When Treasure Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and the Fed chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, convened a meeting with House and Senate leaders on Capitol Hill last night to discuss giving AIG an unprecedented $85 billion loan, do you think they had a laugh about AIG’s commercials? We picture Paulson saying something like, “Ha, ha, ha… ‘strength to be there.’ That’s rich! Rich! Ha! I’m on a roll!”
Each spot features precocious little urchins discussing topics like “risk management” (ha!) and their parent’s perceived personal finance failures until eventually the name of AIG is invoked as a salve to soothe their worried minds. Each commercial ends with AIG’s tagline “The strength to be there.” We saw these running as recently as Sunday, two days before you, the taxpayer, bailed the company out with 85 billion of your dollars.