Outraged at AIG? Take your spot in line. While you’re there, gawk at all of your esteemed company. First you’ll find both aisles of Congress—“This is an outrage,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will be repeating over and over again to Barney Frank, who will be murmuring about misbehavior and abuse of the system. Further ahead, you’ll find Ben Bernanke, the normally placid Fed chairman, reliving his two-time denunciation of AIG as having made “unconscionable bets” and that AIG makes him “angry.” And even further ahead will be the three-headed Sumnerbama hydra, breathing populist fire until it runs out of gas—an “outrage,” spat the hydra on Monday.
At the front of the line, of course, you’ll find your place with the rest of the American hordes. Pitchforks and torches in hand, we’re all ready to skewer AIG—but for what? This week’s two galling pieces of news—that the company is paying out more employee bonuses and that it sent billions in bailout money to other banks—are so confusing and were revealed in such quick succession that it’s hard to figure out why we’re supposed to be pissed off. To help, The Big Money assembled this primer on what is and isn’t worth getting outraged over.
Chadwick Matlin is the staff reporter for The Big Money. He can be reached at Chadwick.Matlin@gmail.com .