Actually a very productive day; shoe repair, laundry, emissions, grocery and bank and then, a few hours spent watching the committee grill Edward Liddy, the CEO of AIG.
Overall impression of Mr. Liddy is that he was extremely professional, intelligent, and forthright in his answers. He made a decision and maybe it wasn’t the right one–and maybe it will prove to be just that in the end–and it was bound to raise the ire of the majority of the U.S. in that not only had they put up tax dollars to pay AIG folks great sums of money, but worse, that money just reminded everyone how some people make so much more money than they do. And if possible, even worse than that, the people getting the money weren’t ballplayers or movie stars.
Some of the committee members, although outraged themselves, found the grace to comprehend that Mr. Liddy was put into a very difficult situation to do a job and fix a dying conglomerate, gratis, and they asked good, tough questions. Some didn’t seem to do anything more than try to assure their voters that they were righteously irate. Some didn’t have a clue what was going on. Some sounded dumber than I would have in their comprehension and focus.
And some honestly didn’t know what was going on: like the Fed Reserve’s knowledge of the compensation payments months earlier; or Dodd’s closed meetings wherein maybe someone took out a clause that would have prevented those payments. I was glad to see Barney Franks suggest that the stockholders–in fact, the taxpayers and the government acting in that capacity–possibly was the way to try to recoup the money in that their investments were seriously depleted by the same executives who were rewarded so handsomely. It’s just what I’ve been saying all along and so much more honest than coming up with a cockamamie 90% tax rate.
All in all, it was a very interesting view of the process at work.