Friday, March 13, 2009

AIG Insures Congress' Pensions?

I recently heard a rumor about the insurance giant AIG. The rumor goes like this...

"The reason congress was so quick to bailout AIG was that the pension funds of all congress members were covered by AIG."

I found this rumor to be flat out FALSE. Read more here and here.

Just to be clear. The pension plans of congresspeople are not insured by AIG or any other company for that matter.

The epiphany I had was in response to an action I witnessed as a direct result of this. A statement need not be true in order to have profound effects. The person from whom I heard this rumor proceeded to inform me that he had just purchased 16,000 shares of AIG stock! His faith in the long term survival of AIG had been reaffirmed. Though this bit of knowledge was in fact false it was powerful enough to spur one man to shift thousands of dollars in an instant. Imagine these results multiplied by the number of minds deceived by countless circulating e-mails.

The spreading of a rumor often outpaces the correcting force of investigative journalism. Both must be as fast as the speed of light these days.

Perhaps this false understanding of reality is beneficial. Perhaps AIG will be saved by an influx of money by wealthy people fooled by the above assertion.

In many ways this case makes an argument for the survival of religious mythologies. If the story of a God and his son be true or not whether it be the Christian father and Jesus or Odin and Thor it does not really matter. As long as the telling of the story moves real people to positive action then survival of the mythology makes sense. The problem arises when society attempts to qualify "positive action." This is a question presented anew to each living generation.

The choice made by the investor described above puts the entire financial meltdown in perspective. Any intangible financial device is made up of "make-believe" value. When it comes down to real value there are precious few items that truly make up a person's worth. To me these are health, education, and attitude. These are the qualities that lift and let down civilizations.

If you would like control over where your tax dollars flow here is an idea I had.


Anonymous said...

wow... comparing the AIG/congress rumor to the history of Christ. That's quite a leap. Keep digging on the Gospel truths. They actually do stand up. Investigate prior to forming contempt. Try reading, "The Reason for God", by Tim Keller or Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis.
Thank you for the other insight though.
"Good" makes no sense without a God.

tompainesghost said...

Thank you for your feedback :)
And thank you for challenging my beliefs. It is a most noble thing to be able to engage in calm reasoned discussion even when the topic is as emotionally charged as religion. Too often the debates turn into screaming matches where neither party can hear the other over their own voices.
I would be delighted if this entire web page turned into a melting pot of a forum where people came to be treated with respect no matter their position and could speak frankly about their convictions.
Thank you also for your reading suggestions. I will put them on my list assuredly.
Insofar as your assertion that the "gospels hold up" I do disagree quite strongly. The bible is book clearly conceived of and transcribed by a number of men over hundreds of years with numerous contradictions and even whole excerpts repeated word for word because of poor editing. Over the course of countless translations word meanings have been changed and bits of the story left out. Like a holy historical game of telephone the gospels set down in the english language for you in church are, I'm sure, very different than the story of Jesus were we able to send a video camera back in time to see what happened. But we can't do that so we have to hold debates over the portions of the gospel that can be applied to our universe 2009 years after his "birth."

Like the fact that the earth is not immovable (contrary to what the gospels claim), or that fact that creatures emerged through evolution rather than being held constant for all time in the form laid out for them by an intelligent designer (also contrary to the gospels).

Here is something that both Thomas Paine and I would agree with you on "Good makes no sense without a God."
Though I might initially disagree with this assertion and make the argument that through the study of evolutionary game theory it has been discovered that behaving well and generally being "good" is evolutionarily benificial and therefore does not require "God".

But I think that is a little mechanical and reductionist. It is too easy to rack it up to nature, there are too many nasty parts of nature. If you want to hold to your claim that "Good makes no sense wthout God" I could agree with you but, a real challenge emerges. Defining exactly what "God" is. Is "God" an anthropomorphic floating man in the sky with white robes and a male physique? Does he have male genitalia? Is he in fact a "he" according to the bible? Did Mary give him consent before he impregnated her? What was the genetic makeup of Christ? Was half his DNA ethereal stardust?

My answer to all the above questions is NO. And I think most rational people even if they were religious would agree with me. so the question remains. What is GOD?

I like Frank Loyd Wright's old adage...
“I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.”

For me this sums up my attitude toward God whoever or whatever it may be.

Anonymous said...

In response to the anonymous comment above, I disagree that good makes no sense without a god. Good can be appreciated for what is, from a quality of life perspective, god or not. What lies beyond good and evil?

Investigation??? Digging??? Stand up to what??? In terms of Atheists and religious folk debating "gospel truths" or "scientific truths" this is pointless and fruitless, so we must meet on other grounds.

Anonymous said...

Your research is good for AIG - I was going to post to friends that I knew why AIG was spared over others. Good thing I stopped by here.
And, I have to point you to Jesus - check Him out completely - much more important that some insurance company (oh, irony, heh). Someday your soul will go somewhere (what does a soul evolve from?). - make sure you know where.


Anonymous said...

A little more research on this took me here:

The top 2 Recipients, Obama and Dodd. Dodd was the guy who added in the bonus protection for execs in the stim package. Looks like they are scratching each other's backs...

tompainesghost said...

Hi Steve,
Thank you for your input and well wishes for my soul. And thanks for continuing to research this topic. It is only when people keep digging that the truth gets exposed. Taking a sound bite at face value has gotten our country into a lot of trouble during the last 9 years and I'm glad to see people starting to do the digging for themselves rather than relying on FOX news talking heads.

In response to the information on the website you provided ( I think that is great that contribution data is made public and easily accessible. the problem enters when a site cherry picks the data.

To me those numbers indicate that that AIG was basically "diversifying their political portfolio" the polls were obviously trending toward Obama so they contributed more money to Democrats so they could hold political sway during the next 4 years at least. But they also gave a quite abit to McCain on the off chance that he pulled a miracle out of his hat in the end.

The other major fact that was left out of the main text of my original piece on this matter was the fact that AIG's bailout was conceived and enacted NOT by congress but the federal reserve. And the front man - Republican Henry Paulson. So pinning all this AIG moaning on the dems is kind of unfair I would say. I am neither a democrat or republican but i would say that if you look at the reasons that the fed gave for bailing out this giant their logic was sound. I get angry with all the "sky is falling" naysayers out there that put AIG down so much. It is like the Wal mart haters. always pick on the big guy because he makes the biggest target.

tompainesghost said...

While we are talking about "open secrets" here is a lobby bigger than AIG who slant towards republicans - The American Bankers Association!

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