The Chicken Littles rushed to fork over billions to failing companies with no strings attached — and they’re still flummoxed about how they got taken for fools.
Let the curtains open on the latest act of Congressional Kabuki theater, via The Hill:
Senate Dems angry over four AIG bailouts
By Alexander Bolton
Posted: 03/03/09 12:11 PM [ET]
Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee voiced frustration over recent decisions made by the Federal Reserve during a Tuesday morning hearing where they grilled Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.
Democrats and a few Republicans are irate over the latest infusion of taxpayer money into American International Group Inc. (AIG), which reported a record $62 billion quarterly loss on Monday.
The Fed is on track to spend close to $200 billion on the ailing financial conglomerate.
Federal officials announced over the weekend the latest installment in the series of bailouts, an additional $30 billion. The money will come from the $350 billion Congress approved for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) earlier this year.
This is the fourth time the federal government has intervened to rescue AIG. The newest cash infusion comes on top of a $60 billion loan, $50 billion to purchase toxic assets and $40 billion to purchase preferred shares of stock.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who chaired the budget committee hearing, accused the Fed of keeping taxpayers “in the dark” about its overall strategy on AIG.
“I hope the fed will come clean in the coming days as to why [the AIG intervention] is so essential,” Wyden told Bernanke.
Bernanke replied that AIG exploited a “huge gap in the regulatory system” and said that he as angry as any lawmaker about AIG’s “huge numbers of irresponsible bets.”
Sen. Patty Murray (D-
Ore.Wa.) said she was “really troubled by the manner we’re dealing with AIG.”
Still slow on the uptake, Patty.