You’ve probably all seen this ad from AIG, “thanking” America for their bailout…
Before you get all warm and fuzzy over their apparent gratitude…
The ink has barely dried on the Treasury Department’s final sale of American International Group shares, and now it appears the insurer is considering joining former CEO Maurice (Hank) Greenberg’s shareholder suitagainst Uncle Sam.
The lawsuit, filed in 2011, alleges that the federal government used AIG to execute a “backdoor bailout” of Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs Group,Merrill Lynch and others. A portion of the money used to rescue AIG was steered toward settling credit default swap contracts with those firms for 100 cents on the dollar. (See “Greenberg Suit Slams U.S. For Backdoor Bailout.”)
Looks like they’ve got newly minted senator Elizabeth Warrens attention too…
“Beginning in 2008, the federal government poured billions of dollars into AIG to save it from bankruptcy. AIG’s reckless bets nearly crashed our entire economy. Taxpayers across this country saved AIG from ruin, and it would be outrageous for this company to turn around and sue the federal government because they think the deal wasn’t generous enough,” said Warren in a statement. “Even today, the government provides an ongoing, stealth bailout, propping up AIG with special tax breaks — tax breaks that Congress should stop. AIG should thank American taxpayers for their help, not bite the hand that fed them for helping them out in a crisis.”
Should we tell him, or just let him stew in his own stupidity?
This is insane. My Emphasis added.
This is the microcosmic lesson of the University of Colorado’s recent decision to pay a new football coach $2 million a year. The move—and the reaction to it—is a perfect illustration of America’s values, or lack thereof.
To appreciate the story’s significance, consider the realities surrounding CU’s decision.
Like many public universities, CU is spending big money on sports while citing revenue shortfalls as a reason to raise tuition rates. Meanwhile, as in most states, Colorado politics is dominated by conservative rhetoric decrying the allegedly exorbitant pay of public employees. This agitprop is ubiquitous despite numerous studies showing that public employees make less than their private sector counterparts.
In that context, you might anticipate a harsh reaction to Colorado’s biggest university paying a public employee $2 million a year. And you’d almost certainly expect something other than approving silence in light of the school simultaneously taking out a loan to pay off the previous coach’s multi-million-dollar contract.
Why, for example, do so many say nothing about multi-million-dollar salaries for coaches while simultaneously decrying the multi-thousand-dollar salaries of the far more crucial public employees who teach our kids and protect our communities? Where is the criticism of coaches’ salaries from the same Fox News that this year slammed government employees, like firefighters, as “the true 1 percent”? And how are the same Republican leaders who decry public employee pay not making a stink about coaches, who are typically states’ highest-paid public employees?
As USA Today documented, major football schools in 2012 “increased their athletics expenses at a greater rate than they increased their overall institutional expenses” on education. Additionally, 93 percent of Division I athletic programs spend more money than they generate, meaning money for education is often subsidizing coaches’ multi-million-dollar salaries, not the other way around.
This should make your head explode.