Well, we’re done being surprised by any news from the financial crisis by now…but the latest on insurance giant AIG boggles even the jaded mind.
Just a couple of snapshots:
AIG reports a $61 billion loss for the fourth quarter of 2008 — that’s roughly one billion dollars for every business day during those three months;
This loss coincides with the company receiving the largest federal bailout ($150 billion) in U.S. history;
To put that figure in perspective, the inflation-adjusted figure for the Marshall Plan — which rebuilt Europe after World War II — was $115 billion.
The Dow Jones, by the way, is trading at around 6900 this morning — spooked by bank troubles in Europe, the anemic growth reports from the U.S., and perhaps now the AIG mess.
Other news this morning: Schools are shut up and down the East Coast, nearly a foot or so of snow is piling up in Washington, DC, New York, and Boston, air traffic is a mess, and a remarkable snow-induced snarl has tied up I-85 in North Carolina (remarkable because snow doesn’t usually snarl anything in March, in the Carolinas). And — as our Northeast editor pointed out this morning — there’s a significant cost associated with the storm, and it’s a cost that city and state governments are having difficulty bearing.
Other news: It’s Kansas Governor Kathleen Sibelius for Secretary of Health and Human Services…consumer spending takes a suprising tick upwards for January…a pair of NFL players are among those missing after a fishing expedition off Florida’s Gulf Coast…and — a different, non-financial number that caught our attention today — a global survey founds that 6 per cent of people on this planet have a cell phone account.