A new survey by Democracy Corps and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, completed shortly after reports about insurance giant AIG paying out millions in bonuses to its top executives, shows voters overwhelmingly blaming AIG management for the mess and not President Obama. The ordeal has proved to voters that we need greater government regulation of the financial industry, but also that government may be incapable of preventing this type of wasteful spending.
A healthy majority of voters place the blame on AIG management while nearly a third also blames Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner for the scandal. Just one-in-ten voters place blame on President Obama, demonstrating that this was no “Katrina moment,” with respect to the president, as suggested by Frank Rich. The scandal has simultaneously convinced voters that we need greater government oversight over the financial industry and that the federal government is incapable of preventing the kind of wasteful spending demonstrated by AIG, though a much larger majority, nearly 7-in-ten voters, say the bonuses demonstrate the need for tighter regulation. If this were a “Katrina moment,” it was only on the need for government to balance the excesses of the private sector.