Mob Threatens to Bring Down Insurer
Hired guards stood watch outside the suburban Connecticut offices of AIG Financial Products, the division whose exotic derivatives brought the insurance giant to the brink of collapse last year. Inside, death threats and angry letters flooded e-mail inboxes. Irate callers lit up the phone lines. Senior managers submitted their resignations. Some employees didn’t show up at all.
“It’s a mob effect,” one senior executive said. “It’s putting people’s lives in danger.”
Anger is fine. It might mean we won’t be bailing out AIG for the fifth time and it might put the brakes on the rest of the Washington bailout brigade. However, burning down a bank the taxpayer owns 80% of doesn’t sound like a very good idea to me.
Who is stoking this mob? The President and Democrats, sure. Also every populist and fairweather-populist. And Republicans like Sen. Chuck Grassley who said that corporate executives should “resign or go commit suicide.”
Let’s be real, here, for a minute. We (the taxpayer) shouldn’t own AIG. But now that we do, and can’t get rid of it since no one would be stupid enough to buy it, we should probably take good care of it.