Friday, March 27, 2009

What AIG is guilty of

They as a corporation made bets on random things with essentially no thought to their ability to cover those bets. Then when the time came to pay off (e.g. the wrong horse won) they had positioned themselves in such a way that we, the taxpaying public, were forced to cover them. Why we're paying off and not burning these peoples houses down is a mystery to me.

It's a mistake after all to think of AIG as an entity with a will. AIG is no more than the sum of the decisions made by individuals. Those individuals set up this situation deliberately, aided by those for whom less regulaiton is automatically good because, hey I'm making a buck. We've had 30 years of this circular reasoning (less regulation is good, hey I'm making a buck, must have worked!).

Sadly, the Clinton administration is partly responsible for the biggest step in all this, the repeal of Glass-Steagal in 1999. That was pushed through by Republicans Phil Gramm of Texas and Jim Leach of Iowa, but senate Democrats could have filibustered it (they didn't) and Bill Clinton could have vetoed it (he didn't), and so they share in the blame.

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