Remembering 2008

We are occasionally reminded of the 2008 financial meltdown and its aftermath, and the taxpayer-funded bailouts of banks, insurance companies and an automobile manufacturer or two. The massive bailout, $633 billion approximately, was paid out to 982 entities. $633 billion went into TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program). Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac received $192 billion of that.

Of those recipients, 780 were obligated to pay back the money. The rest, totaling $29.9 billion, received direct subsidies for TARP’s housing programs.

But who’s keeping track?

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How Roseanne and AIG Are Alike

Remember way back in 2008, when the U.S. economy – in fact the whole world’s economy – was on the verge of irreparable meltdown as a result of ludicrously complicated  investment schemes concocted by an unregulated banking industry? With taxpayer bailouts totaling $182 billion, insurance behemoth American International Group (AIG) became the poster child of financial shenanigans. They eventually were shamed into canceling expensive conferences at luxury resorts, the St Regis in Dana Point CA and the Ritz-Carlton at Half Moon Bay CA. The canceled events were had been incentives for top sales producers.

Headline stories fueling outrage for AIG’s lavish spending didn’t inquire into how the independent agents selling AIG’s boring insurance products felt about having their rewards pulled. Compensation for the high-flying perpetrators of the investment schemes was not affected. No note was taken of the housekeepers or banquet servers or other staff of the resorts and the effect on them of  lost income from the canceled events.

Much news lately about the sudden cancellation of the “Roseanne” TV show after the star’s racist Twitter remark. The show’s namesake will be fine financially, as will the on-air cast. Most of them, presumably, have guaranteed contracts. Not so fortunate, however are the behind-the-scenes workers who lost their wages with no advance warning. Prop makers, set decorators and special effects workers and others expected at least nine more months of regular paychecks from the hit show which the ABC network had recently renewed for another season.

Roseanne Barr posted on Twitter, “I just want to* apologize to the hundreds of people and wonderful writers (all liberal) and talented actors who lost their jobs on my show due to my stupid tweet.” The next day she took the comment down from her Twitter account and blamed ABC for the lost jobs.

* Why do people “want to apologize” or “want to thank” or “want to” whatever else? If they want to, why not just do it without telling us they “want to?”