09/19/2012 11:50:00 AM EST
The Bailout of AIG: Mission Accomplished?
If we do not act, boldly and immediately, we will replay
the depression of the 1930s, only this time it will be far, far worse. We don't
do this now, we won't have an economy on Monday.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, "Too Big To
On Friday September 14, the US government announced the
completion of the sale of AIG stock taxpayers bought during the financial
crisis bailout of the insurer. The government took in $20.7 billion for the
sale and is no longer the majority owner of the company. At the peak of the
crisis, taxpayers owned almost 80% of AIG.
Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times reporter, CNBC host,
and author of "Too Big To Fail" used his DealBook column to ask former Special Inspector General of TARP Neil Barofsky if
he was satisfied, finally. Sorkin says the US Treasury made a profit on the AIG
As we approach the four-year anniversary of the collapse
of Lehman Brothers and the rescue of A.I.G. next week, sadly, much of the
public - and people like Mr. Barofsky, as well-intentioned as he is - are still
criticizing and debating the merits of the bailout. It's almost become a
In his book, Mr. Barofsky wrote, "Treasury's desperate
attempt to bail out Wall Street was setting the country up for potentially
As distasteful as the rescue effort was, it should be
clear by now that without it, we faced an economic Armageddon. And the results
thus far of bailing out the big banks, and A.I.G., indicate a profit.
Treasury never uses the term "profit" to describe what
taxpayers would receive. The GAO did in a report in May when it estimated the proceeds
that could be realized at various sale prices.
I wrote in American Banker about Sorkin's claim that the bank bailouts
prevented "financial system Armageddon" and his debate with Barofsky. I think
"profit" is not only the wrong term but an answer to the wrong question.
Read this article in its entirety at the re: The Auditors, a blog
by Francine McKenna.
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