The AIG fiasco is front page for Americans today, but the real question isn’t the bonuses AIG paid to losers. What no one’s asking: did we bail out Asia in the ‘90s and did that figure in wrecking our own country in the process?
It’s funny sometimes how big media and governments never cast a glance over the shoulder to see what happened before a catastrophe or meltdown. The entire process of examination is reactive—as in how could they pay those loser executives bonuses at AIG? How could bonus protection be written into a Democratic-dominated stimulus plan? How could both Republicans and Democrats who benefited from AIG donations figuratively assassinate the American taxpayer but bail out their buddies on The Street?
I’m no financial whiz, but there’s a cyber-trail a thousand miles long on AIG and what that company did during President Bill Clinton’s last term and continued to do after George W. Bush took office. Let’s do a little time travel.
DOES ASIA FIGURE IN OUR MELTDOWN?
The International Herald Tribune reported Nov. 20, 1998 a story about risk managers flocking to Asia. Asia was described by IHT at the time as “a region thrust suddenly into an environment of deep recession, shrinking credit and volatile markets after years of fantastic growth.” Sound eerily familiar to your American ears?
Segue with me for a minute. IHT reported a new story Nov. 17, 2008: “In November 1999, senior Clinton administration officials, including Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, joined by the Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan, and Arthur Levitt Jr., the head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, issued a report that instead recommended legislation exempting many kinds of derivatives from federal oversight.”
Enabler for Congress: none other than Republican senator Phil Gramm (Tex.) who was a Democrat before he became a Republican. RINO is too kind a word for this guy. Here’s what IHT said about him: “Gramm helped lead the charge in Congress. Demanding even more freedom from regulators than the financial industry had sought, he persuaded colleagues and negotiated with senior administration officials, pushing so hard that he nearly scuttled the deal.”
Note Wikipedia does talk about Gramm's involvement, but totally omits Summers' and Clinton's efforts on deregulating.
There’s more. Financiers had waltzed us directly into the Asian quagmire in the 90s. The 1998 IHT story further noted, “[B]eneficiary of the appetite for risk management has been Asia's nascent market in credit derivatives, which began in 1996.”
IHT continued, “Traded completely over the counter and almost entirely among banks, the market grew at its fastest rate ever in the third quarter, one trader said.”
And furthering the explanation, IHT said, “The market typically works like this: A bank seeking financial protection pays another bank to help insure it against loss resulting from default by a borrower or issuer of a bond. In the case of Hong Kong, a bank nervous about repayment of a bond from a shaky Chinese company could transfer some of that repayment risk to a third party for a fee.”
Are we happy third parties, gang?
Clinton always did love the Chinese. And he had the dot.com recession to hold off followed by Bush’s confrontation with Islamic radicals, Katrina and the Democratic smear machine.
DIVULGE TRUTH ABOUT TOXIC ASSETS
March forward to now. We, the American taxpayers have a mega-crisis on our hands. Some Congressional members are playing the phantom in the legislation game—“I didn’t do it.” No one seems to have an idea exactly how all this came down. And as I’ve often said to my pals, where there’s corruption, you could put certain senators from one party into a pot with certain senators from another party and your federal stew would smell the same either way.
I firmly believe there’s enough fraud in those “toxic assets” the length of a line from here to Mars.
Meanwhile take a look at the Board of Directors for AIG. These guys are supposed to be smart. I’ve often said the biggest fools I’ve ever met are formally educated by elite universities.
We’ve been sold out, fellow taxpayers, once again, by the most corrupt Congress, in my opinion, in the history of our country. There are a few honest senators; there are more honest souls in the House in my opinion. And liberals can blame conservatives (It’s the Bush factor!) and conservatives can blame liberals (It’s the Clinton factor!) The truly mind-breaking revelation: some of the possibly guilty are still there. You continue to vote for them. In the interest of equality please note you do not need an Ivy League degree to be stupid.
It looks to me as though the Asian factor is a largely unreported story in this meltdown—not the first time by the way. Meanwhile our new president is proposing a budget that will set record deficits, indebt us to China even more and expand entitlements to a level only socialist countries realize.
And to the sniveling hordes of writers who call themselves “journalists,” I’d just like to say your reportage past and present sucks. I seem to recall Sept. 18, 2008, Drudge carried a link to a story about Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) being big losers in the AIG meltdown. I seriously doubt they were alone. I found the link but I can’t access the story originally run at Bloomberg News, so I’m relying on memory here. My point being how big a conflict of interest do we need before we wise up?
WORSE THAN BROKEN
Washington isn’t broken. Washington has succumbed to ideological cancer, with AIG only a single symptom. Many so called leaders do not love our country. Those involved do not have moral standards.
If you pay payroll taxes or income taxes, join me in the belief we truly have a case for redress of grievances enabled by the U.S. Constitution, a document foreign to most in Washington today. We should not pay one thin dime more for the government to abandon its duty to manage federal funds wisely and soundly. If we’re asked to, some feisty lawyer should take the opportunity to start a class action lawsuit. And please don’t tell me we can’t sue the government. The government has broken so many tenets of the Constitution I figure we can try anything logical to restore a sense of order and integrity to our nation’s capital machinery.
Someone needs to ‘fess up and come clean. Taxpayers deserve the whole truth rather than a Scopesian trial quizzing AIG execs for the benefit of sound bites and politics.
There’s actually humor in this winding tale. On the AIG corporate website, here’s a statement that will bring a guffaw even to the driest visage: “AIG’s ongoing efforts to be an outstanding corporate citizen and promote responsible and sustainable business practices are essential to our long-term business objective of creating value for our shareholders and serving the interests of our clients.”
Arrogance. Infamy. Greed. AIG.