The New York Times
March 4, 2009
Americans awoke to the news on Monday that federal officials had spent yet another feverish weekend concocting yet another bailout. This time, the Obama Treasury Department — sounding a lot like the Bush Treasury Department — promised another $30 billion to the American International Group, the giant insurer.
[efoods]It was the fourth time since September that taxpayers have been called upon to rescue A.I.G. from collapse. It brings the bailout commitment for that one company to some $160 billion.
In a joint statement with the Federal Reserve on Monday, the Treasury justified the move, saying that “the potential cost to the economy and the taxpayer of government inaction would be extremely high.”
That’s a textbook rationale for any bailout. What no one is saying — the Bush folks wouldn’t, and the Obama team seems to have taken the same vow of Wall Street omertà — is which firms would be most threatened by an A.I.G. collapse. The Treasury and the Federal Reserve noted in their statement that A.I.G. is a “significant counterparty to a number of major financial institutions.”
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