5. AIG's Audacity
Thank you Bob Benmosche. From the bottom of our hearts, thank and God bless you.
Why, you are probably wondering, are we heaping such a generous dose of gratitude upon AIG's (AIG) CEO?
Certainly it's not because he demanded it during a megalomaniacal rant in Monday's New York Magazine. To be honest, that article gave us more of a sense of agita than appreciation.No, it's because Bob made our Dumbest legwork so much easier this week. Seriously, it's not easy finding these pearls of witlessness week-in week-out, so it's a major relief when a gem like this falls into our proverbial lap. Speaking from his villa on the banks of the Adriatic, Benmosche bemoaned the lack of gratefulness from Uncle Sam for repaying with interest the more than $182 billion in taxpayer funds used to bail out the failed insurer during the depths of the 2008 financial crisis. (Well, to be precise, AIG has paid back the Fed in full, but not yet the Treasury which still owns about 15% of the company. But it's close, so let's not further upset the bearded Benmosche by splitting facial hairs.) "Neither of them have ever said 'Thank you?' We have done all the right things. Somebody should say, 'By golly, those AIG people made a promise and they are living up to a promise!' We're left with a major part of the economy in America; they're going to make a profit on top of everything else they've got," said Benmosche from his Croatian castle, adding with a flourish, "God bless America. And God bless AIG. And God bless Tiny Tim." Yes fellow citizens. You read correctly. The guy that pocketed $14 million in 2011 to help clean up the toxic mortgage bond mess created by folks that pocketed $165 million in bonuses for creating said mess wants us all to thank him. Oh man, that's just audacious Bob. We acknowledge you did a stellar job in helping raise that Titanic of a company. But let's not go overboard and equate your savvy financial engineering with some kind of national heroism. In case you may have forgotten, you are Bob Benmosche, not Ben Freaking Franklin. They say chutzpah is best characterized by a person who murders his parents and then pleads for the court's mercy on the grounds of being an orphan. Well, in case we needed one, Benmosche's plea for gratitude has given us another very fine definition for the term. We suppose we can thank him for that as well.
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