My nominee for jerk of the day at CNBC for Thursday is Michelle Cabruso-Cabrera for scoffing at the idea that notions of right and wrong might have some role in the discussion of what went on at AIG. Everyone on Power Lunch had agreed that scapegoating the AIG executives who got the big bonuses was a bad idea, however, Steve Liesman suggested (at the 3:50 mark) that there might be legitimate reasons to examine the situation more closely.
Liesman: There is one purpose that I think President Obama talked about—a new era of business executives having certain values that are, how do you say this, take into consideration those of society in general.
Liesman: You know what Michelle, you can laugh at that, but when you have a situation where these guys are happy to take as much as they want, as much as they’re given, and maybe it’s not the right thing to do, I think there is something to be said for it.
Cabruso-Cabrera: All this right and wrong, morality play, you’re going down a very dangerous path.
What about the path that we have already gone down Michelle?
The AIG Financial Products unit wrote insurance in the form of credit default swaps on $2.7 trillion dollars in bonds without establishing any reserves in case it had to make good on those contracts. Isn't this something that we can talk about in terms of right and wrong? Does the fact that they were able to get away with it absolve the executives of any responsibility?