Grab some popcorn.
AIG, the insurance behemoth that took billions in taxpayer funds as a bailout, got a CEO in 2009 named Robert Benmosche. He said this in Washington:
"All of the states where we’re a leader, where we’re the No. 1 insurer, are red states, all of the states where we’re at the bottom are blue states," Benmosche, 66, said yesterday at a conference in Washington. "Part of what we found out is that our model is about culture and it’s about the attitude in the public. And what we find is where there’s more of a tendency for people to be more liberal, more that the government is responsible for what happens to me."
"If AIG, whose reckless behavior resulted in a $182 billion taxpayer bailout, prefers to do business in Republican states, then the next time they go bankrupt, I hope they don’t ask taxpayers in Vermont and other Democratic-leaning states for another bailout," Senator Bernard Sanders, a Vermont independent, said today.
Can anyone put it better than that?
Quite an overtly and probably unnecessarily political framing of a mortgage client model by Benmosche.
A bit more:
Benmosche oversees an insurer propped up by more than $40 billion in government capital while competing mortgage guarantors operate without U.S. Treasury Department assistance. The housing crisis prompted rival MGIC Investment Corp. to scale back in 2008 in Arizona, a so-called red, or Republican-leaning state, and in California, known as a blue state for favoring Democrats.
Benmosche’s remarks were "breathtakingly hypocritical," said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the senior Democrat on the Financial Services Committee.
"If you want to talk about Red and Blue states, the leader of the Red states, George W. Bush, had to come to the rescue and bail AIG out," Frank said.
Homeowner defaults pushed U.S. mortgage insurers into losses in 2007 as property prices plummeted and foreclosure sales failed to recoup money owed to banks. AIG’s United Guaranty business had more than $4 billion in losses in the three years ended Dec. 31, 2009.
The oddest part of all of this is that one of the biggest recipients of our taxpayer dollars is now led by this guy. I'm used to correcting my teabagging roommate that California sends more tax receipts to D.C. than it gets back in federal funding (teabaggers think we're a 'welfare state'), but this Benmosche guy? Blaming "liberals" for the mortgage crisis, either directly or indirectly? And I'm not a real estate expert (save for 16 months working with foreclosures), but if you look at Southern California....a lot of the foreclosures are in DARK RED areas like Orange County, Riverside, San Bernandino, the High Desert, Antelope Valley, and San Diego County. A quick google search gave me RealtyTrac's numbers for new foreclosures in Dec 2010. This hardly counts as exhaustive research, but let's see what we have here:
LA: 12, 807
Orange county: 3504
San Bernandino: 5.806
San Diego: 4,813
Looks like some folks in 'red' cities aren't paying their mortgage. We better check their voter registration. They're probably liberals, eh?