Welcome to the People's Republic of the United States of America where the government owns everything.
Latest case-in-point is this AIG outfit. American International Group which, I have on good authority, has nothing whatever to do with American International Pictures which made all those B and C movies when we were kids.
AIG is the the biggest insurance outfit this side of Saturn and were just one more huge organization which your federal government determined was "too big to fail."
We - you and I - lent AIG $85 Billion. So they wouldn't fail.
What the …
Two things have happened since you and I did that.
First, AIG hosted a party. A par-TEE in California which, the LA Times described, thus:
Congressional investigators released AIG documents … showing that the company paid more than $440,000 for the event, including nearly $200,000 for rooms, $150,000 for meals, $23,000 in spa charges and almost $7,000 for golf outings.
I know that spas exist at these resorts, and I know they exist because they are a profit center for these resorts. What I don't know is what happens at these spas and I really don't understand what happens at these spas which is worth twenty-three grand.
So, AIG needs E-I-G-H-T-Y F-I-V-E B-I-L-L-I-O-N D-O-L-L-A-R-S from you and me, and then throws itself a par-TEE. According to those documents the total of the Par-TEE was $443,343.71. Nearly a Half Million of OUR dollars.
But wait! There's more!
The second thing is this: According to USA Today yesterday, "Less than a month after receiving an emergency $85 billion federal loan, crippled insurance titan American International Group may borrow up to $37.8 billion more from the Federal Reserve."
So, we lent them $85 billion, then they had a party in California and now they need another $38 billion (give or take) and … ?
How about this? How about let AIG go under? How about we let them and anyone they've done business with put their stuff in a cardboard box and stand on the street to hail a taxi home.
But that's not all.
Now, the U.S. Treasury is considering buying banks. Buying banks. That is to say that if Bob's Bank in Godknowswhere, West Wiscarolina is going under, the U.S. Department of the Treasury is considering bailing out Bob's Bank by buying it.
Here's the Washington Post's take on this excellent new obligation you and I are about to take on :
The Bush administration is hammering out the final details of a plan that would allow the government to inject cash into banks in exchange for ownership stakes in an effort to shore up confidence in the faltering financial system, according to officials and sources who have been in contact with the Treasury Department.
I do not want to own Bob's Bank. Or any other bank. Especially if the geniuses who have been running the bank have run the bank into the ground.
What am I missing here?
If you read the WashPost's report on what the Administration is now proposing, you and I are going to be on the hook for the banks' bad loans. But, because our money is not THEIR money, the Post reports "What is less clear is what strings would be attached, particularly regarding the compensation of top executives at participating banks."
Here's my plan for compensation of top execs at participating banks: Nothing. Nada. Zero. Bubkis. Not a farthing.
If those executives don't like my compensation plan? They can quit. They can leave in a huff. If they don't like that, they can leave - in the words of the Marx Brothers - they can leave in a minute an a huff.
We'll get someone else. How about the guy who slices the bagels at the breakfast place on Pennsylvania Avenue? He cannot possibly do any worse than the slug with an MBA from Harvard.
Am I wrong?
I want the people who got us into this mess drawn and quartered. I do not want them to go to the Spa at some five star hotel in California on my dime.