The Sum Total of My Thoughts re: AIG

If you want genuine insight into the financial sector, its depredations and excesses, and what to do about it, I apologize for having had little to say. I understand very little about it, and my feelings tend to be informed by the kind of righteous indignation that almost always accompanies rank ignorance.

So, here are my thoughts about AIG. I think there's something horribly unseemly about people in the same business that tanked the world economy making huge bonuses. It just feels gross, which is as nuanced an opinion as I can muster. I assume the truth is more complicated than that, which is a large part of why I have little to say.

On the other hand, no matter how high the "ick" factor surrounding the bonuses themselves, I find the idea of punitive taxation deeply troubling. I don't like the government using taxes as anything other than a means to raise revenue, and this feels like the legislative equivalent of torches and pitchforks.

There. If anyone has anything more pithy and informative to share, go nuts.


  1. If, according to the tenets of Capitalism, AIG should have gone bankrupt, in which case there would have been no bonuses. The government gave the money to AIG and should have a right to state how it should be spent. If AIG is going to ignore the government, then the government has the right to do what it thinks necessary to make sure the money is spent properly.

    It is not punitive taxation, without the money not only would there have been no bonuses, but all of these people would have been out of a job.
    Where is their gratitude?


  2. Pithy remark 1: government support needed by AIG Financial Products unregulated activities - $54B. Government support needed by AIG Securities highly regulated activities - $44B. Regulation really worked, eh?

    Pithy remark 2: let the damn too-big-to-fail companies go bankrupt. GM, AIG, Citi. But, turn over the rocks one at a time.

    Pithy remark 3: If Congress wants to pass ex post facto laws or bills of attainder, go after 90% of the entire net worth of any Member of Congress who took contributions over $10,000 from execs at AIG, Freddie, or Fannie. In closed door reconciliation negotiations, craft a provision to put Chris Dodd's head on a pike on the national mall. Metaphorically, of course.