After insurance giant AIG reported the biggest quarterly loss in history — $61.7 billion to be exact — the government is ready to give them another $30 billion to help maintain their operations. In addition the government is restructuring past bailout deals to ease the burden on AIG. This new $30 billion will bring the total bailout tab to around $180 billion. That is, and should be, a difficult number to swallow. We will have invested $180 billion in ONE company. There are only two U.S. companies that even have market caps above $180 billion (Exxon and Walmart). AIG’s market cap is about $1.2 billion, in case you were wondering.
I’d like to say I thought this would be the last bailout for AIG, but if I did I’d be lying. Right now we are simply plugging holes in AIG with taxpayer dollars, and once the $30 billion gets used up they are going to come crawling back for more. The worst part is after we have already invested $180 billion, how are we going to say no to a few billion more? What will the final tally be when all is said and done? Your guess is as good as mine.
Matthew Karnitschnig from the Wall Street Journal wrote a good blog post that goes over some of the restructuring pieces included as part of the latest bailout. If you want to become more depressed about this whole situation then you are right now, I’d encourage you to read it. Here is the link: http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2009/03/02/aig-the-rest-of-the-story/