Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Enough is (Never) Enough
"People criticize me for being on vacation. I actually started work a week before I was actually supposed to."
-- Robert Benmosche, new CEO of AIG, which was bailed out with taxpayer money to the tune of $182 billion, from his villa and vineyard on the Adriatic where he spent the first few weeks on the job telecommuting in shorts and flip-flops; Benmosche is already threatening to quit because of government oversight which, among other things, will restrict his pay to a mere $3 million a year (not including $7.5 million in stock options and bonuses)
Back in September, AIG's board turned down Benmosche's request to use a company-owned private jet for personal business; the board told him that he'd need an exemption from the Treasury Department.
This caused him to go on a public tirade against U.S. lawmakers.
Time to bring back this little piece from last March...
"Get Rich and Die Tryin'" (Originally Published, 3.16.09)
***OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT: "Wide World of Justice" Presented by ESPN, Spike TV, and the Bloomberg Financial Network***
(The following is the property of the above networks and may not be reproduced or rebroadcast in any way without the express written consent of the owners.)
Intro Music: Ministry's Thieves
Frank: Good evening, everybody -- and welcome to another exciting edition of "Wide World of Justice," presented by ESPN, Spike and of course, the Bloomberg Financial Network. I'm Frank Flotsam.
Todd: And I'm Todd Jetsam, thanks so much for being here -- and what a show we have for you tonight.
Frank: You got that right, Todd. Tonight, the we bring a little street justice to a man who we think has really earned it -- because Lord knows he didn't earn the 165-million dollars in bonus money, funded by you the taxpayer, that he just handed out to his executives at AIG.
Todd: Of course we're talking about tonight's guest of honor -- AIG Chairman Edward Liddy.
Frank: And here he comes now!
(Chorus of boos can be heard from the crowd; screams, shouts, and obscenities)
Todd: Oh, they don't like him very much, Frank.
Frank: No they don't, Todd.
Todd: Now Mr. Liddy is being led through the crowd here in front of the New York Stock Exchange -- he's in a steel cage that's been placed on top of a wooden cart being pulled by a specially selected group of Wall Street Journal op-ed columnists. It's a good thing he's in that cage too, because it looks like the crowd doesn't want to wait for the show to begin -- they want blood right now!
Frank: Unfortunately, since the Journal people aren't protected, they're pretty much fair game and, am I seeing this correctly? Yes, speaking of which, it looks like the angry mob has already dragged away Stephen Moore, the senior economics writer for the Wall Street Journal, and if I'm not mistaken... wait... yes, that's his head we're seeing being tossed around like a beach ball.
Todd: Right you are, Frank. I recognize those stupid little glasses. Not a very dignified way for a Wall Street Journal reporter to go out.
Frank: Guess that's one "deadline" he had no trouble meeting (laughs)!
Todd: (Laughs) You better believe it. Okay, now it looks like we're just about ready to begin here -- and not a moment too soon. The crowd here is going absolutely crazy. They're throwing... what is that? Frank, what is that they're throwing at the cage containing Edward Liddy?
Frank: Oh my God -- they're throwing their tax returns at him!
Todd: Well, I'd say they're ready to give him the ultimate "retirement party," eh Frank?
Frank: Yessiree, Todd. Okay, the cage has been opened and Liddy is now being escorted up the steps of the Stock Exchange and to the platform. He's being led by police, and of course by the cast of The Real Housewives of Orange County -- who themselves will be put to death by honey-and-fire-ants a little later today at the after-party for this event. What do you think, Todd -- you think the ants will eat through collagen and silicone?
Todd: (Laughs) Well, we'll see, my friend.
Frank: Indeed we will!
Todd: Alright, Liddy has now been walked to the middle of the platform. The crowd still going wild here. He's been chained to a large wooden pole in the center of the platform, and now the executioner -- or as we call him, ironically, the "executor" -- is making sure Liddy's bonds are nice and tight.
Frank: Edward Liddy and strong bonds? Now that's funny. But if I can say, Todd -- Liddy looks absolutely terrified.
Todd: Yes, not the kind of Wall Street welcome he's used to.
Frank: The microphone is now being brought in so that Edward Liddy can speak a few final words before we give him the old 401 K.O. He seems to be struggling against the chains. Alright, let's listen in.
(The crowd noise dies, there's the sound of feedback, then silence for a moment.)
Liddy: No! We had to do it! We were required by law to pay out the 165-million in bonuses to our executives! WE HAD TO RETAIN TALENT!
(The mob begins shouting at him.)
Frank: (Laughing) Sorry, pal -- I just don't think that's gonna fly with these taxpayers.
Todd: 170-billion dollars for AIG in a citizen-funded bailout -- and remember, this is a company that lost 61-billion dollars last quarter, and he's trying to make the case that there's talent that needs to be held onto? And it's going to cost 165-million of our hard-earned cash?
Frank: You know what we say to that, right Todd?
Frank and Todd: FUCK HIM! (Laughter)
Todd: Obviously, the executor not swayed by Liddy's pleas for understanding and leniency, to say nothing of more money from Congress.
Frank: Nope -- the executor now grabbing his ax with both hands. It looks like we could be just seconds away from the end, here. This one could be over fairly quickly.
Todd: But wait! No, he's dropped the ax and is reaching for... what is that? IT'S A 2X4 COVERED IN BARBED WIRE! Oh, he's going to make this one last. And now he's -- yes, he's LIGHTING IT ON FIRE!
Frank: Look at the look of fear in Liddy's eyes. The crowd is just loving every minute of this. It makes sense when you think about it, I mean, when they leave here it's not like they're going anywhere since they're jobless and their homes have been foreclosed on.
Todd: Makes for a very angry audience, Frank. They're chanting "justice" now, over and over. Listen to that.
Frank: And the executor is raising the flaming 2X4 and...OH, he brings it down hard on Liddy's head. That is not a pretty sight. For you parents with small children watching in the store window of Best Buy because you don't have homes, I really hope you covered the eyes of the little ones. This is not for the faint of heart.
Todd: And Liddy has now slumped against the pole, but he's still bound remember. He doesn't seem to be dead -- just stunned.
Frank: Yeah, about as stunned as America was when it found it that it'd have to foot the bill for this guy's incompetence and excesses (laughs).
Todd: And the executor has now stepped aside and is letting the rabid throng attack Liddy. My God, they're crawling onto the platform and are giving him paper cuts with their pink slips. Oh the humanity -- he's screaming in agony. Someone's poured what looks like battery acid on him. Yes, his flesh is melting away.
Frank: And -- wait. Is that an alligator?
Todd: It's a madhouse! A madhouse!
Frank: We'd better "bail out" before the bitter end finally comes, folks. But we want to thank you for watching tonight.
Todd: Please join us next week when our "guest of honor" will be none other than CNBC's Rick Santelli!
Frank: Until then, from the both of us here live at the burned and bloodied front of the New York Stock Exchange, this is "Wide World of Justice." Have a great night!
Todd: Good night, everybody! (Barely Audible: Holy shit, was that his leg?)
Outro Music: Notorious BIG's Mo' Money, Mo' Problems.