A Salt Lake Tribune poll on the new bailout of AIG which seeks to ascertain public opinion is a classic example of media manipulation. It may well be unintentional or unwitting, but the effect is the same: To promote a desired response. The poll is displayed on the Tribune's News page, or can be directly accessible HERE.
Here is the poll question, and the responses current as of 11:35 A.M. MST on March 3rd, 2009:
Question: The troubled mega-insurer AIG lost $61.7 billion in the fourth quarter and now gets an additional $30 billion in federal aid. Good idea or just waste of the taxpayers' hard-earned money?
Total Votes So Far: 164
-- Good idea, the company is doing a great job and deserves a reward: 0.609 percent
-- A necessary thing to do, that company is too important to let it die: 6.097 percent
-- Probably worth doing even though no one knows if that extra cash can help: 14.02 percent
-- A complete waste, those "experts" will simply squander more money: 79.26 percent
But read the choices closely. Three of them promote a "Yes" response, while only one answer promotes a "No" response. Now why would a newspaper poll promote three "Yes" responses and only "No" response?
The answer is simple. The Tribune, at the very least, is allowing themselves to be co-opted by the Obama Administration and the financial elite, who desperately want to prop up a failing system. The elite know the financial system is in terminal condition, but they want to suck Americans' assets dry before they allow it to fold. Thus the first three answers on this poll are "Yes" answers in the hopes that respondents would not bother to read all four answers before responding, increasing the chances that respondents would select one of the "Yes" answers.
The tactic failed miserably. An overwhelmingly majority saw through the scheme and chose the No answer - 79 percent, to be precise. If this poll had been intended to solicit an honest appraisal of public opinion, it would have been structured as follows:
(1). A simple Yes-No choice.
(2). Three choices: Yes, No, and a "Maybe" answer.
(3). Four choices: Absolute "Yes", conditional "Yes", conditional "No", and absolute "No".
Why is it that so many people voted "No"? Perhaps it's because AIG has been previously bailed out. According to CNNMoney, in September 2008, the Feds first extended an $85 billion emergency loan to AIG. In addition, the Feds pushed the New York-based insurer to sell pieces of its business to repay its loan commitments. The elite regaled us with apocalyptic tales of doom and gloom if this wasn't done, and promised us this would solve the problem.
But guess what? A tough economic environment combined with a weakened appetite among potential buyers has hampered those efforts. So far, the company has managed to shed just a few divisions including Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection, as well as its stake in the Brazilian bank Unibanco. Now they're asking us for another $30 billion, and the payment will come from the second half of the $700 billion rescue package enacted last fall, even though some insiders are actually questioning whether this will be enough.
"I would expect to see the $30 billion used and then it is a question mark," said Donald Light, senior analyst at the Boston-based financial research and consulting firm Celent. "I think everyone is being pretty careful to say what is going to happen over time." Watch this YouTube video of a March 2nd CBS report:
Wonderful. So the Feds are preparing to bet $30 billion of OUR money on a "question mark". Doesn't this remind you of a deadbeat relative who you allow to stay with you temporarily, just long enough to get back on his feet, but every month he comes up with another excuse to continue leeching off of you? If this doesn't work, are they going to come back and ask us for yet ANOTHER $30 billion three months from now?
Those who favor propping up AIG support their arguments by claiming that the collapse of the firm would have had disastrous consequences for the entire financial system. They cite the fact that AIG does business in more than 130 countries, employs 116,000 people, and oversees roughly 74 million insurance policies as proof of its criticality. Edward Liddy, AIG's chairman and CEO, said that Monday's actions were necessary to tame fears that the insurer's customers and business relationships are at risk. "We need to keep some confidence in the system," he said in an interview with CNN. "What the Fed is doing through AIG is taking every step possible to keep confidence in the financial system." And the Feds themselves weighed in. "Given the systemic risk AIG continues to pose and the fragility of markets today, the potential cost to the economy and the taxpayer of government inaction would be extremely high," the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve said.
The new rescue plan does offer one significant difference over the previous measure. It would help AIG conserve much-needed capital by, among other things, lowering the interest rate it pays on its government loans. However, this gambit would only save AIG $1 billion. But the company lost $61.7 billion in 4Q2008 alone, and $99 billion for the entire year.
Under these cirumstances, $1 billion is chump change. This scheme will not work. AIG is dying - the Feds simply don't want to take it off life support yet. Warren Buffett not only believes there'll be no recovery in 2009, but also that we have yet to hit bottom. Gerald Celente, who previously forecast revolution, food riots, and tax rebellion by 2012, believes the "greatest depression" is already underway. And bank runs are already taking place in Ukraine.
I believe the Obama Administration knows what's coming, and is merely throwing more bailout money at AIG and others to buy enough time to assemble and deploy as many resources as possible to try and control the effects of a complete economic collapse. This is why they're pushing these bailouts so relentlessly.