From last night’s All Stars.
On the AIG bonuses:
Well, I think the difference with AIG and the auto companies is that AIG has its tentacles and its loan and obligations in so many places, so many other financial institutions, so many countries, that there’s really a threat to the world economy.
That’s why it’s being rescued, not because there is a virtue or goodness among the dealers and the bankers among them. And that doesn’t apply to the auto companies.
But look, this is not so much an economic issue as a psychological and a political issue. Economically, if you add up all the bonuses, it’s less than 1/10 of one percent of the bailout to AIG alone, so it’s lunch money.
Psychologically, it’s important because there’s outrage in the country, and, as Mort indicated, unless there’s an appeasement in the anger in the population who are going to have to support the next bailout, which is going to be a trillion dollars, the money won’t be made available, Congress will deny it.
So that’s why you get the president heaping opprobrium on these miscreants who made the bad deals and now are getting the bonuses.
I’m all in favor of keeping this heaping opprobrium. I would deny them the bonuses if possible. I would be for an exemplary hanging or two. Have it in Times Square, invite Madame Defarge. You borrow a guillotine from the French and we could have a party.
If that’s what it takes to maintain popular support, let’s do it. But it’s not going to change anything economically.
On the situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan:
…they’re link because the reports are that the new strategy that will be announced shortly involves emphasizing enlisting Pakistan in the fight against extremism.
That is not exactly a new idea, and also it is an idea that may have come and gone. It worked in 2001 when Pakistan supported us in the war against — in Afghanistan, and that was decisive. But that was a strong military government that did not have the insurgency inside Pakistan that you have now.
And the weakness we saw just this week in the Pakistani presidency where he caved in to the demands of extra-parliamentary demonstrations led by the opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, who was no friend of the United States and no supporter of the war on terror, is very ominous.