Hoist by Our Own Petard (Bailout Money)
Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate.
–Depression-era Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon
Andrew Mellon, President Herbert Hoover’s Treasury Secretary, would have known what to do about AIG: liquidate it.
Doing so a year ago would have spared taxpayers the spectacle (obscenity, really) of bailed-out TARP companies spending millions lobbying Kenneth Feinberg, the so-called Wall Street Pay Czar charged with setting their executives’ pay:
A.I.G. alone spent $3 million on two compensation consultants and two Wall Street law firms. (Of course, most of that money ultimately came from taxpayers, who now own 80 percent of A.I.G.)
Not only did the high-priced talent hired by the [TARP] companies typically ignore one or more of Feinberg’s basic guidelines, but many also failed to answer questions and complete various templates. A.I.G. tried to make up for its failings by tossing in an additional 167-page PowerPoint presentation, which was drafted by one consulting firm as part of its $500,000 fee to “provide a full picture.”
–Steven Brill, “What’s a Bailed-Out Banker Really Worth?”; The New York Times (1/3/10)
On what planet does a company supported by taxpayers get to spend millions of that money lobbying to receive even more millions in pay?? Really!?!