Past Time for AIG to Take a Long Walk Off a Short Pier

Feel me for a moment:

Not too long ago, if a company or a bank was ever driven into the ground, we’d not only hear about it, but its CEO, CFO and president would hear the death knell of their careers. Top down, they would be ruined for life. They couldn’t get a job anywhere. Their salaries would be forfeit, as well as any kind of severance or stock holdings or pensions. If there had been any kind of chicanery, their asses would be in jail. The IRS would be at their doors. Their wives would be filing for divorce, alimony and child support.   Après moi, le déluge.

Am I right?  I thought so.

Instead, straight out of Cloud Cuckooland, we have execs getting platinum parachutes when they are fired.   We have company and bank presidents talking poor mouth and bailout, and then upon getting the taxpayers’ money, lining their own pockets and the pockets of the partners who screwed up with bonuses instead of holding up the institutions that are supposed to be in trouble. Why aren’t these guys fired and in jail for messing up the bank in the first place? A lower eschelon flunky caught with their hand in the till would be gone in a minute, escorted by the cops.

And who are the beneficiaries? The Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Wachovia, among others.   The Nation’s Nicholas von Hoffman called them phantom or ghost banks–banks merely going through the motions of being banks, but they aren’t. Plus, isn’t Merrill Lynch now owned by Bank of America, and Wachovia by Wells Fargo? Just what do we owe them?

Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers are blubbering damage control in the MSM that AIG’s Edward Liddy wouldn’t listen to reason. What a bunch of wimps, especially Bernanke, who, according to Barney Frank on The Today Show, cut the MF’ing check.   As far as I am concerned, talk is cheap now. Take the MF’ing money back.   Stop the check.

Furthermore, Obama has got to take a stand on this. I’m sure that he doesn’t want to give the GOP more of a chance to paint him as lefty and socialist, but he’s going to have to dust off that mess as easily as he dusted off Hillary Clinton’s attacks off his shoulders. As the Times article said:

Still, aides acknowledged the risks of a backlash as Mr. Obama tries to signal that he shares American anger but pushes for more bail-out money for banks and Wall Street.

For all his political skills and his capturing of the nation’s desire for change in the 2008 election, Mr. Obama, a product of Harvard Law School who calls upscale Hyde Park in Chicago home, has shown little inclination to strike a more populist tone. The danger, aides said, is that if he were to become identified as an advocate for the banks and Wall Street, people could take out their anger on him.

Obama is going to have step hard on these guys’ corns and put the caps on this kind of spending starting now with AIG, and forget the fact that they’re all Harvard men.  He has to get down there and confront. People demand nothing less.  If he thinks only thousands were ticked off over Madoff  (and the unnamed relatives and friends who helped him get away with it), millions are furious at this betrayal.  He cannot be seen to hesitate, or those approval ratings will indeed plummet.  AIG’s vaunted partners aren’t all that integral to a company that is teetering on the brink.   Let them go somewhere else and eff something else up, if that’s what they’re really good at. Meanwhile, they’ve all ruined the lives of the people like those above.  That’s who should be given a new lease on life, not these so-called Massas of the Universe whose 29-year spree is over.

~ by blksista on March 16, 2009.

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