Screw up, move up. It’s how Obama cabinet officials get ahead. And it’s how Washington’s favored failing businesses get more of your money. The first $85 billion bailout under Bush didn’t work. The second $38 billion under Bush didn’t work. So, hey, how about tossing another $30 billion down the hole?
So much for President Obama taking a stand against Bush’s failed policies, eh? But don’t worry. We’ve got Bozo the VP looking out for us this time, making sure all the money is tracked on the Internets. Oh, wait. Transparency doesn’t apply to the Big Business bailouts. Just trust them:
American International Group Inc., the insurer deemed too important to fail, may get a commitment for as much as $30 billion in new government capital after a record quarterly loss, said two people familiar with the matter.
The insurer may also be allowed to make lower payments on government loans, said the people, who declined to be identified because there was no public announcement. New York-based AIG may forfeit part of stakes in its two largest non-U.S. life insurance divisions to lower the firm’s debt, the people said.
AIG, first saved from collapse in September with a package that grew to $150 billion, had to restructure its bailout after failing to sell enough units to repay the U.S. Firms including banks relied on AIG to back more than $300 billion of assets through derivative contracts as of Sept. 30, making the insurer a “systematically significant failing institution” that has to be propped up, according to the Treasury.
“The government has accepted all the downside with little chance of upside,” said Phillip Phan, professor of management at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School in Baltimore. “They are trying to protect the global financial system from a complete meltdown.”
AIG, which agreed in September to turn over an 80 percent stake to the government, is set to announce a fourth-quarter loss of about $60 billion tomorrow, according to three people familiar with the matter. The company’s board was scheduled to meet today to vote on the revised bailout, according to two other people familiar with the matter.
Update: Down, down, down…
American International Group Inc., once the world’s largest insurer, said Monday it lost $61.7 billion in the fourth quarter, the biggest quarterly loss in U.S. corporate history, amid continued financial market turmoil.
The results come as the U.S. government also Monday announced a restructuring of a bailout plan for the troubled insurer, extending $30 billion in additional aid to the company.
New York-based AIG said it lost $22.95 per share in the last three months of 2008. It lost $5.3 billion, or $2.08 per share, in the same quarter a year ago.
Revenue fell to negative $23.8 billion, as the company had to reverse gains it recorded from investments in past quarters.
The latest results include $7.2 billion in unrealized losses and credit valuation adjustments at AIG Financial Products, the source of credit-default swaps, and pretax losses of $21.6 billion tied to the declining value of AIG’s investment portfolio.
AIG’s general insurance business swung to a loss on $2.8 billion in net realized capital losses. General insurance net premiums dropped 16.3 percent to $9.2 billion, and net premiums earned fell 5.9 percent to nearly $11 billion.
Adjusted to exclude certain items, operating losses totaled $37.9 billion, or $14.17 per share, versus a loss of $3.2 billion, or $1.25 per share, last year.
Fox Business reporter Cheryl Casone points out that AIG’s losses can be translated to: