What are accountants and economists saying about the AIG controversy?
We took a sampling of several accounting blogs to bring our readers this commentary on the AIG bailout/bonus controversy. See also Will the AIG case result in using the tax code to punish certain individuals? for the latest news update. Follow the links below to read the complete blog entries. Add your comments at the end of this article, and feel free to include links to other blogs and commentary.
In A danger to the nation, Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism addresses the AIG bonus scandal and quotes from her e-mail correspondence with University of Missouri-Kansas City law and economics Professor William Black who describes the AIG situation as the consequence of six failures and weaknesses on the part of the Treasury.
In AIG, Again?, a Texas independent CPA/MBA who goes by the name of the Skeptical CPA states that, "The federal government is overhauling its $150 billion bailout of [AIG] in a bid to bolster the battered insurer, but its plan will expose U.S. taxpayers to more financial risk."
David Merkel, CFA, writing in The Aleph Blog, is a former AIG employee who provides his insider's take in Break up AIG!. "The problems are bigger than the current management team, or [former AIG CEO]Hank [Greenberg], can deal with. AIG needs to shrink– reduce leverage, focus on underwriting profitability, exit unprofitable lines, as AIG did back in the 80s. Give up market share, shed employees, become more profitable. Essentially, they need to undo a lot of what Hank did. The synergies of the combined enterprise are small, so break up AIG and let new managers focus more intensely on their less diverse enterprises."
Nationally syndicated columnist and economist Larry Kudlow, writing in this Money & Politics blog, adds his two cents to the AIG situation in The AIG Outrage. "This whole AIG fiasco -- where the entire political class is suddenly screaming over bonuses paid to derivative traders in AIG’s financial-products division -- is just a complete farce. What it really shows is how the government has completely bungled the AIG takeover. Blame the Bush administration and the Obama administration. It also shows, once again, why the government shouldn’t run anything, because it cannot run anything."
Roni Deutch, aka the Tax Lady, states in her blog, 73 AIG Bonuses Hit Million-Dollar Mark, that, "Just months after getting bailed out by American taxpayers, AIG has once again made headlines by giving out millions of dollars in bonuses to their executives, many of which are no longer working for the company. CBSnews.com has posted an interesting article on the outrage sparked by these huge bonuses, and what President Obama and Congress are planning to do about it."
Rick Telberg quotes Gavin Magor at TheStreet.com in his CPA Trendlines commentary, Can AIG Really rewrite the Rules of Financial Disclosure?" "AIG has made it impossible to understand where the investment losses lie. AIG’s group insurance companies posted $23.6 billion in investment losses in the first nine months of last year, so this is an important detail."