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Executives from AIG bail out on reality

October 09, 2008

At first, I was outraged. Then, the outrage faded into admiration.

Just last week, fresh off their colossal failure and $85 billion taxpayer bailout, 70 of AIG's top executives flew to an exclusive, palatial resort in Monarch Beach, Calif., and ran up a $440,000 tab, including $200,000 for rooms, $150,000 for food and $23,000 for spa treatments.

Spa treatments? Yeah, I guess ruining the American economy is hard work. I can see why you would want to work out a few kinks.

Nice to know they're putting our bailout money to good use.

But instead of facials, I would think they would be better off spending it on plastic surgery so they would never be recognized in public again.

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"They were getting their manicures, their pedicures, massages, their facials while the American people were paying their bills," Rep. Elijah E. Cummings growled.

"Less than a week after the taxpayers rescued AIG, company executives could be found wining and dining at one of the most exclusive resorts in the nation," Rep. Henry Waxman said.

I know, I know, it looks bad, but after thinking it over, you have to appreciate their ability to put reality aside and take the offensive.

After all, that's how they got to where they are in the first place - by doing something totally and utterly stupid. That's what AIG stands for - Amazingly Ignorant Guys.

What, all of a sudden you were expecting them to step up and do something responsible? Dream on.

One of the executives, testifying on Capitol Hill, said that he really and truly didn't see how they could have done things any differently.

No? Well let me tell you what. I have the IQ of an oyster. I write gibberish for a living. I go home every day and shovel horse manure out of a stall. But I think I might have some teensy-weensy idea of how I might have done things differently.

For example, I might not have insured housing loans that had been made to unemployed drug addicts. That might have been a start. And that guy in finance dressed in a pointy hat and cape with stars and crescent moons on it? I might not have listened to him when he said he could spin legal documents into gold.

Really, what did these guys get their degrees in, "Animal House"? They learn that they all failed their exams and they look at each other and say, "There's only one thing to do: road trip."

They hear they're going to be kicked off campus and they jump up and down shouting, "To-ga, To-ga, Toga."

Anyone who wonders how we got into this mess, here is your answer. This is the Wall Street mind-set. "We've completely blown it - let's throw ourselves a half-million-dollar party."

I'm just thanking heaven that these aren't the type of people we count on every day to clean our teeth or change our oil.

Can you imagine how this would play out in the operating room?

"Uh, doctor, you just amputated the wrong leg."

"Oh. Bummer. Aw what the heck, let's amputate a couple of arms, YEE-HAW!"

But at least now the adults are in control. At least we now can count on the politicians on Capitol Hill to take charge and set things back on the proper ...

... Oh, who am I kidding? We're screwed.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or by e-mail at timr@herald-mail.com.

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