Friday, October 17, 2008

Brought To You By The Letters U R F e d

The fact that technically the $700 billion that the taxpayers are "loaning" to the government to "loan" to the various financial institutions in this country is not really a bailout doesn't matter to a lot of people (most of them morons). That's because they figure that if the government is giving away $700 billion (which they're not) that the government should give it away to them, the little people. But what the little, tiny, dumb, dumb people who think that way don't understand is that without helping out these greedy, bastardized companies (yes, I'm a tad bitter, why do you ask?) the economy would totally tank and there would be a line a mile long outside of the barrel store. And not Crate and Barrel. No, this would be more like the Apparel Barrel because that's what everyone would be wearing for years to come. You know, with a 50% unemployment rate and no money anywhere for anyone. Stuff happens, but we really want to avoid wearing large wooden containers as clothing.

One of the companies that received your money and my money is AIG. AIG actually stands for American International Group, but you could think 'Ain't It Good?' and you'd have a pretty good idea of how some of the executives over there have it. They do a lot of insurance stuff for about 74 million customers world wide. Just a few months ago, they had $15.2 billion dollars in excess capital. Today? Today they have none. Whoops! Losing $8 billion a quarter really seems to hurt business, apparently. Go figure. But the thing is, if they went under, it would be a nightmare for everyone. AIG had to be helped out otherwise there was a good chance that our fine, fine economic system would crumble like a fine dessert topping. Only the topping would be crap and the dessert would be more crap. No one wants crap for dessert. Or dinner, really. No one wants it. Ever. So to prevent having crap stew for the next decade, we the taxpayers loaned them $85 billion dollars. (Did you know you were generous? I had no idea I was! None! I was shocked to learn I was so giving! Wait until you learn how giving you REALLY are!)

OK, so they have their $85 billion and now they can start making money again and pay the people back, right? Right. Oh, wait. But first, there's a little bit of business to take care of. Yeah, see, first they have to spend about $440,000 dollars to have their staff and a bunch of sales people take a trip to some posh hotel/resort in California (where the rooms are $1,000 per night) and spend a week there, getting facials, pedicures, playing golf, and living it up. On our money. Um, I'm sorry, weren't you the folks that were flat ass broke about two weeks ago? Because I don't remember saying, "Sure, you were idiots with your business capital and lost it all and I'm going to give you all of this money and..hey! I have an idea! Since you did such a craptastic job running your company and running it right into the ground, what say you spend almost half a million on yourselves and go take a little vacation! Oh, and please, please make sure that the rooms that you stay in are at least a thousand bucks a night. I will hear nothing of anything less!" Yeah, I don't remember that part.

When the folks on the Senate committee (who are looking into how all of these failed financial institutions failed in the first place) got wind of this, they gave those AIG guys a stern look at the hearing. One of the Senators even raised his voice! That showed them! Or did it? Oh, that's right. It didn't. I know that because of the partridges. Wait. What?

You know, the partridges. The ones that the AIG guys went hunting for last week. Did I not mention? Sorry. Yeah, see after that stern look from the Senator, the AIG executive guys flew a group from the US to London on a private jet for a week so that they could hunt the bird otherwise known as the partridge (commonly thought of as being "in a pear tree"). And according to the folks over there at News Of The World, the execs were downright smug about the whole ordeal. They claim that AIG chief Alvaro Mengotti (if you can't remember 'Alvaro' just remember 'A-Hole' instead. You will remember he's an A-Hole by the time I get done here.) initially lied about being on the trip, saying he wasn't when he was. He was quoted as saying, "It's going to get a lot worse before it gets better." Then he sighed and went off to find a pear tree in which to bag said partridge (hopefully not Keith or Laurie). He's going to likely hear that phrase repeated to him one day as the mob of villagers pummels him with their ax handles.

The trip cost £50,000. When you convert that to a term you can understand, like the US dollar, that comes out to $86,513.55. For a week of shooting birds in England. Oh, and it was for eight. EIGHT. EIGHT freaking greedy ass, scumbucket executives at AIG took money that you and I so generously loaned them and flew to freaking England to shoot birds that, and I'm guessing, likely never did anything to them.

Not charging your Taser for an AIG board meeting yet? Here, maybe this will help. One of the AIG bigwigs, a one Dr Sebastian Preil was quoted as having said, "The recession will go on until about 2011—but the shooting was great today and we are all relaxing fine." Please continue reading when you're finished screaming.

Other AIG guests at this $86,000+ wingding that you and I threw and weren't even invited to include a one Stefan Nill, a Hilary James, general manager of New York’s Bristol Plaza Hotel, and her pal John Roberts. (Roberts is a financial expert who advises AIG! This is your advice, sir?! To take taxpayer money when your company has no, none, ZERO capital and fly to another country on a private jet to shoot at birds?! You're an EXPERT?!?! Someone fire him. Now.) And joining those slimeballs was a one Jeffery Malkovsky, a senior director at AIG’s New York office, and Herr W Underburg (that's a pretty name), a client of Preil. So, eight people, all greedy a-holes. Nice. (Did I mention that Priel guy is 32? Thirty effing two. Hmmm...that vein in your forehead is going to pop if you keep turning different shades of crimson whilst reading this. Please be careful and breathe once in a while.)

Apparently, the News of the World had undercover reporters at this posh joint these folks squandered your money at. They report that at the bar "Preil, 32, bragged to one of our undercover men: “I speak five languages and I have a senior post at AIG in Frankfurt. We have been given $85 billion from the US bank to help us out but we should be on an even keel in two years.” Hillary James, who is described as a boisterous woman in her 40s (translation: really loud when drunk, lots of bright red lipstick, probably had lipo), is quoted as saying, "It has been a fantastic day. We got plenty of shooting in as the weather was fine. We love it here!" Oh, good.

When contacted about this shindig, the AIG rep responded with "This is an event that has been held for a number of years and was arranged some time ago. Our policy going forward is to cancel such events. The cost of everything was incurred by AIG except accommodation for the guests.” Um, hey, I don't give a fat rat's ass if your event "was arranged some time ago." Are you saying that if the US taxpayers hadn't given you our money you would have gone anyway because it was already paid for?! Because if you had NOT received financial assistance for your company that was flat ass broke a month ago, there wouldn't be a company for you to work for and for you to use as an excuse to hunt a foreign partridge! Did you even once, just once, think about not going because it would be wrong? I didn't think so. And you wonder why your company has no money?

This will not end well. And that's unfortunate because this is a pretty clear and easy to understand example of how a lack of supervision, oversight and accountability results in a ridiculous amount of fiscal waste for which no one except for people who had nothing to do with it will be made to be responsible for fixing the resulting disasters. I hate the thought of someone micromanaging my work and making sure that I'm doing stuff the way that it's supposed to be done. But I'm not running a multi-bazillion dollar company whose success and/or failure helps determine which way the economy blows. Those who are apparently need to be checked up on. Frequently. Now, you'd think that some of those financial oversight committees that they have over there in the House of Representatives would be able to do that. In fact, if you were crazy enough, you'd actually think that is what some of those committees were specifically for! Never mind. I just realized we'd need a committee to check up on the committee because they're not doing their job either. We're doomed. What's partridge taste like anyway?

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Anonymous said...

Not just Lipo but a major lift (at whose expense one wonders?) Hilary James was in her "late 40's" in 1990!!

Mare said...

Then these must be her "really late 40s"!!