Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Don't Blame AIG

So there's obviously been quite the hullabaloo about AIG giving several of their employees bonuses with the government bailout money, and now I think it's reached a fever pitch since I just heard on the radio that AIG employees are being encouraged to travel in pairs, and not to go anywhere at night for fear of some kind of mob justice. If you're asking me, the public is outraged at the wrong people.

I'm certainly no economist, and I haven't the first clue about how to run a successful business, but I think I know spin control when I sees it. If you're asking me (and no one is), the real culprit here is the government. If the public should be mad at anyone it should be them; AIG was doing business as usual. But that's the problem: business as usual becomes business as the government wants it done when you've got public money on the table.

Don't get me wrong. I think it was foolish and stupid for AIG to give out those bonuses, but that actually proves my point. We should never given ANY business public money. If we hadn't given them any money, there would have been zero chance that they could misuse it. We should have never allowed things to get to the point where we have to get mad at a company for its poor use of public money, and that's the point: businesses and companies shouldn't be using public money in the first place.

The government wants you to believe that this whole mess is AIG's fault, but we have to admit that they're at least a little bit involved too, don't we (see above)? In my opinion, they're the primary culprit, and the government should be the ones to shoulder this blame.

Now the government's spin on this whole issue is that there wasn't enough regulation, enough control, enough oversight. In other words, this fiasco occurred because the government supposedly wasn't involved enough a lot of people would say, "Yeah, that's right. If the government is going to give away my money to private businesses, then they SHOULD be watching what happens to it." If that's your opinion, you're still one step behind the thought process: no, the government shouldn't be regulating business, because the government has no place in business. The government shouldn't be regulating businesses because the government shouldn't be doling out money to businesses.

It all comes back to them. Follow the money. If you want to be mad about this, be mad at them, and hold them accountable.

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