Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Now, Ladies and Gentlemen, THEMS are Balls

I've got big balls
Oh, I've got big balls
And they're such big balls
Dirty big balls
And he's got big balls
And she's got big balls
But we've got the biggest balls of them all
AC/DC 1976

I've been a little outa touch with the news for the past couple of days. I heard bits and pieces about the AIG bonuses but it wasn't really until today that I read up on it.

Everyone knows the background. AIG lost $99.3b in 2008, ($61.7b of that in the last quarter alone). To keep afloat they had to cut a series of deals with the US Treasury starting with $106b in September. The latest ask was a mere fortnight ago for $30b, bringing the total to date, according to The Wall Street Journal, to $173b.

Last week came some welcome news for AIG execs: it's bonus time to the tune of $163m !! Of that, 73 received over $1m a piece and the largest recipient got over $6m. The payout was crass and a bit ballsy but in more of an uncomfortably swollen, discoloured, 'big balls' sort of way.
What was slightly more impressive was that AIG did it without even the pretence of a bit of PR: no back-against-the-wall sounding press release saying 'we had no choice - it was part of a contract'; no shots of a furrow-browed CEO perhaps asking that their bailout be reduced by $165m even as a token gesture to taxpayers. Their reaction to the furore ? To the Washington Post: 'AIG declined to comment'. To Reuters: 'AIG did not return calls and e-mails seeking comment'. Pretty good in the "well, that took some balls" department.

The more impressive AIG stunt published this week was that it was funnelling some of it's 'wealth' to struggling, even 'toxic', financial institutions. The Wall Street Journal figures that since September 2008 AIG rerouted "... $120 billion in cash, collateral and other payouts to banks, municipal governments and other derivative counterparts around the world." It included $20b to European banks and at least $13b to Goldman Sachs.

Okay, now THAT deserves a tip o' the protective cup.

This one-two combo of AIG will for decades deflate the expression "taking lots of balls" or any derivative thereof. Really, is anything going to be considred that ballsy when compared to the kahunas these guys have ?


Anonymous said...

AIG was the insurer, Goldman Sachs needs them in order to get money from taxpayers and so do the other toxic waste holders.

Ergo Paulson and Geithner, 2 Goldman Sach alumni writing the rules and running the show.

Obama better wake up, the vibe on Huffington Post isn't very good.

As for the bonus's, some say its over 1 billion under creative accounting rules. This is a mere diversion to the larger swindle at hand.

Poor yanks, after 8 years of Bush they now get more of the same leadership.

Conceited Jerk said...

Nothing like a bit of Economic Elephantiasis, eh?

Rumour has it that the execs are being asked to give at least half their bonuses back.

Out of the goodness of their gold-plated black hearts, of course ;)