Do you wonder what the insurance giant AIG is doing with its $150 billion-with-a-b in taxpayer bailout money? Well, this is what showed up in my mailbox today. Thick cardboard stock, high-gloss finish, about 8x10 and cut out in pretty, ocean-y shapes. Trust me, this scan doesn't do it justice.
These things cost a bundle, maybe $10 each counting design, production, materials, die-cutting and mailing. What's the message here? Is AIG telling me my mortgage is now "underwater," as they say in the foreclosure biz?
Nope. AIG, the first "too big to fail" taxpayer welfare recipient, was flogging its "Private Client" insurance services.
On the other side is a photo of a diamond bracelet and this text:
"Sentimental Value Is Not Lost: A policyholder was on her boat at the marina when her diamond bracelet--a gift to commemorate the birth of her child--fell off her wrist and into the water. Rather than simply pay the claim, AIG Private Client Group ... hired a professional diver who recovered it."
Where to start? I don't have jewels, much less a yacht, and I don't think AIG would have hired a chaser to grab the little thug who stole the spare tire and a zip-lock bag of bead earrings from my car while i was buying bagels.
How did this diamonds-and-yachts ad come to my peeling stucco cottage's mailbox? How many thousands did they mail out? If I'm getting it, that means AIG is buying some seriously bloated national mailing lists, and you, the taxpayer, are at least indirectly footing the bill.
And Henry Paulson thinks that these companies don't need any more oversight.