Monday, October 13, 2008

AIG fiddles while Jane and Joe burn

Doesn't it just make you wanna give the Free Market and Capitalism a big hug when you hear that, a week after the US government bailed out AIG with a USD85 billion loan, AIG's executives were using taxpayers' money to go on a week-long binge at an exclusive Californian resort, replete with fancy rooms, la-de-da meals, manicures, pedicures, massages and spa treatments. All paid for by Joe and Jane Blow, who are, in the meantime, losing their mortgages, their homes, their jobs, their health insurance, their lives.

AIG rationalised that it needed to "bring everybody together in order to keep the productivity of the insurance companies intact and protect policyholders by keeping them from going into a runoff status." Ohhhh, so the enormous bar tabs were courageously racked up and the rounds of golf were heroically played in order to save the average American.
Evidence has also surfaced that former CEO Martin Sullivan, who himself received a golden parachute of USD15 million in June, changed the bonus schedule even as AIG was going broke in order to ensure that top executives would continue to make their multi-million dollar salaries.
The US government has since stumped up yet another USD37.8 billion of taxpayer money to help AIG out with its liquidity problems.
This is but one pithy example illustrating that the only guarantee about the "free world" is that the rich will stop at nothing to protect the rich. As long as they continue to feast, they don't give a shit about everyone else starving at their expense.

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