Legendary chutzpah, monolithic greed
One of the top shareholders in AIG, the insurance giant bailed out by the American taxpayers during the Wall Street meltdown, is Maurice Greenberg who once ran the company. He is suing the United States government for $25 billion because he says that, in the process of bailing out the company that feathers his nest so softly, they lost him money. However, that level of greed was not enough for Greenberg and he is trying to get AIG itself to join him in his lawsuit. This comes the same week AIG released a video thanking American taxpayers for saving their ass and talking about how proud they are that they paid back their debt and gave the taxpayers a tidy profit in the process.
This lawsuit comes after one judge actually threw it out, saying in an 89-page opinion that AIG had a choice to make: bankruptcy or a hard deal with the government. AIG made its choice because they knew that their losses would have been monumental had they chosen bankruptcy, far more than they incurred in their deal with the federal government. Frankly, they probably would have ceased to exist had they chosen bankruptcy and let us not forget that this was a catastrophe of their own making.
Greenberg’s lawsuit has already cost the American taxpayers plenty. The federal government has had to hire a team of lawyers to deal with it and to prepare for an AIG shareholders meeting today where they will discuss whether or not to join in on the suit.
The level of chutzpah and greed being displayed here eclipses anything seen before. It was enough to cause David Axelrod to tweet:
Definition of Chutzpah: AIG, saved by American taxpayers, contemplating suit against U.S. over conditions.
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) January 8, 2013
Senator Elizabeth Warren has more to say:
AIG made reckless bets that nearly crashed our entire economy.
Beginning in 2008, the government poured billions of your taxpayer dollars into the insurance giant to save it from bankruptcy after it gambled on mortgage-backed securities. And the bailout worked — earlier this year, AIG reported making billions in profit.
But AIG has a funny way of showing its gratitude. This morning, reports indicated that AIG is considering joining a lawsuit against the federal government because the terms of the bailout weren’t generous enough. Can you believe it?
AIG should thank American taxpayers for their help — not bite the hand that fed them.
The story gets even worse: The government is still bailing out AIG. Right now this profitable insurance giant is getting special tax breaks to give it an advantage and boost its bottom line.
Today, I’m renewing my call for an end to AIG’s special tax status to avoid paying taxes. Enough is enough.
Every time AIG files its taxes without paying a dime, it receives another payment in an ongoing, stealth bailout. Those special tax giveaways give AIG a competitive advantage over its competitors — all while inflating AIG’s profit numbers and compensation for its executives.
Washington shouldn’t keep giving special breaks to giant corporations while hard-working middle class families get stuck paying the bill — especially corporations that sucked up billions of dollars in bailouts after nearly crashing our economy. They’ve received enough of our help.
Everyone should have to play by the same rules and pay their fair share — even giant insurance companies. That’s what I believed when I was chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel with oversight on the bank bailout, and that’s what I still believe now.
I’m actually pretty shocked that the bailout agreement didn’t include a provision prohibiting lawsuits like this in the first place. Nevertheless, if AIG decides to enter this suit, I suspect that the backlash against them will be so swift and so intense that the $25 billion that Greenberg is looking to gain will be a drop in the bucket compared with what the company will lose in goodwill and business.
After all, who will want to buy insurance from an extortionist? The fact that they are even entertaining the notion that they might join the lawsuit spits in the face of American taxpayers.
Oh and, just remember, as you’re feeling outrage at this audacity, it’s the teachers, nurses and other American union members that are the greedy parasites in our society. We’re supposed to be worshiping at the feet of American corporations. Because, when they aren’t busy suing the taxpayers that saved their asses, they are “job creators”.