Isn't socialism fun? The government now owns four-fifths of AIG, the insurance giant whose foray into complex financial contracts required a $150 billion bailout. And we may be stuck with it for years!
That's the conclusion of Fortune editor-at-large Carol Loomis, who looked into the AIG mess and concluded it may take far longer than a year to untangle all of AIG's derivative contracts. She should know: She's good friends with financial supergenius Warren Buffett, who dealt with similar if smaller-scale problems at an insurance company he owned. (She even writes the annual report for Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett's holding company. Hey, anything for a source!)
What does this mean for the rest of us? Look forward to more headlines like "AIG Spends $343,000 on Secret Seminar" — remember the Phoenix junket AIG splashed out on, in the midst of a taxpayer-funded bailout? — as the byzantine compensation practices of the insurance industry become everyone's business. Great: We get all of Warren Buffett's headaches, without the accompanying billions and billions of dollars.