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Ear to the Ground

AIG Chairman Looks Down His Nose at OWS

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Posted on Nov 16, 2011
Code Pink (CC-BY-SA)

The chairman of AIG, which is now majority owned by the United States Treasury thanks to a $182.3 billion bailout, was on Bloomberg TV, appropriately enough, when he declared that the “Occupy Wall Street crowd” has “a very simplistic view of things.”

Bloomberg News:

“It’s lost on them,” he said. “They think, ‘Why are you bailing out Wall Street and not Main Street?’ You have to have a view as to what would have happened if Wall Street had been allowed to just implode. I think it would have been devastating for our whole economy and that would have been far worse for Main Street than what did happen.”

Occupy Wall Street isn’t arguing that the government should have let the financial system fail, Mark Bray, a spokesman for the group, said in a telephone interview. Protesters would like to see more resources devoted to the 99 percent of Americans who are suffering, he said.

“The fact that we have one in six children in the U.S. in poverty, high foreclosure rates and problems in accessing education and health care, those aren’t simple problems to the people who have them,” Bray said.

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By comment, November 22, 2011 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

this page has a travel guard aig advertisement

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By Marian Griffith, November 18, 2011 at 12:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Last year about 15 trillion dollar worth of transactions that involved material goods was made on the entire planet.

That same year also saw a staggering 600,000 trillion dollar worth of transactions globally that only involved financial transactions (buying stock options though that is a tiny fragment these days and derivatives,  and trading in insurances like credit default swaps). Essentially this is money being pushed back and forth between people and certain types of banks without any further economic or social benefit.
All the money that was printed to bail out the banks has gone to fuel this immense economic balloon, the biggest bubble of all.

The problem of course is that a material good can be sold only once, while pushing money around is only limited by how quickly a transaction can be completed. Thanks to Bloomberg c.s. this is now several times per minute.
So a billion dollar worth of real savings (or the funny money that was printed to bail out the banks) becomes 20 billion dollar after the banks get done with their fractional reserve magic. It then enters the financial markets where in quick succession it is used and reused and suddenly becomes 1000 billion dollars. And the 1:20 ratio that experience tought is the safe limit for fractional reserve banking has been perverted into a 1:1000 ratio, and even the banks are beginning to wonder, and worry, where actually their money is. In fact, the whole bailing out business was needed, ultimately, because nobody had any clue anymore what of those 600,000 billion represented real money and what was must hot air generated by pushing money back and forth a few times. The real theft is that the banks used the money they were loaned (given) not to meet their obligations towards their lenders as was the intention, but to fire up the feeding frenzy at the casino to unprecedented levels.
The euro crisis is not, as analysts would like us to believe, primarily about the inability of european politicians, but about the banks beginning to realise that the europe (or the USA) does not have the ability to finance another bail out. Since like all addicts they can’t keep away from the gambling tables of the financial casion, they started passing around the hot potato so that they will not blow up in the inevitable next bubble bursting.

Until something is done about that 600000 trillion dollars the world economy is not going to be stabilised and countries will be at the mercy of the irrationality of the financial traders who push money around and make us all believe that each of these transactions is as real as the economy of manufacturing things.

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By johnnyfarout, November 18, 2011 at 8:43 am Link to this comment

The GAO has recently completed the first ever audit of the Federal Reserve Bank. The results are posted as a downloadable .pdf on Bernie Sanders’ website. It is worth perusing as an eye-opening read. This AIG character certainly knows all the information revealed, and his spouting off about the ‘ignorance’ of the man in the street shows he’s in need of some shaking up himself, if not some spanking for lying. The amounts handed out by the Federal Reserve, independent of the Treasury, are astounding… astronomical numbers… the political realities of this should have us all blinking wide awake at night and pulling the covers up around our necks, as the ‘brain eating vampire squids’ are surely descending from their lofty mount, and are now busy gnawing away at our lives. What will be the consequences to the world’s productions, through these numeric abstractions these men have handed to us peons? With their class powers they have awarded themselves all the monetary success they couldn’t manage to squeeze out of our lives because they paid the 99% so little for so long that there just wasn’t the money available to rob ‘in the good olde ways’. They had to create it digitally, and then electronically distribute it. Main Street is just not sophisticated in these new quantum ways; stuck as it is with cops and traffic jambs and parks and showering off tear gas in the clumsy material world of things that go bump in the night. It’s just too bad for us then … eh?

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By Marian Griffith, November 18, 2011 at 2:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@Tim Gourly
—-The chairman of AIG and Bloomberg should be sharing a prison cell—-

What has that poor prison cell done to deserve that?

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By Zeitgeist, November 17, 2011 at 10:09 pm Link to this comment

Will everyone withdraw their money from the banks. Will everyone stop paying interest
on the money borrowed and, just pay back the principle only ?  Can they get 99%
arrested and is there so much space on their jails ? The government of the 99% , or at
least just not of the 1% , can pass laws to stop paying the bankers their pay and
bonuses, at least for the next five years ,in view of the fact that they have made
enough for their three or four generations. The bankers won’t die of hunger and be
deprived of their homes by doing that as has happened to the 99% now. Will the
government of “we the people” stop issuing bonds for borrowing from the banks and
prefer to print currency notes , which under the circumstances is the lesser evil? Too
much of anything is bad. Too much of money collected in a few hands , amounting to ”
“hoarding”. Is cruelty perpetrated on the unsuspecting trusting society , who were led
up the primrose path,like the” oysters ” by the walrus , the bankers have the
opportunity to gain back the trust at least substantially , if not fully, by voluntarily
forgoing for a few years their ay and perks and bonuses and behave by opting to
restrict their incomes to the level of public servants and adopt austerity measures . And
, to empathize with the 99% whom the political parties might need to get voted back
into power although , the bankers might not whose targets are the rich and the wealthy
1%.  Will the merchant class unite and organize themselves and create their own banks
, separate from the current ones these greedy ones run to exploit the lurking greed in
every human heart ? To be a bit greedy is OK for stretching ones self but to be over-
greedy like the bankers is no good . Only the extreme sense of irresponsibility that the
immature bankers show , is responsible for their own impending downfall which they
fail to see . They still take for granted that the government would bail them out ! Money
cannot create money .Only manufacturing and production of material goods and
material services , like transportation can create money .Are the bankers still nursing
the illusion that ” debt ” is money, that the interest they levy is real money ? Wake up
,the merchant class and show them that it is not so . The bankers are supposed to
serve you and not for you to become the slaves of bankers whom you have permitted
to,dictate terms to you instead of it being the other way round.the bankers ate your
servants and not your masters . The merchant class must not allow the bankers to
usurp your seats . Unite and, Organize and get back your rights from the bankers with
or without the help from the already enslaved political parties and the bought out
media, ere things become really chaotic , completely out of control of the 1%,
comprising the media , the political parties or of the sensation- mongering media or
even of the honest and consenscious out of your merchant class.

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By Tim Gourley, November 17, 2011 at 10:06 pm Link to this comment

I have a very simplistic view all right ...The chairman of AIG and Bloomberg should be sharing a prison cell

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By Joseph Couture, November 17, 2011 at 5:23 pm Link to this comment

The worst class war at play here is the civil war the 99 percent are fighting amongst themselves.  If we are ever going to create change we have to understand and deal with the reality of human nature, that is to say greedy, selfish and stupid.

Read about the fight in the 99 percent club here:  “It’s About Me, Stupid”

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By Payson, November 17, 2011 at 11:10 am Link to this comment

Not that anyone would ever admit it, but it seems that many OWS followers
share a similar view regarding Wall Street bailouts to that of the original Tea
Party supporters.  Each side names their villains according to party, but they are
all the same.  AIG’s chief is brazen because he knows Wall Street has the upper
hand over the “simple minded.”  By “simple minded” he certainly means any
American who isn’t working in the financial sector or posing as a politician
while auditioning for a future job as a lobbyist.
The reluctance to condemn the entire financial system that got us into this
mess will prohibit ANY progress in the proper direction.  These crooks are
posing as capitalists.  Capitalism isn’t bad in itself, but the Wall Street
shenanigans going on would make Adam Smith weep.  Let’s stop giving these
thieves a pass by letting them pick the monikers. 
Because the current course of action is primarily encampments with no coherent
message, the villains are controlling the dialogue.  Regardless of the veracity or
obvious insanity of their talking points, the Wall Street elites and their political
lapdogs always stay on message and keep hammering home the status quo. 
The rest of us have truth on our side.  Let’s use it!

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By Outraged, November 17, 2011 at 10:38 am Link to this comment

Speaking of looking down your nose…... have you seen

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By Zeitgeist, November 17, 2011 at 10:05 am Link to this comment

I read this on Truthdig and thought you would find it interesting.

I read this on Truthdig and thought you would find it interesting.

Smita, i would like to say, to the business-men ,

I would like to say this to the real manufacturers and real honest conscientious
business men,

“Businessmen , large and small UNITE ! Not to make more profits from the vulnerable ,
but to harness the bankers and the wall street predators who call themselves ” financial
” services ” . Do not allow the bankers and the entrenched financial services , who
serve only themselves, to boss over you and dictate terms of borrowings .Unitedly, you
boycott them internationally. Free yourselves from the stranglehold of the bankers who
care for making profits for themselves only. Manufacturers of material goods,
marketeers of material goods and material services like transportation , unite and,
create your own banks and your own financial servicers that functions under you ,
catering to your requirements, regulated by you , taking orders from you ,subservi
to you , instead of you becoming slaves working for the bankers as it is now “.

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By mrfreeze, November 17, 2011 at 8:43 am Link to this comment

-pbv - You are absolutely correct: I’ve heard it said, time and time again, that NOTHING has changed in the financial sector with regard to over the counter derivatives, credit swaps, etc.. The very same uber-speculative, and potentially dangerous behavior continues; the same culprits are running the zoo.

The fact is, the Media has totally dropped the ball on reporting these activities because…hell, they are owned by the very people who engage in this activity. How will anyone ever know the truth…..but worse yet, WTF can we do about it? OWS….I don’t think so. Vote the bastards in Congress out and get politicians that will stand up to these interests….I don’t think so….....not a pretty picture.

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By tdbach, November 17, 2011 at 7:11 am Link to this comment

The AIG chariman is both right and wrong.

He’s right that the bailout saved everyone’s bacon. Of course, the honchos at AIG, Goldman, etc. - not to mention a innumerable WS traders - benefitted the most (don’t they always?), but Main Street was saved in the process (albeit not enriched, as the 1% were).

He’s wrong that the prevailing view in OWS tents is that the bailout was a mistake. It’s that a) none of the largess of the bailouts has trickled down to the 99%, beyond preserving the economy from “implosion”; and b) the big-shots on WS who were responsible for this mess should have been prosecuted if they committed fraud (e.g. Goldman) or forced to be fired without parachutes, if they simple F’ed up.

But it benefits clowns like this guy to paint OWS as a bunch of naive yahoos who “just don’t understand.”

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By Big B, November 17, 2011 at 5:23 am Link to this comment

“let them eat cake, after we piss on it!”

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By ~ pbv, November 17, 2011 at 3:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Here’s the question - Why was a situation allowed to develop where we had to use
public money to bail out financial and insurance corporations under the threat of
national disaster due to the inherent corrupt practices of those same

And why is the situation allowed to continue?  Why are there no prosecutions of
those company executives who gambled and lost?  Why are they allowed to
continue to gamble?  With our money?  Why are they allowed to risk our collective
stability and security?

Oh, thats right ... they don’t believe in anything “collective”, not unless it means
that our individual, human collective stability and security is only to be based on
their complete freedom of action as corporate entities and from any legal and
moral judgments on those same actions.

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