|By The Kansas City Star|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
The reason AIG hasn't been much in the news is because the news of AIG has been remarkably good. The company, which at one point was propped up by a
AIG was only one of many companies to which cash was shoveled four years ago, when it looked as if the entire global financial system was at risk. But it was AIG that seemed to generate the greatest public resentment.
Small wonder. Days after taxpayers anted up billions to save the company, AIG executives took off for a "retreat" at an exclusive resort, where AIG spent half a million dollars on hotel rooms, catered banquets, and perks like manicures and massages.
Federal Reserve Chairman
The galling reality of the AIG action meant that, indirectly, taxpayers bailed out the likes of
Under new management, AIG has modernized its core insurance business, sold assets and clawed its way back to profitability. Earlier this year, a
Many still argue that AIG should have been allowed to collapse so that the timeless lesson of excessive risk could be driven home to those culpable. But as Bernanke recognized, the risk of allowing AIG to collapse might also have set off a market disaster far greater than the one that destroyed the assets and hopes of so many people.
We'll never know the answer to that one; we'll never get a definitive accounting of the bailout's costs and benefits, because we can't know what would have happened in the absence of a bailout. Still, this is one chapter of the story that is ending unexpectedly well.
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