Wednesday, September 17, 2008

no, you've got a problem

the man who built and ran global insurance giant american international group for more than 35 years says it is in the "national interest that aig survive."

speaking in an interview on cnbc-tv, maurice "hank" greenbeg, former aig chief executive officer, said that aig is facing a liquidity problem, not a solvency problem, and that if it can't raise cash from private markets, the federal reserve should step in with a bridge loan.

"it's not a bailout; it's a cash problem," he said.

if i showed up at your door and told you that i needed a million dollars in cash and i needed it tonight — not tomorrow, but tonight, dammit — you'd probably intuit that my liquidity, my ability to raise that much money at will, or my solvency, my ability to raise that much money at all, was actually the least of my problems. you'd certainly want to know why i needed so much money so fast.

but, looking at me, digesting my unusual-to-say-the-least request, and listening to me explain that it's only a problem of liquidity ... well, you would already know the answer to that question.

and the answer, of course, is that i'd done something horribly, horribly stupid ...

it's just a liquidity problem, really.

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