A lot of people are wondering what to think about the news that the board of AIG is considering joining the lawsuit filed by former AIG head Maurice "Hank" Greenberg against the Fed and the U.S. government – a suit that one news outlet describes as charging the state with handing out an "insufficiently generous bailout."
The editorial in today's Daily News captures the public feeling over this confusing news story quite well, I think:
If chutzpah were a crime, Hank Greenberg, American International Group's former chief, would be going away for a long, long time.
Long since driven out of AIG, Greenberg is waging a lawsuit claiming the U.S. hurt the firm's shareholders — including him — when the government rescued the insurance giant with the most humongous bailout of all time.
If you just read the headlines, the story that AIG is considering suing the government for bailing it out makes no sense at all. What could even be the basis for such a suit? One reader asked the question this way: "If a cop bursts into a motel room and stops you just as you're about to blow your head off with a shotgun, can you sue him? If the answer is yes, should I try it?"
Former bailout inspector Neil Barofsky put it this way, in an interview with Bloomberg: "The idea that AIG would have been better off by going bankrupt, for the shareholders is a very, very hard thing to sell, I think."
But here's the funny thing about the lawsuit filed against the government: It isn't all wrong. In fact, parts of it are quite on the mark.
The only problem is, the suit is being filed by maybe the biggest douchebag of all time, Hank Greenberg (and his company, Starr International), a man who has not only been proven to be corrupt and a fraud, but who perhaps more than anyone else was responsible for the galactic balance-sheet goat-fuck that caused AIG's implosion in the first place.