The poster child for chutzpah leads the fight against AIG’s exercise of its legal rights
AIG is considering whether to join a lawsuit arising out of the bailouts.
It’s only at the consideration stage, as reported by The Wall Street Journal:
Most of American International Group Inc.’s directors began Wednesday’s board meeting leery of supporting a controversial lawsuit that accuses the U.S. government of taking advantage of the company in its rescue from the financial crisis, according to two people familiar with their thinking.
The suit was filed last year in a federal claims court by Starr International Co., the company headed by AIG’s 87-year-old former chief executive, Maurice R. “Hank” Greenberg, and seeks $25 billion in damages for AIG and its shareholders. Starr requested that AIG join it in pursuing the claims, and the insurer’s board agreed to hear presentations on the suit during Wednesday’s meeting.
News of AIG’s consideration of the matter, which surfaced Monday evening, unleashed a torrent of criticism about the big insurer’s perceived ingratitude toward taxpayers for the massive rescue effort, one of the biggest of the 2008-09 crisis.
As further reported in the WSJ article, the mere consideration by AIG whether to join the lawsuit has various politicians warning AIG not even to think about it, that it would amount to “corporate ingratitude and chutzpah.”
Since when has chutzpah been out of favor in politics? Washington, D.C.’s economy — one of the strongest in the nation — is built on chutzpah.
As Victor Davis Hanson ably documents, the liberal establishment got rich on chutzpah, The New Liberal Aristocracy::
Take former vice president Al Gore. He has made a fortune of nearly a billion dollars warning against global warming — supposedly shrinking glaciers, declining polar-bear populations, and the like — while simultaneously offering timely remedies from his own green corporations, all reminiscent of the methodology of Roman millionaire Marcus Licinius Crassus, who profited from fires and putting them out. Now Nobel laureate Gore has sold his interest in a failing cable-television station for about $100 million — and to the anti-American Al-Jazeera, which is owned by the fossil-fuel-rich royal family of Qatar. Gore rushed to close the deal before the first of the year to avoid the very capital-gains tax hikes that he has advocated for others less well off. That’s a liberal trifecta: enhancing a fossil-fuel consortium, attempting to beat tax hikes, and empowering an anti-American and anti-Semitic media conglomerate run by an authoritarian despot — all from a former vice president of the United States who crusades for ending our reliance on fossil fuels and for raising taxes on the wealthy.
Elizabeth Warren, who falsely claimed to be Cherokee for employment purposes and who refuses to release the records much less apologize, is furious that AIG might seek to exercise its legal rights.
This is the same Elizabeth Warren who amassed a roughly $15 million fortune railing against corporations that allegedly don’t pay their fair share in taxes as she worked for a tax exempt corporation, Harvard University. But for Harvard’s special tax breaks, and the special tax breaks of every employer Elizabeth Warren has had since the 1970s, Elizabeth Warren could not have been paid such exorbitant salaries, while giving her a launching pad for her private legal practice. The cheapskate even obtained a fee waiver for access to the federal PACER electronic docket system because she was an academic, even though she had millions in the bank. There is no one who exudes chutzpah more than Elizabeth Warren, yet she is making political hay with AIG even considering whether to join the lawsuit.
All of this was predictable and predicted when the bailouts of AIG and others took place.
When government is here to help, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, there always is a price to pay.
In this case, the price is a request to forfeit sharedholders’ legal rights for corporations, and a loss of liberty for the politically unpopular. We don’t hear these recriminations when individual beneficiaries of the welfare state, who receive individual bailouts every day, sue for more. The outrage against AIG is the triumph of politics not the rule of law
I don’t know if the pending lawsuit has any merit. But if it does, then AIG should do what is best for its shareholders, and stick its thumb in the government’s eye. After all, the government doesn’t hesitate to stick its thumb in our eyes just because it can.