Martin Bashir | January 08, 2013
>>> as children we're taught to say please and thank you, but maybe someone over at aig only got half that lesson because to our astonishment, this morning in "the new york times" the multinational insurance giant, which accepted a bailout of $182 billion, is now considering a lawsuit against the very government and the very taxpayers who saved its very existence. the mind reels at such an epic act of ingratitude. it goes beyond the lack of mirepoix lightnemere politeness. in the words of one top lawmaker, it would be like suing the paramedic who gave you cpr because he forgot to provide you with a pillow. we're joined by representative elijah cummings , democrat of maryland and ranking member of the house oversight committee . good afternoon, sir. you were the one that made that analogy between aig and the paramedic. i point out that the american people gave a lifeline to this firm and this is what the taxpayer gets in return, a lawsuit?
>> basically what we got, martin, was a slap in the face , too. the fact is that aig was drowning. they came to the united states government for a loan to save them. as you said, we gave them $182 billion, and basically they had a choice, either they accept the loan of $182 billion or they go in to bankruptcy and basically what would have happened is the very shareholders who will be deciding tomorrow to sue the united states government would have shares of stock that would be worthless. it's just amazing to me that they would do this. but, again, this has been their attitude all along. don't forget, martin, this is the same group that gave their employees bonuses, the same one that is caused all the problems.
>> absolutely, why not? there are now some aig shareholders who are bringing a $25 billion suit against the government because they claim the terms of the bailout were too onerous.
>> i guess they'd have preferred bankruptcy instead of the bailout?
>> well, the fact is that -- you know, it's funny. they asked for the loan. they were very grateful for the loan. we helped them get through this very difficult crisis, even when they kind of, you know, just slapped us in the face by going on these junkets and having a good time while my constituents were suffering and losing almost everything they had and then they turn around and do this. it is an insult to every single taxpayer in america.
>> "the ig expose on banks and the financial industry in general, and the author of that article appeared recently on " morning joe ," and here is what he had to say about curbing wall street greed. take a listen, sir.
>> bankers have to go to prison when they are reckless --
>> we have not had a single major banker go to prison in the wake of the financial crisis and i think there were substantial wrong doings.
>> that's the truth, isn't it, sir? the financial crisis have devastated the lives of millions of people in this country. why hasn't one of them been held criminally responsible?
>> that's a good question, and we've asked that question many times in the oversight and government reform committee and we still haven't gotten a decent answer. i can tell you, martin, when i hear about some of the greed and the outright wrongdoing that took place on wall street , it is very painful because then i look at people in my neighborhood, if somebody stole a bike, a $300 bike, they go to jail.
>> of course. now, you're the ranking member of the house oversight committee , of course. it's chairman, daryl isa, is famous for his witch hunts against the white house . how come you guys don't come up and open an investigation into this foreclosure settlement we've been hearing about over the last two days?
>> well, one of the things we did try to do, and i must give chairman issa credit, he and i wrote a letter friday asking them not to go forward with this settlement. this is one of the things we did jointly. asked them not to go forward with it until we had an opportunity as a congress and as a committee to review the terms of that agreement, and they basically said, no, we're going on and we're going to do it no matter what, and that's been their attitude all along unfortunately. this deal that they came up with, martin, is one which i think is probably going to be unfair to a lot of people who lost their homes. keep in mind, we've got a settlement that totals about $10 billion, and basically it will never compensate a lot of these folks who lost their homes illegally through these banks. and so the banks easily get off. they pay $10 billion, which is a drop in the bucket for them h while these homeowners are left to gather -- to at most maybe $125,000. most of them will average somewhere around $2,000.
>> and it will do absolutely nothing to prevent the kind of fraudulent practices that have marked the recent activities of so many of these banks.
>> thanks to representative elijah cummings . thank you, sir.
>> good to be with you, martin.
>> thank you.
>>> coming up, the return of late night comedy. our "top lines" are just ahead.
>> here is the thing, if you guys can't vote for this, then we're [ bleep ] for the next two years. i'm not saying you're responsible for all the problems facing our country but you sure are making them a lot harder to fix. [