Tag Archive: AIG

Oct 14 2014

Former AIG CEO Wants More Tax Payer Money

Poor Hank Greenberg, the ultra wealthy former CEO of American International Group (AIG), has a sad. As the largest shareholder, he thinks that SIG shareholders got a raw deal when the government saved the company with more than $180 billion in cash. He believes the bailout cost shareholders, like himself, tens of billions of dollars. Unlike the banks, the government set down rules for the loan that forced the company to pay back Wall Street firms.

The trial has a cast of characters reminiscent of the congressional bailout hearings with testimony from former chair of the Federal Reserve, former Treasury Secretaries Timothy Geitner and Henry Paulson.

Secrets of the bailout, exposed: Why you should be watching the AIG trial

By David Dayen, Salon

To this day, information on the banks’ heist and how it went down is pathetically scant. That’s about to change now

The AIG bailout trial began in Washington last week. This is a case where one ruthless, reckless corporate CEO, AIG’s former chieftain Hank Greenberg, argues that his company wasn’t treated as well during the bailout as those of other ruthless, reckless corporate CEOs. So there’s no real rooting interest for anyone with at least one foot planted in reality.

But as I wrote recently, regardless of the outcome, this trial should matter to every American. In fact, just in its first week, we’ve learned a lot of new information about how the bailout architects- then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, ex-Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke, and former president of the New York Fed Timothy Geithner – conducted themselves amid the chaos of the financial crisis. And it doesn’t reflect well on any of them, with concealed information, bait-and-switches, and favorites played among financial institutions. As these three prepare to take the stand this week in the case, we should be pleased to finally have this debate about the bailout in public. [..]

We all know the adage that history gets written by the winners. In this case, a very rigid narrative of the bailouts took hold, featuring the swashbuckling actions of governmental leaders who made the hard choices necessary to save the financial system. But because of one ornery ex-CEO, we’re getting another draft of that history, one that displays the bailout as chaotic, selective and in many cases one where laws got thrown out the window and raw power ruled.

As the taxpaying public who fronted the money for all this activity, we should get to know the truth. And the next time the country is faced with such a situation, policy-makers should think twice before heading down the same path, mindful that their dirty laundry will eventually get aired.

POSTSCRIPT: Henry Paulson testified Monday in the trial, confirming the disparate treatment of AIG relative to banks like Citigroup, but saying that circumstances warranted it because those banks were more essential to keeping the financial system afloat. He said that the government had to treat AIG harshly to win political support. (Of course, the government didn’t treat AIG that harshly, gifting them a carryover tax benefit worth $35 billion and letting their executives take bonuses in 2009.) Paulson also acknowledged the private bid for AIG from China Investment Corporation, but asserted that they wouldn’t have followed through on the bid without a government guarantee, even though, he admitted, he never talked to the Chinese.

The best is Jon Stewart’s chastizing Breenberg for being a cry baby.

It would be funny, if it weren’t so ridiculously pathetic.

Feb 20 2013

Another Bailout Since Dodd Frank Debunks the Lies

Yes, unlike what was sold to us about Dodd Frank, there are in effect already backdoor bailouts before our very eyes if we care to look. This one involves the most important regulator of our entire financial system, the New York Fed, intervening to let Bank of America off the hook for its residential mortgage backed securities fraud.  

Jul 20 2012

CNBC Financial Ignores the Facts

Bartiroma vs Spitzer on AIG’s Hank Greenberg

Maria, you are not entitled to creating your own facts.

Mar 13 2012

More Bailouts for the “Too Big To Fail”

Besides the $700 billion from TARP and $17.7 trillion from the Federal Reserve the “Too Big To Fail” financial entities are still getting bailouts with tax payer dollars via tax breaks on losses. 90% of the insurance giant, American International Group Inc.’s (AIG), fourth quarter profits from 2011 were “because of an inappropriate tax break the government-owned insurance company continues to receive, according to four former members of the watchdog panel that oversaw the financial crisis bailouts“:

The break allows AIG to count its past net operating losses against future taxes. That amounts to a “stealth bailout” of a company that received about $125 billion in taxpayer money, said the former appointees to the Congressional Oversight Panel for the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program.

“It’s been more than three years since AIG lost its reckless bet on mortgage-backed securities, yet today AIG continues to get special tax breaks that last quarter accounted for 90% of its profits,” the panel’s former chairwoman, Elizabeth Warren, told reporters Monday on a conference call. “We think it’s time for Congress to end the special tax break.”

Warren, who is running as a Democrat for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts, was joined by former panel members Damon Silvers, Mark McWatters and Kenneth Troske in saying the tax break gives the illusion of significant profitability at the company.

The profits benefit AIG’s private stockholders and allow the company to pay higher executive compensation, the TARP panel members said.

“By doing it this way….billions of dollars leak out to the benefits of private parties, who really should not be benefiting from public policy in this way,” Silvers said.

The special tax exemption that AIG and other struggling companies received allows it to deduct its past losses against future tax bills thus showing a net profit. It allowed for AIG to hand out generous executive compensation and benefit private shareholders.

Just last week, Matt Stoller at naked capitalism reported that almost half the banks that had paid back TARP did so with funds from other government programs:

The Government Accountability Office continues its subtle war on the talking point used by Treasury that “TARP made money”. Here’s the GAO, with a report out today.

   As of January 31, 2012, 341 institutions had exited CPP, almost half by repaying CPP with funds from other federal programs. Institutions continue to exit CPP, but the number of institutions missing scheduled dividend or interest payments has increased.

Much of the government-supplied TARP funding (to small banks) was replaced by the Small Business Lending Fund passed in 2010, which Republicans called “TARP 2.0″.  The larger banks, however, where much of the bank-based credit creation in the economy takes place, didn’t use this program.  Instead, they got an implicit subsidy of between $6B (pdf) and $300B a year from the widespread belief that the government will not let their bondholders lose money…

You can take a stand with Ms. Warren and sign her petition:

Call on AIG to play by the rules