AIG, JPMORGAN CHASE etc. TV commercials

Am I the only one finding the current television commercials by AIG and JP Morgan Chase and others (I just don’t recall them right this second) disingenuous — yes they paid the Government back all the money we the taxpayers lent them to save them from taking us all into the worst depression since the 20′s and yes, they paid back big amounts of interest to us, and yes, maybe they are supposedly trying to do good things now, but where is the acknowledgement of past huge really bad criminal-like decision making and where are the changed laws and people being held personally liable for their insane selfish actions, so that this can never ever happen again?

Recommended by somervilletom, jasiu, abs0628.


15 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Love the line in the AIG ad

    something like, “we paid the government back, and I’m really proud of that.”

    That’s like, “Yeah, I served time for that assault and robbery, and I’m really proud of that.”

  2. What portion of the middle-class "haircut" have they paid back?

    While the executives of these companies have been receiving multi-million dollar compensation plans (all too often at 15% capital gains tax rates), the middle class lost virtually ALL the wealth it had acquired since the turn of the century.

    For the overwhelming majority of middle-class Americans, their home is their sole and most precious family investment. The equity in their home is their only hope of long-term economic sustainability. These companies intentionally and successfully fleeced every middle-class American, and plundered that home equity.

    When then-President George W. Bush was promoting his across-the-board tax cut, he characterized the surplus that his predecessor had created as evidence that Americans were “overpaying” their taxes.

    Whether intentional or not, the effect of the economic policy of the Bush administration was to transfer the wealth acquired by the lower, middle, and upper middle classes to the very wealthy. The housing bubble was the ruse that deceived Americans (and voters) into thinking that they and nation were doing well. In fact, the top 1% was sucking them dry. We learned this when the bottom fell out in 2008.

    This mob destroyed the economic foundations of government as we know it during the Bush administration. They now hope to finish the job they started by cynically using the “austerity” narrative to transfer even more wealth from the 99% to their 1%. It is the working and middle classes that pay, through lost goods and services, for these austerity programs. It is the very wealthy who receive the money when the debt is paid. The actual economic effect of paying down the national debt is to transfer enormous wealth from the 99% to the 1% (primarily holders of T-Bills and other treasury securities).

    Now, the banking and finance giants who accomplished all this are seizing their opportunity to rewrite history and paint themselves into good guys. It reminds me of the similar rewrite largely accomplished by Bill Gates (who ranks high among the most despicable of American robber barons).

    The Occupy Everything movement began an effort to treat these players as the villains they are. We must not let that effort die.

  3. Details please

    I’d like some more details on the “huge” amounts of interest they paid back. If it’s at a rate higher than a typical junk bond, maybe that ended up being a good financial deal for taxpayers if viewed in a vacuum. Otherwise, not so much.

    And that’s excluding the obvious issue of all the immense harm caused to the American public by the excesses of these companies. Which I find rather difficult to ignore.

    • "I hate those guys"

      That was Indiana Jones’ reaction when he heard he was up against the Nazi’s again in Last Crusade, its my reaction to these ads. Its also because I am currently a business consultant looking to get an MPA/MBA down the road and I have worked with bank Presidents that arent assholes. These guys really make American capitalism look downright amoral, evil, and excessive when there are so many hard working people in the banking sector who do the right thing every day. There would be no need for OWS if the government watchdogs actually did their jobs, if we still had Glass-Steagall, and if the good banks got more of the press, business, and credit they deserve.

      Credit unions, which I have worked with, have some of the best customer service and community investment records in the banking sector. I am working with a Canadian based one right now that wants to grow and be a regional player but understands it has to be true to its values to do so. US Bank, a major regional player in the Midwest and no. 5 or 6 in the country has a fantastic CEO who realizes the positive role banks must play and is proud that he managed his bank so prudently that it did not need a bailout. And these morons are bragging about paying their bailouts back?

      It reminds me of the auto sector when GM ran its ads. Ford didn’t need a bailout because it got on board with hybrids, started making good cars again, and stopped relying on gas guzzlers for its profit margins. It did the right thing. GM and Chrysler were ineptly managed for decades and got themselves into that mess by banging their heads on the wall instead of seeing where the market was going. Ironically as ‘socialistic’ as the takeover was GM is now stronger and better managed than ever since the government did what the board didn’t have the balls to do.

      I’m also real sick of Jamie Dimon getting all this positive press too, what about the big banks that a) didnt need a bailout and b) didnt break the law. Put THOSE CEOs before Senate committees and call them rockstars.

      OWS at its core is not anti-market, most protestors I have talked to, like me, want strong, locally controlled, community invested banks or at least big banks that adhere to those same strong values. I really wish more people of faith could stop complaining about gays and abortion and really recognize that our modern economy, anchored by these banks, is an economy that incentivizes and rewards immoral behaviour and leads to a quality of life that breaks down and destroys working class families. You want family values? You want government backed morality? Then support financial reform, campaign finance reform, and income equality. Those are the big three moral values issues in my book.

      • Ford

        Not disagreeing with you, but just to be complete: The other thing Ford did before the recession was to mortgage just about everything they had in order to fund their plans to rework and retool. I still don’t know if that was just plain luck or good foresight, but a big reason they didn’t need a bailout was that they had a whole lot of cash on hand.

        • Some foresight

          I don’t think that they saw the crash coming any better than anyone else. But they did say at the time of that restructuring that they had too many “legacy” fixed costs, and were relying too much on a single category of vehicles–trucks and SUVs– to pay those costs.

          The unfortunate thing about the entire bailout is that, by making a hard choice and restructuring before the crisis, Ford got screwed. Neither GM nor das Chrysler bothered, and so both would have failed without government assistance, which ultimately (arguably) set them up in better condition than Ford.

          It is also not exactly a good situation that Ford’s primary union, the UAW, wound up as a significant owner of its primary competitor. Ultimately, this shouldn’t be devastating for Ford, because GM still cannot sell vehicles at a profit, and because the bailout didn’t really change the management-labor dynamic at GM that caused the problem in the first place.

  4. how heartfelt is AIG's thank-you?

    If you feel you need any more reasons to hate AIG, drink something strong first, then read this in today’s New York Times.

    The board of A.I.G. will meet on Wednesday to consider joining a $25 billion shareholder lawsuit against the government, court records show. The lawsuit does not argue that government help was not needed. It contends that the onerous nature of the rescue — the taking of what became a 92 percent stake in the company, the deal’s high interest rates and the funneling of billions to the insurer’s Wall Street clients — deprived shareholders of tens of billions of dollars and violated the Fifth Amendment, which prohibits the taking of private property for “public use, without just compensation.”

    We should have let them go under.

    • Had we let them go under

      2009 would have been far, far worse, and the low point would have lasted much, much longer.

      I don’t get the damage theory. You took our shares when they were worth $0.00 and, by injecting capital into the company, caused them to be worth more than zero.

      That’s like suing someone for renovating your house for free.

      • Agreed.

        Also, I trust you’d agree that AIG’s suing over the bailout while running an ad campaign thanking America would seem churlish at best…

        • Well, yes

          That goes without saying, which is why I didn’t say it. Har har.

          They probably have to do it, though. Some stockholders have already filed the action; the board’s issue is whether to join. If they don’t, and a subset of stockholders who did file get some money, they’re open to D&O liability.

          A dilemma.

    • These people are thieves

      Matt Taibbi lays it all out:
      Secrets and Lies of the Bailout

  5. Senator Warren statement on possible AIG lawsuit

    Surprised no one has mentioned — a pretty blistering statement (and justifiably so) from our soon-to-be senior Senator on the possible AIG lawsuit:

    “Beginning in 2008, the federal government poured billions of dollars into AIG to save it from bankruptcy. AIG’s reckless bets nearly crashed our entire economy. Taxpayers across this country saved AIG from ruin, and it would be outrageous for this company to turn around and sue the federal government because they think the deal wasn’t generous enough. Even today, the government provides an ongoing, stealth bailout, propping up AIG with special tax breaks—tax breaks that Congress should stop. AIG should thank American taxpayers for their help, not bite the hand that fed them for helping them out in a crisis.

    When a company accepts a taxpayer bailout to stay in business, it ought to follow the same tax laws followed by companies that aren’t bailed out. In its ongoing efforts to reform corporate tax law, Congress should close this egregious loophole and prevent AIG from continuing to receive a stealth bailout every time it files its taxes.”

    • Poor Writing

      I’m disappointed in this statement.

      There are way too many colloquialisms and mixed-metaphors here. AIG is apparently both like a gambler (making “reckless bets”) and a domesticated animal (“biting the hand that feeds them”).

      In two short paragraphs we get those metaphors. And then are also supposed to also buy-in to the concepts of a “stealth” bailout and an “egregious” loophole, the idea that certain tax breaks are “special,” and the metaphor that money can be “poured into” something.

      I expect better writing in something that I hope was carefully reviewed by Senator Warren herself and that is intended for wide distribution.

  6. I'd just add to the list the ubiquitous BP ads

    about how “committed” they are to the Gulf.

  7. Mixed metaphors and all

    it seems to have worked. They’re not joining the suit.

    Matt Taibbi had an interesting blog post on this. On the one hand, the idea that AIG was mistreated by the bailout is absurd. On the other hand, AIG wasn’t given quite the kid gloves treatment given to Goldman and Morgan Stanley. That, to them, is enough to make it worth complaining over.

    These guys are so entrenched in a worldview where they deserve preferential treatment that getting their asses saved from collapse, but with strings not applied to other bad actors, is seen as a violation of their “rights.”

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Fri 28 Apr 2:30 AM