDENT - quit the bickering, quit running for office, fess up, you made a mistake. Now move on and fix the mistakes. As an american citizen I am telling you that you don't have my permission to up-end solid legal protections provided by the constituion of the United States to fix your grossly incompetent acts brought on by partisan politics. YOU ARE SERIOUSLY MISSING THE MESSAGE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE SENDING.

    March 18, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  51. Theresa Bingham

    The message the American Public is sending you is to quit finger pointing, quit trying to deflect blame - for heaven's sake there is so much blame to be shared by all parties, by all administrations, that we could get bogged down for centuries. PLEASE LEAVE IT TO THE HISTORIANS.

    Sit your well paid rear ends down, forget about the next election and do the job you were sent to do. ACT LIKE A GOVERNMENT, BE A GOVERNMENT AND PLEASE REFRAIN FROM PLAYING THE CHILD'S GAME OF PIN THE TAIL ON THE DONKEY.

    As hard as it is, when the rest of us mere mortals make a mistake, we have own up to the mistake, try and fix it and sometimes pay huge legal fees and penalties to fix our problems. Then we have go own with our lives, learn from our mistakes and try to do better. Sometimes, really most times, we can't blame anyone else but ourselves. It is time for you all to get your collective heads out of the sand or clouds and DO YOUR JOBS as a TEAM.

    Otherwise the blood, sweat and tears of all our forbearers will have been for naught because you have taken one of the greatest countries, the worlds symbol of democracy and flushed it down the toilet in order to annoint yourselves as the KINGS and QUEENS of name-calling and blame deflection.

    I AM BEGGING YOU ALL TO PLEASE PUT UP AND SHUT UP. REAL LIVES ARE BEING DESTROYED WHILE YOU SIT IN YOUR IVORY TOWERS AND MAKE PRONOUNCEMENTS AND CONDEMNATIONS FROM ON HIGH.

    And finally Senator Grassley, if you believe in the Japenese system of management, I suggest you take a good hard look in the mirror. Perhaps the house and senate need to heed your "good(?)" advice as well.

    March 18, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  52. Brian Guilfoy

    Since AIG is robbing the public blind and because of the policies they hold we can't let them just fold. Why doesn't the Government create new polices with responsible companies like USAA or GEICO and let AIG fold.

    March 18, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  53. Adan in Denver

    AIG is sucking in billions of dollars in government aids and from tax payers such as myself, and what do we get in return?
    Thanks to our tax dollars, The Executives of AIG are still getting their millions in bonuses while it is a struggle for most of us to pay for our mortgages and put gas in our cars so we can take our children to public schools.
    I am angry. You people @ AIG should be facing the hard times like all of us. I hope AIG will go out of business. All of you should lose your jobs, your homes, your cars and get in line for your unemployment checks just like most of us.
    The only difference between you and the rapists or our society is your million dollars bonus checks…
    SICK and WRONG

    March 18, 2009 at 7:46 pm |
  54. dale

    what i want to know what did these people that got a million dollar bonus do in good faith to recieve this money are they the new god? I think everyone who does bussiness with aig should do bussiness elsewhere let them fall believe me the american people are pissed off and will do just that.

    March 18, 2009 at 8:02 pm |
  55. Justin

    We are blaming the wrong parties in the AIG bonus situation.

    First of all, the board members should be blamed for these bonus amounts. These bonus amounts were likely written in the officers’ contracts long before the economic problems, and APPROVED by the board members, who should be blamed for allowing such rewards for poor performances. And these clauses are probably not unique in the AIG situation, but may be standard in some industries.

    Second, our corporate governance law should be revamped to control and prevent such waste. These board members will have to answer to the shareowners at the annual meeting, but by then the damage is done. A close look at some other countries’ corporate governance law can help controlling corporate waste, a complex issue.

    Third, please tell me how the government officers who handed out the money to these companies without any conditions get away without any media attention. So far all the fingers are pointed to the company CEOS, but these government officers should have known better when they handed out the bail-out money.

    March 18, 2009 at 9:01 pm |
  56. James Hobson

    I like President Obama. He is a very nice person. But now is the time to quit playing Uncle Tom with these huge corporations and show that there are times when he can mean business. Now is the time to put the money where his heart his, if it is now not yet too late.

    March 18, 2009 at 9:21 pm |
  57. greedbgetsgreed

    I think I read somewhere (maybe CNN) that AIG was a big contributor of campaign funds for the elections of many of the people (House/Senate/Whitehouse) who decided to save this company with tax payer monies.....wonder why? Looks to me like the folks at AIG were smart enough to get the right politicians in their pocket so they could guarantee government assistance.... business as usual for USA.... THE CHANGE we were promised was just another lie so someone could get elected.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:01 am |
  58. Bryan B

    Why are we blaming the government for issuing AIG bonuses, when it was AIG's poor business ethics for excepting these bonuses in the first place?P.S. I had to pay my taxes this year.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  59. Faith

    REGARDING THE AIG BONUS PAYOUTS:

    The Obama administration needs my assistance….I have an accounting background, and looking for full-time employment.

    The Obama administration and Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy F. Geithner needs someone to sit down and read the various contract agreements and monthly balance sheet accrual entries for these various banking and financial institutions who are receiving federal government bail-out monies.

    If someone had been doing their DUE-DILIGENCE they would have asked to receive the following information from these banking & financial institutions:

    1. Copies of all compensations related contracts with regards to bonuses and compensations…….For that matter they should have asked for, AND READ, ALL contract to establish any future liabilities and payments that are/could be contractually binding.

    2. Someone should have carefully reviewed the balance sheet activity of EACH DIVISION OR ENTITY of these banking and financial institutions……..There should have been “MONTHLY” ACCRUALS being booked to the balance sheet FOR THESE BONUSES. The monthly entry would be a CREDIT to the balance sheet liabilities as BONUSES PAYABLE……….Therefore, someone should have done their due-diligence and gone through the balance sheet and demand a detailed breakdown of the line-items listed on the balance sheet liabilities.

    I need a job…………I’ll do it. This is not rocked-science, and there is no excuse for this to have not been done. NO one, and I do mean no one, in Washington from Congress to the White House should have been surprised to learn about these AIG Bonus payouts.

    GIVE ME THE JOB! I’m serious……..I need a job. Pay me $25.00/hour and I’ll sit at home, read these contracts and sould the alarm on any potential problems that need to be addressed.

    Faith in VA

    March 19, 2009 at 11:32 pm |
  60. Laura Valenziano

    I just finished watching "AIG Facts and Fury". I was curious why there was a discussion about the AIG Board of Directors and their culpability but the names of the directors were never given. So, I looked them up – found a great Buisnessweek site:
    http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/people/board.asp?symbol=AIG
    Guess who is/was on the board! Richard C. Holbrooke, our new Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan!!!!!!!!! Why didn't CNN give his name? Also, in case you were wondering why AIG acted as a conduit for funneling bailout funds to Goldman Sachs you might want to ask Suzanne Nora Johnson. She is also on the AIG board and is co-Director of Global Investment Research Division, Goldman, Sachs & Co. Is this incestuous or what? Does the Obama admin know?

    March 22, 2009 at 1:22 am |
  61. ann

    AIG bonuses:

    Geithner's lying, and Obama, embarassed by this dishonest jerk as well as terrified by the potential impact of these continual examples of his own poor judgement when choosing cabinet members, is covering up for him with a lot of double-talk, running around the country trying to realign deck chairs on a political Titanic, just as he did about Geithner's tax "mistake."

    Geithner should be fired.

    March 22, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  62. ann

    In my opinion:
    1) Geithner’s lying; and
    2) Obama, embarassed by this dishonest jerk as well as shaken by the negative impact of these continual examples of his own poor judgement when choosing cabinet members, is covering up for him with a lot of double-talk, running around the country trying to realign deck chairs on a political Titanic, just as he did about Geithner’s tax “mistake.”

    Geithner should be fired.

    March 23, 2009 at 6:27 am |
  63. DEAN

    IF THE GOV HOLDS 80% OF AIG IT SHOULD SAY TO AIG I AM NOW IN CONTROL & REMOVE LOTS OF THE PEOPLE WHO MADE THIS MESS & PUT IN NEW PEOPLE.
    YES WE (THE GOV) GOT IN SO WE HAVE TO STAY IN FOR THE LONG RUN!!!!
    A = AMERICA
    I = IS BEING
    G = GAMED

    IT SEEMS TO BE THE WAY THAT MOST BIG COMPANIES ARE OPERATING NOW DAY (GAMEING THE SYSTEM) !!!!!

    March 23, 2009 at 7:06 am |
  64. Jerry crossley

    Where have all that Bailout money gone?

    Simple, just list all the COMPANIES that these top executives have invested in!
    The Bailout money have gone to these COMPANIES to idemnify these COMPANIES Toxic assets.

    So these top AIG executives are feathering their nest eggs by 'supporting' their 'Bad" investments and giving themselves nice salaries for their efforts (efforts so difficult and complex that no one else can do – so they claim.)

    March 24, 2009 at 3:03 pm |

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