December 10th, 2009
04:45 PM ET
6 years ago

Geithner defends AIG bailout

Treasury Secretary Geithner defended the federal government's bailout of AIG on Capitol Hill Thursday.

Treasury Secretary Geithner defended the federal government's bailout of AIG on Capitol Hill Thursday.

WASHINGTON ( - Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said on Thursday that he had no choice but to pay top dollar to business partners of troubled insurer AIG to avert a deeper financial panic last year.

Geithner defended regulators' actions to prop up American International Group (AIG, Fortune 500) with $62.1 billion that was essentially funneled to 16 banks that were counterparties to AIG insurance contracts.

"I don't understand why this is so complicated," Geithner told the Congressional Oversight Panel at a hearing on Capitol Hill. "You either prevent default, because default would be cataclysmic – or you don't. If you selectively default on any, the thing will come crashing down."

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Filed under: AIG • TARP • Timothy Geithner
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. annie against biased news

    Which is worse aig failing or the government destroying our republic?

    December 10, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  2. everyone

    shouild have baile dout he american people and reduced thier debt.

    December 10, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  3. No More Incumbents

    Dodd said it was a good thing so it has to be true...........

    December 10, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  4. Mainer

    "I don't understand why this is so complicated"

    He'd understand if he DID pay his taxes.

    December 10, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  5. Jenn, Philadelphia

    Interesting choice of word "default". When it looks like this country might default on the deficit by exceeding the debt ceiling what is Nancy Pelonsi's solution? Let's rais the ceiling. I have a better idea. Let's curb the spending. Then maybe we could actually start lowering the ceiling.

    December 10, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  6. Gonzo in Houston

    This is ridiculous. If we hadn't propped up AIG it would have defaulted on its huge collection of CDS (Credit Default Swaps). Several thousand major financial deals would have been automatically voided upon such a default. The dominos would have fallen, and it would have been 1928 all over again.

    I didn't like the bailouts, but I had sense enough to recognize that they were the only option we had. Now that we're back from the edge of the abyss the people who largely caused the disaster are second-guessing the people who saved all our hides.

    December 10, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  7. I, the Person

    What Mr. Geithner actually doesn't understand is not "why this is so complicated" but rather why it is so simple. Allow me to try and explain it to him: after ripping off non-wealthy, non-ruling class for decades, wealthy, ruling class steals even more cash from non-wealthy, non-ruling class, which results in wealthy, ruling class becoming even wealthier and rulier, and non-wealthy, non-ruling class becoming even non-wealthier and non-rulier.

    Any questions, Mr. G?

    December 10, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  8. Joe M

    This guy is one of the biggest crooks ever to hit Washington...

    December 10, 2009 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  9. Steve Lyons

    Geithner needs to be indicted and convicted for abusing the public trust and using taxpayer funds to pay off his political and financial allies AT TAXPAYER EXPENSE. He's a crook and a thief of the worst kind. I'd seek the death penalty for his financial crimes against humanity.

    December 10, 2009 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  10. JES

    I didn't cause their problems so why should I help bail them out.

    I wish everyone of would stop spending my tax dollars and balance the budget like we have to with our own.

    December 10, 2009 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  11. Preston kathy

    Pwm we need a raise in are social security im working on a job and my pension we had to cut backjust to make it

    December 11, 2009 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  12. Preston kathy

    Pkm the bosses will still get a hugh bonus

    December 11, 2009 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
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