Third Party & Independents Archives

AIG CEO: "Trust us to self-regulate"

This week, when asked for his opinion on financial reform, AIG CEO Robert Benmosche said banks and investment firms shouldn’t be subject to forced government regulation, and that the country’s financial institutions should be trusted to “row their boats in a manner they see fit.”

"Right now, the most important thing is that we've got to get companies to regulate themselves and to do the right thing," Benmosche said. "The only way that can happen is if we let the financial experts run their own operations, without the intervention of a federal government that clearly doesn't know how to control its finances."

In 2008, AIG required a $180 billion bailout package in order to stay afloat after the company teetered close to collapse as a result of its own greed, avarice and schlock in-house accounting practices. Prior to the collapse, the company had insured $441 billion worth of mortgage-backed securities for Wall Street banks in the form of credit default swaps. When the system imploded, AIG became the big insurer that couldn't keep up. When AIG received the $219 Billion, what's the very first thing they did with the bailout money? They paid their senior executives more than $170 Million in bonuses.

Still, Benmosche defends investment banks, saying the practices employed that led to the nation's fiscal meltdown were not criminal, but simply the result of bad management.

"It could be just sloppy underwriting, it could be sloppy business," Benmosche said. "And that's just not illegal, unless you portray something one way and you knew it wasn't."

Right ... it COULD have been sloppy business. But it wasn't. It was a collective of Armani-suited sheisters and thieves stuffing their pockets with customer and taxpayer cash for as long as the gravy train lasted. And now, here's one of those thieves who benefitted most from the haul, saying that we - the American people - should forget what they did THEN and trust them to do the right thing NOW.

In a letter written by Representative Joe Courtney (D-CT) and co-signed by 78 other members of the House of Representatives, the Congressman was especially critical of AIG.

“This company, more than any other single entity, is responsible for the crash of world credit markets,” Courtney wrote. “AIG has shamelessly lined up for a $219 billion handout only to be used to cover up its own incompetence and irresponsible business practices.”

Benmosche, since taking over the AIG firm in 2009, has had a bit of a rocky public profile. He reportedly told AIG employees that if Congress requested he testify before them, he would reply that they should "stick it where the sun don't shine." He also reportedly threatened to resign over government pay restrictions.

Right ... how DARE the American taxpayers be so arrogant as to think they should have a say in how $180 Billion of their dollars should be spent.

The wheels on the armored car go round and round.

Posted by Gary St. Lawrence at June 24, 2011 10:41 AM
Comments
Comment #324922

I know the financial meltdown is no laughing matter, but your title and last line cracked me up.

Self-regulate? Of course, because it worked so well in the past. Ugh.

Posted by: Spinny Liberal at June 24, 2011 11:59 AM
Comment #324926

Benmoshe is half right, we do need to get the big companies to do the right thing. To think the corporations can self regulate goes against the charter of the corporation in our greed driven world. It didn’t work then and it doesn’t work now.

Posted by: j2t2 at June 24, 2011 2:08 PM
Comment #324929

Simply amazing. Benmoshe doesn’t get it. Why should he? On the one hand, he is stupid; on the other hand, guys like him control the GOP lock, stock, and barrel, as well as many Democrats. Now, you’d think as soon as he said that line about self-regulation that someone would grab him by the scruff of his neck and the seat of his pants, and toss him out of the hearing, the old heave-ho. But that didn’t happen, did it? Benmosche may be stupid, but he can count on them to bail him out and financially reward him for his greed, and so avoid the consequences of his asinine opinions.

Posted by: phx8 at June 24, 2011 2:46 PM
Comment #324938


Rather than stupid, I consider people like Benmoshe to be intelligent deviants. They own the politicians of the Republican party and half if not 2/3rds of the Democratic party. They are using the air ways to propagandize the hell out of the people, playing them for fools, and they have been quite successful at it for several decades now. The people who were responsible for developing the housing bubble and manipulating it through to it’s conclusion all made money from it.

Be it mismanagement or a bribed government gravy train, the key point made by Benmoshe is that none of it was illegal.

Why does AIG still exist?

That is the greatness of to big to fail. Their activities are sanctioned by and made legal by government, and when they bite off more than they can chew, the government is there with taxpayers dollars to bail their victims out and provide management with a large bonus.

Posted by: jlw at June 24, 2011 4:31 PM
Comment #324940

I agree, outrageous flummery. There are three avenues open to rectify the problems with rogue businesses.

1) Declare all business to be untrustworthy and enact regulations that could be crippling to our recovery and future.

2) Break up business considered to be “to big to fail” and cause them to lose their advantage of “scale” in world competition.

3) Refuse to bail out business with taxpayer money and let the chips fall where they may.

Posted by: Royal Flush at June 24, 2011 4:56 PM
Comment #324942

RF

i vote for number three.

Posted by: dbs at June 24, 2011 5:08 PM
Comment #324961

The Corpocracy won’t allow it. It’s going to take a 3rd party with a diff pol - - -

To remove the money influence will require abolishing corporate personhood law and implementing REAL campaign finance reform.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at June 24, 2011 8:48 PM
Comment #324980

Royal Flush-
Yeah, you tried letting the chips fall where they may. Twice. (Lehman Brothers and the First Bailout Vote) Didn’t work. Financial Panic got worse each time.

Simple observation should tell you that if the financial system is too byzantine to allow banks to step back from faltering financial institutions, if there are too few that remain upright if it fails, then the corrective potential of the market doesn’t mean a thing.

Letting the chips fall where they may is a naturalistic fallacy. The point of the big brains we have is that we don’t let the chips fall where they may. We act to ensure our best interests. Now we can blunder our way into screwed up hobson choices like this, where we have to eat the **** sandwich of a bailout to keep our economy going, or we can make some mature choices about how we structure our economy, and make changes that allow us to let banks fail when they deserve to, rather than rewarding, or allowing the Wall Street types to reward themselves for failing to keep their numbers and their assets straight.

Your options just seem to indicate to me that you’re still not admitting just what went wrong.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 25, 2011 2:02 AM
Comment #324985

Bankers and politicians will always have their heads up their assets.

Posted by: Gary St. Lawrence at June 25, 2011 11:20 AM
Comment #324988


Stephen, now all we have to do is elect politicians that will make those mature decisions about restructuring our economy. That means we will probably have to look outside the current two party system. That means we probably won’t be electing those politicians willing to make those mature decisions.

We have to keep in mind that the concept of ‘one man one vote’ is an intolerable ideal, not just for kings or dictators, but for wealth as well.

Posted by: jlw at June 25, 2011 1:27 PM
Comment #325007

“2) Break up business considered to be “to big to fail” and cause them to lose their advantage of “scale” in world competition.”

Royal Flush,

That, in my opinion, is one of the main reason for the moral hazard and the bailouts. They bring an enormous amount of capital into the US. While the US has a large trade deficit, the flip side is that it also has an equal or larger capital account surplus. The big banks are instrumental in bringing capital investment to the US and offsetting the trade deficit.

Posted by: Rich at June 25, 2011 9:11 PM
Comment #325068


“A corporation is a legal person created by state statute that can be used as a fall guy, a servant, a good friend or a decoy. A person you control… yet cannot be held accountable for it’s actions. Imagine the possibilities!”

From the web site of Wyoming Corporate Services, a company that specializes in creating shell corporations, many of which are created to defraud customers or to evade taxes. Part of a growing multi-billion dollar business in America.

Posted by: jlw at June 28, 2011 3:23 PM
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