|March 23, 2009|
|Samurai Sword is Kept from AIG's Liddy; Bush Gang Cheers Financial Mess|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|You can bet American International Group CEO Ed Liddy isn’t going to have lunch with his old buddy Hank Paulson any time soon. |
The former Treasury Secretary recruited the retired ex-Allstate Corp. CEO six months ago to helm the bailed out mess. If he had known then, what he knows now, Liddy would undoubtedly have opted to pursue his board and trustee work with Northwestern University, Museum of Science and Industry and Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
There was great theater today as the people’s esteemed representatives put the 62-year-old in the Congressional hot seat for the $165M in bonuses paid to the same AIG hotshots who put the insurer in the toilet.
Those bonuses have triggered a call from Senator Chuck “Samurai” Grassley for corporate adoption of “hari-kari” as the honorable thing to do. It’s a good thing Liddy wasn’t presented with a ceremonial sword. He could have wielded it over the heads of a pesky Congressman or two. The gang on Wall Street cheered Liddy’s performance. They bid up AIG shares 37 percent so far today to $1.32.
There is another gang cheering the Congressional blame game of who lost AIG and the rest of the zombies? That’s the gang from the Bush White House. [Fox News reports today AIG provides an “electoral opening” for the GOP.]
One doesn’t hear much lately about the establishment of “truth commissions” to probe the boatful of transgressions carried out by the Bush White House. Karl Rove, who once feared a “show trial” and high-profile barbecuing by Democrats for his role in the fired U.S. attorneys scandal, breaths easy these days. He and former Bush counselor Harriet Miers agreed earlier this month to provide transcribed depositions about any allegations connected to Justice Dept. politicalization. Karl now doesn’t fret too much about wilting under the hot lights before a national TV audience.
The great man himself snuck out of the country on St. Patrick’s Day –though he nixed an invite to sing “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling”-- to Calgary to give a $400 a-head speech about the challenges faced by the world in the 21st Century to about 2,000 oil and gas men.
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann thought it ironic that the guy responsible for creating those challenges is now talking about fixing them. That’s the same argument made by AIG management. It says retention bonuses were given to those who created the poison derivatives because they are the only people that know how to undo the complicated mess.
Other than Olbermann, the rest of the U.S. media paid little attention to Bush’s trip north. Olbermann wondered if the Canadian government was going to arrest Bush on suspected war crimes charges. That was a very long shot.
The President, however, should put off any plans to visit Europe in the near future.
According to the Calgary Herald, Bush said “it’s the risk-takers, not the government, that are going to pull us out of this recession.” He is right about that, but there is a big “but.” Uncle Sam must first rebuild the regulatory infrastructure that was dismantled during the last eight years of Bush rule before turning things over to the private sector.
(Image via tothewire)
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