Thursday, April 2, 2009

Finger Pointing at AIG

I was just reading a series of articles about AIG and its former CEO and largest individual stockholder, Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, who is the creator of the AIG investment unit that triggered the insurance company's meltdown.

In a testimony in front of a congressional panel, he claimed that he was a victim and that he left the company in a solid and profitable condition. Those still at AIG say that Greenberg knew about all of this and was there when the CDS, Credit Default Swaps, were being sold at a fast and furious pace.

To me, I don't care who is to blame regarding all of this, but something needs to happen. I am a capitalist and believe in fair and open markets. However, it seems to me that every time we allow an industry to regulate itself, the industry begins to conduct business with no accountability or responsibility for its actions. Don't get me wrong. I prefer small government and I believe that industries should regulate themselves whenever possible. It just seems like they can't for whatever reason. This situation and the subsequent downturn in the economy is yet another good example of deregulation gone awry.

I miss the days of conservative investments made by solid companies. To me, all of these different investment instruments seem like a big Ponzi scheme to make money for a few. If something happens everyone who can afford it can run for cover. Families like mine and yours get the raw deal and we have to bailout the companies for mistakes made by a few people who don't care about others.

I was watching an old "I Love Lucy" episode this morning with Tennessee Ernie Ford. He played Lucy's cousin. In order to get rid of him, Ricky and Lucy pretend to be broke. Well, cousin Ernie comes to the rescue and gets food and takes up a collection. He presents the money and food to them and tells them that people are good and kind. People come to the aid of one another and do not try to profit from hard times.

There is a lesson for us all. Thanks, cousin Ernie! I hope we can learn from your words.

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