"Either In the Pocket of the Banks or Incompetent"

by: David Sirota

Fri Apr 17, 2009 at 11:05

On the same day that the New York Times reports that Obama auto czar Steve Rattner has become embroiled in an SEC corruption investigation, we get this declaration by one of the most well-respected progressive voices in the world:

The Obama administration's bank- rescue efforts will probably fail because the programs have been designed to help Wall Street rather than create a viable financial system, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said.

"All the ingredients they have so far are weak, and there are several missing ingredients," Stiglitz said in an interview yesterday. The people who designed the plans are "either in the pocket of the banks or they're incompetent."

The Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, isn't large enough to recapitalize the banking system, and the administration hasn't been direct in addressing that shortfall, he said. Stiglitz said there are conflicts of interest at the White House because some of Obama's advisers have close ties to Wall Street.

Stiglitz is reiterating a truth that he and many of us have been saying for months now - a truth that Obama partisans still somehow see as unacceptable to talk about. Typically, those who publicly make these kinds of statements are berated as illegitimate and/or uneducated - as if they somehow don't understand the Secret Pony Plan the Obama administration is really pushing with its no-string-attached bailouts.

But it's hard to argue that a Nobel Prize-winning progressive ecoomimst like Stiglitz isn't legitimate or educated. Indeed, it's hard to argue that he's wrong, considering his independence and his record. When someone like him blows the whistle, we should all listen.

David Sirota :: "Either In the Pocket of the Banks or Incompetent"

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We absolutely must listen. (4.00 / 1)
And then we should also speak, and loudly. Seems to me that that's our job, to push for the best outcome.

I'm still not clear, though, on what the best possible outcome is--and of course that's a very different thing.

If anyone has link to a discussion of that sort, I'd be v. interested.

The world is neither complex or grey (4.00 / 1)
It's very clear what the outcome is. Stop being confused by the obvious. Stop letting them tell you the world is complex and grey. It isn't.

Financial Ruin.

Devaluation of the Dollar...it's coming.

Devaluation allows for "debts" to be paid off....Devaluation is a form of theft...it's how America will steal Chinese money by devaluing the money owed...flooding the market with dollars...oh...I owe you 10 billion....here...here's 10 billion...I just printed it....so much printed money becomes worthless...

And that's how they are going to get into your savings accounts...Get rid of your cash and buy something....whatever you buy will go up with inflation...the cash will go down with devaluation....

That's my take on it, anyway

[ Parent ]
I'm pissed off about the bank bailouts, too (4.00 / 1)
but it's not stealing Chinese money when the Chinese have been intentionally undervaluing the Yuan for about 20 years.  This currency mainipulation has been artificially keeping the dollar high for a very long time.  

[ Parent ]
High against what? Since when? (0.00 / 0)
Throughout most of this decade, the dollar was kept weak. The weakening world economy (especially in Britain and the Eurozone) and the crash put in a pretty sharp correction, but it's not that long ago since the Canadian dollar was worth more than the U.S dollar and a dollar was worth less than 50p sterling.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog

[ Parent ]
The Chinese pegged the yuan to the dollar (0.00 / 0)
despite having a massive trade surplus with the US.  So, high against the dollar.  This is why chinese goods are so ridiculously cheap here.  

[ Parent ]
Also, don't carry any debt (0.00 / 0)
because when interest rates head back up as inflation sets in, the cost of servicing that debt will become usurious to say the least. That, also, seems to be part of the "bailout" program further down the road, by implication, if not actual policy.

It also rather looks like they intend to default on the bonds in the SS trust fund, as some sort of sovereign default seems unavoidable at this point. They'd rather default on us than the foreign bond holders, it seems.

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates

[ Parent ]
when they don't care, speaking is not enough -- only voting them out is. (4.00 / 3)
and that's the whole problem -- until people remove all the politicians that harm us (and they're in both parties), we're sunk.

so, even tho we're seeing a doubling-down of the very worst Dubya policies, how many Democrats will vote Obama out in '12 bec of these crimes, corrupt appointments, and trillions given away to Wall St., etc?

[ Parent ]
We're stuck with Obama for eight years (0.00 / 0)
I mean, who's going to run against him in 2012? Perry? Sanford? Palin?

It would be nice to see senators who are in the pocket of Wall Street get the boot ASAP. Dodd looks likely to bail or get the proverbial boot. Schumer would be a nice addition (I also dislike his neo-con views on foreign policy and judges), as would any Republican.

So maybe it would be more effective to target those in congress who support his bad policies. More doable as well.

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates

[ Parent ]
Congress is def where to focus now -- it's too late now for WH, & the Democratic party is already harmed immeasurably (4.00 / 1)
it used to be GOP-lite, but Obama's entirely GOP and has dragged the overton window rightwards enormously bec his rightwing and "stay the course" policies are being classified as "socialist" and radical and leftist.

and it's not 8, unless we reward this garbage -- and if good jobs haven't arrived -- in the millions -- by '12, it won't be 8 years anyway no matter what.

primary challengers -- but also it has to be voting them out regardless of whether there's a challenger or not too -- we saw that even when a challenger like Lamont wins, they end up staying in. And what's the real difference policywise if they support what the GOP supports and vote for the same horrible things?  seriously.

[ Parent ]
Why would you think anyone was crazy if everyone was crazy? (4.00 / 3)
Stiglitz is saying what anybody would know after a brief reading of the situation.

It's common sense.

TARP is an attempt to revive a dysfunctional system for the purpose of continuing the rape of America financially. It's insane.

You don't need a degree to know that your wealth is being devalued, that the cause of this is SPECIFICALLY AMERICAN CORRUPTION that has affected the whole world, that your money is literally being stolen by Wall street operatives in the white house...Geithner, Summers, Bernanke and OBAMA who has worked in a Wall Street Related Firm as an "anaylst" and whose main contributor in his campaign was WALL STREET.

The idea that the world is grey, that the world is complex and hard to understand is PURE PROPAGANDA promoted by Obama, Wall Street, War Inc. (and is an old idea always used by world leaders) to further confuse people into thinking that they should allow "the experts"...the "leaders of the world" to continue their inane, pointless, pathetic attempts to concentrate wealth and power in their greedy, inept hands. It won't work. Everybody loses in this scheme.

The bailout is an example where everybody will lose. Even the ultra rich. They are making the world commercially non-functional while temporarily amassing great wealth and power which will eventually prove to be useless to them when there is no longer any commerce to speak of.

The world is quite disturbed in it's thinking. We....all of us....humanity are very disturbed. This is an example of a real collective mental illness that no one can identify becuase they are in the middle of it.

The stuff they are doing ...the TARP....it's STUPID. It's not complex, it's not grey....it's STUPID....it's STUPID FOR EVERYBODY.

it's myopic with wall street's interests being the sole focus (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
What I think is obvious is that this administration... (4.00 / 9)
...is too much in the pocket of Wall Street.  You can see it in how they respond to the economic crisis, they believe that all the core answers lie within Wall Street.  That is exactly the problem we have had in this country that led to this disaster.

They will pump trillions into Wall Street, then allow GM and Chrysler, which are massive middle class job creation engines founder and fail, then turn them into corporate dwarfs, because of the Wall Street created catastrophe.

This administration seems as deaf as past administrations in understanding the need of keeping and increasing the number of middle class jobs.  That should be the focus of the whole government.  They really need to replace many of the Wall Street types with some of the brightest minds of Labor.


Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me-and I welcome their hatred. - FDR

Indeed. (0.00 / 0)
Who are they going to loan money to with the conditions of mass unemployment, a downward wage spiral and exploding poverty rates?

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates

[ Parent ]
no more incompetence dodge -- they're doing exactly what they want to do, and (4.00 / 2)
succeeding wildly at it, even tho they know it's grievously harming all the rest of us.

this is Dubya 2.0 -- only with a slightly different set of cronies (altho we should call them all "unindicted co-conspirators" -- inside and outside the WH itself)

I'm confused (0.00 / 0)
From the article:

The Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, isn't large enough to recapitalize the banking system, and the administration hasn't been direct in addressing that shortfall, he said.

So, I don't get your conclusion that you've been saying this for months; Sirota and the consensus on OpenLeft from my reading has always been that TARP was a bad idea and the financial system should be allowed to collapse.

. (0.00 / 0)
Don't worry, they are confused too. The M.O. is to latch onto any dumb shit that can be cut out to fit a particular narrative and flow with it.

I mean it's funny because it's easy to separate the bullshit from real issues. See: Sirota's imagined AIG populist backlash against the dems.

[ Parent ]
You must have entirely too much time on your hands (0.00 / 0)
To spend so much time trolling.

Get a life, dude.

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates

[ Parent ]
. (0.00 / 0)
Sorry if I'm not into echo chambers or being a groupie.

[ Parent ]
No, that's not the case (4.00 / 4)
This is the false dichotomy presented by those who like TARP, TALF and the laughable PPiP. It's either we stick with the openly corrupt and wrong-headed Executive Wealthcare Payout Program, or we let the whole thing collapse.

This is nonsense. As a point of fact, the financial system will still collapse at some point, because these programs can't actually fix the underlying problems. So we're just going to waste a few trillion bucks until that finally becomes clear to the idiots in power.

But what will they do then?

They'll still end up seizing the biggest banks, at additional cost that should be borne right now, clearing out the balance sheets and repackaging the good assets for sale.

This current scheme is nothing more than a game of Three Card Monty. They shovel around a lot of free money, but the balance sheets are still fucked up. Everyone knows this. What everyone doesn't know is which banks are healthier than the other ones and for that reason alone none of them can trust each other to pay their bills going forward. This crisis of confidence can continue for as long as this situation stays this way.

So in this sense, Stiglitz and another 80 or so prominent, competent, economists are absolutely right.

The only way to restore confidence in the financial system is to reform it. Yet, this is the one thing the Obama administration and congress aren't going to do.

Without massive reforms, including putting Glass-Steagal back into effect, there will be no financial rebound and that will put the brakes on any economic recovery.

It's really that simple, even if the details aren't.

So the plan thus far is to waste trillions of dollars that we'll have to pay for later through massive inflation and a continued slow-bleed of our domestic economy for many years hence.

Sounds great to me!

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates

[ Parent ]
. (0.00 / 0)
They shovel around a lot of free money, but the balance sheets are still fucked up.

What fucking balance sheets? All 19 major banks? Only a few of them? Even then, what do we do with the toxic assets owned by banks that are solvent now but still could be in trouble later? We nationalize those ones for the hell of it? Good bank bad bank? PPIP?

And we're magically going to get congress to front the money to do this right now? A few trillion dollars? They haven't even given Geithner the power to nationalize yet. but now they're just going to snap to because Stiglitz has his panties in a bunch?

[ Parent ]
I believe that geithner already has the ability to nationalize ... (0.00 / 0)
... but I could be wrong.


[ Parent ]
multiple agencies have plenty of power-- to break up, sell off, force bankruptcy a la GM, etc -- (0.00 / 0)
and the FDIC clearly has the power over all those companies that are banks -- and those few giant Wall St companies that specifically became "bank holding companies" in order to get billions and billions free.

[ Parent ]
Bankruptcy would look like what happened to Lehman Brothers. Very messy, lots of collateral damage (0.00 / 0)
That's the opposite of the way nationalization should be attempted.

[ Parent ]
that's how the system works -- private companies succeed or fail -- it happens daily -- (0.00 / 0)
No one bailed out or rewarded Circuit City or that giant mall operator or any of the other companies that fail all the time -- giant and tiny.

There are many Wall St firms that moved in and got Lehman's business -- where's the collateral damage?

There are many banks ready and willing, but who can't move in and get Citibank's business because the administration is intentionally feeding them our billions to keep them alive, even tho they took actions that failed and should pay the consequences of those actions like other companies.

Banks and Wall St companies reward and/or punish all other publicly traded companies if they don't do certain things
-- why are these few exempt from the very standards they hold other companies to? They make or break other companies -- and if they were recommending others on themselves -- to buy or sell or invest or fund, etc -- they wouldn't do it. They would punish, and sell and make it impossible for it to exist.

[ Parent ]
very very related -- "Bank-regulating lawmakers in swing districts are reaping increased campaign contributions from firms most affected by their actions" (4.00 / 1)
This is something worthy of attack (4.00 / 1)
Let's make them pay for their connections to these crooks and nullify the benefits of all that dirty money.

Since money is fungible, all the lobbyist money, the campaign contributions, they should all be returned to the US Treasury from whence they originated.

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates

[ Parent ]
everyone named in that article needs to go -- everyone. (0.00 / 0)
no matter which party.

pols whose job it is to regulate and who say they will everyday are still taking money from the very same companies -- unacceptable -- entirely.

[ Parent ]
and it's true for all issues -- EFCA also -- they're raking in millions from companies against it -- (0.00 / 0)
and the longer they stall and don't move on it, the more money they get from those companies.

[ Parent ]
Totally agree. (0.00 / 0)
Given Dodd's precipitous drop in the polls, this "bailout" issue strikes me as particularly toxic to certain pols. EFCA can work in some places more than others, but I'll take any movement along these lines.

A year from now things will be even worse on Main Street and the banksters are going to be crowing about their newfound "profits." That will make lots of people really "happy." And next year is an election cycle. How fortuitous.

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates

[ Parent ]
more on Dodd -- "How Big Finance is trying to keep the Senate banking chairman's imperiled political career afloat." (0.00 / 0)
MoJo --   Chris Dodd's Personal Bailout -- http://www.motherjones.com/pol...

[ Parent ]
healthcare too -- every single issue that affects corporations of all kinds, really -- (0.00 / 0)
and when it comes to specific committees and districts/states, those companies all pour money into campaigns -- to ensure they get their desired results.

even the supposedly "good" pols, like Frank and Feingold, etc -- i'm disgusted with all of them and have especially been so since 2000. (but it's far worse when Democratic pols pretend to be fixing or regulating or helping us and not them -- but both parties are now identical, except for the lies they tell)

[ Parent ]
Later in the piece (4.00 / 7)
Stiglitz answers his own question. Are they incompetent or in the pocket of Wall Street? Stiglitz answers B:

"America has had a revolving door. People go from Wall Street to Treasury and back to Wall Street," he said. "Even if there is no quid pro quo, that is not the issue. The issue is the mindset."

Although perhaps it's not quite accurate to say they're in the pocket of Wall Street. They are Wall Street.

I sick of (4.00 / 1)
posts that claim "Obama partisans won't debate".

That is crap designed to insult those who support Obama.

If you have an argument, make it. Don't tell me because I disagree with you that it is somehow because I am unthinking robot.

In fact, it is you that is making statements that are  belittling people.  

I kind of agree with this (0.00 / 0)
I'm tired of sweeping link-less statements in blog posts. Make distinctions, names names.

[ Parent ]
You make a valid point and I do think more civility is in order (0.00 / 0)
But to also speak from the "other side," the lack of civility also exists among some who think criticizing Obama is somehow unpatriotic or worse. I have a few friends who are in that camp and it makes for some unpleasant exchanges on occasion.

But I don't wish to diminish your original point.

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates

[ Parent ]
That's just David (0.00 / 0)
Like every other populist, he just finds some group he isn't a part of and then smears the whole group with the same attack.  Us versus Them, it's the populist way.

(Yes, the irony was intentional.)

[ Parent ]
Well (0.00 / 0)
suppose for a moment that, in fact, there is a very real and large segment of the population that describes itself as progressive which supports Obama on virtually every position he takes. Let's suppose that among the standard techniques they employ is to bring up the 11-dimensional chess angle; or to argue that what is progressive is, in fact, too progressive, because it is politically infeasible; or to argue that criticism of Obama is inherently counterproductive; etc.

If that phenomenon is real, it may indeed be the most important fundamental dynamic talking place in many of the debates one has online and in real life. Under those assumed circumstances, absent exposure and discussion of this underlying dynamic, it is nigh impossible that that deep, pervasive problem might be remedied.

And you declare that we cannot speak of it, or, presumably, even allude to it.

All I can say is the obvious: if, indeed, the problematic dynamic is real, we better have some way of talking about it.

And what you are suggesting seems to rule that out.

[ Parent ]
. (0.00 / 0)
A blogosphere narrative is not a "truth" anymore than any other media narrative.

Sticking to one might get you on nightline again though.

Ah, so there are no truths... (0.00 / 0)
And into the postmodern vortex we fall.  

[ Parent ]
. (0.00 / 0)
Truth? not really. Ignorance is an empty canvas and we color it with what we want to see. In this case the palette is mistrust, bad faith, incompetence, and corruption.

[ Parent ]
I guess I am a "Obama partisan" (0.00 / 0)
and I've had profound misgivings about his approach to the economy since the moment he hired Timmy "walls street" Gietner. I for one think this might be Obama's ultimate undoing. So who are these mysterious un-named Obama partisans that support his handling of the walls street/housing crisis? I will say this though their is legitimate disagreement among serious economist. But as far as I know I can't name a serious "Obama partisan" among them.

Gietner = Obama's Donald Rumsfeld.

. (0.00 / 0)
Just what is it that makes Geithner a wall street guy? Because he knows them? What, they go out to lunch together and plot how to take over the world with Cobra Commander and Mumra?

[ Parent ]
Krony Kapitalism (4.00 / 1)
It a mindset more than anything else. Krugman elaborated on this when Geithner name came up for the job. Simply put it is outside of his reality that anything that would not benefit wall street would not benefit America. Hence every solution he has come up insulated wall street from their reckless choices.

Further more Geithner was one of the prime master minds behind the tarp/AIG/backdoor bailout before Obama was president.

And yes they are friends, yes most of these guys are from Goldman and yes we just found out today that the guy he put in charge of AIG and paying the counter parties has shares in Goldman. That last one alone is a prime example of crony capitalism.

[ Parent ]
. (0.00 / 1)
Yeah, obviously the better solution is to pick people to head the treasury that know absolutely dick about wall street, and never had to deal with it.

This is what i mean by narrative. Geithner in reality doesn't fit anything related to being in wall streets pockets, so i got to hear bullshit psychoanalysis from mr. Krugman so Geithner can fit into the narrative of wall street sticking together.

The shit's nonsense. I'm even going to go as far as saying borderline retarded.

[ Parent ]
not true (4.00 / 2)
Yeah, obviously the better solution is to pick people to head the treasury that know absolutely dick about wall street, and never had to deal with it.

Roubini, Paul Krugman, Elizabeth Warren, Joseph Stiglitz, etc, etc. Basically your mindset does not allow you to see anyone outside of wall street as competent because they did not work in wall street.

[ Parent ]
Roubini (0.00 / 0)
For the record, Roubini supports this plan.

In fact, they all seem to agree on the merits, more or less, but disagree on the conclusion.  They all seem to think the plan may work, but probably will not as it currently stands.  The disagreement is whether they think this is a good first step or a disastrous last step.  And note that that conclusion has nothing to do with economics itself, but on the politics of the situation.

[ Parent ]
Roubini and others (4.00 / 3)
give tepid support to to the plan provided it will require banks to participate. And it doesn't.


[ Parent ]
I haven't seen anything but qualified support (0.00 / 0)
I'm not sure I've seen any economist outside the administration argue that "the plan may work", in the sense of fixing the problem. At best, the supporters were arguing that it was a good first step. And lately, I think there's been a bit of a reconvergence around something like this statement, from the article quoted by Sirota:

TARP, isn't large enough to recapitalize the banking system, and the administration hasn't been direct in addressing that shortfall

I don't know about Roubini, but DeLong had a blog back and forth with Krugman this week over three possible narratives that DeLong advanced for the administration's approach. DeLong made it very clear that he doesn't think the administration has actually advanced any narrative, and that the lack of narrative is a really big problem.

So I think there are economists who believe that the Geithner plan could be a useful step, but I'm not sure there are any economists left who are confident that it will be a useful step given the lack of clarity about why the administration chose this course.

[ Parent ]
. (0.00 / 0)
DeLong made it very clear that he doesn't think the administration has actually advanced any narrative, and that the lack of narrative is a really big problem.

It's a problem if you don't trust the Obama admin. Which is why there are all these ridiculous fucking insinuations about Geithner and Obama. It's there in order to justify a narrative that Sirota et all have already built. In reality there is no narrative advanced, like you said. We don't really know intent or what the final steps might be. But some people would rather fill in ignorance with a narrative that tells a tale of bad faith, incompetence, and corruption.

Bowers understood the trust dynamic, but then again Bowers is pretty insightful when he wants to be.

[ Parent ]
trusting the executive (4.00 / 3)
There is a long history in this country of not vesting the executive branch with implicit trust. One might argue that the country was founded on the principle that the executive did not deserve such trust.

It is wrong to fill an information gap with assumptions of bad faith or corruption. It is equally bad for democracy to fill an information gap with implicit trust in the executive. It is natural and basically correct to fill an information gap with an assumption that the executive has no good reason for what it's doing.

When a basic consensus about what should be done exists outside the administration, and when outsiders have provided reasonable rationalizations for the policy the administration has adopted, but the administration still insists on justifications that contradict the consensus view, then it is justified to fill the information gap with a presumption of incompetence.

[ Parent ]
Well put (0.00 / 0)
You basically wrote the post I should have.  Yes, I agree.

I also believe (this is me, not the economists) this all ties back to the real economy.  If the real economy can get moving fast enough, then the Geithner plan probably is good enough.  Another round of stimulus, for example, increases the odds the banks can recover over time without going through receivership and extremely expensive recapitalization.  It is all connected.

[ Parent ]
... (4.00 / 2)
I was responding to early claim that the folks who are fixing this mess needed to be from wall street to fix the problems created by wall street. One of my initial points is that the only solutions being considered all seem to insulate wall street from their recklessness. I think if we had someone who was not a wall street person we might also have options that considers main street first.  

[ Parent ]
. (0.00 / 0)
that's the thing, Geithner isn't from wall street in the first fuckin place. That's why we have these bullshit tangent about his mindset or psychology or whatever the fuck people want to attribute to Geithner to fit him into their predetermined box.

[ Parent ]
One of each (0.00 / 0)
As I've stated many times before, I think either Geithner or Summers would be fine, you just don't want both of them.  Geithner and Stiglitz, for example, would create a better dynamic.

So yes, you really do need that expertise, but you also need some disconnect from Wall Street forces.  Odds are, you aren't going to get that from a single individual.

[ Parent ]
troll rated for the last word in your comment (4.00 / 1)
That word has no place in civil discourse.

[ Parent ]
wall street is NOT the US economy, nor does it share the purpose or needs of our govt or economy or population -- (0.00 / 0)
it intentionally damages our economy daily, in fact - and our lives, opportunities, jobs, security, stability, and overall economic soundness as a whole.

the "crisis" has never for one second been that banks are not lending money to businesses, nor that they have too much debt on their books, nor that they aren't capitalized enough, etc. -- yet the entire administration says it is and that these very very few companies are to be rewarded and kept wealthy no matter what the cost or impact to the rest of us.

[ Parent ]
Wall street is not the US economy, it just happens to have all it's fuckin money. (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
Had I known Obama was such a jackass (0.00 / 0)
I would have voted for McCain!  Imagine ... Barack Obama choosing an entire economic team that's either "incompetent" or "in the pocket of Wall Street."  It's surprising ... or, it's utter bullshit.  Get 100 economists in a room, get 100 opinions.  Yet any Obama-basher is immediately hailed as prescient and infallible.  Can we get Roubini and Stiglitz to tell us who'll win the World Series, so I can get down some bets if Obama allows me to keep some dough and not steal it all and send it to banks?  Hell, Stig won a Nobel Prize; he must be right.  Like Milton Friedman.  I have to ask: when the economy comes back and Obama is at 70 percent approval by 2010, are you gonna eat crow?  Or just bitch that Wall Street assholes -- and they are -- are still making money?

. (0.00 / 0)
Well that's the hedge that's made by this particular set of whining. Even if Geithner plan works, it's already set up as a narrative of wealth transfer from the public to the banks in some grand scheme for Geithner to become dictator of the universe. So Geithern and Obama still come out as corrupt in the storyline.

[ Parent ]
Oh, please (4.00 / 4)
Economists have beliefs, orientations. We knew from the outset that Summers and Geithner came from the Wall Street, free markets and free trade wing of the party, and they're only being themselves.

Progressive economists would've been more, you know, progressive.

[ Parent ]
. (0.00 / 0)
There is no such thing as a fucking progressive bank bailout anymore then there is a such thing as progressive foreign policy.

[ Parent ]
I sadly have to conclude (4.00 / 3)
that you're a person not worth arguing with. Sadly because we could use some good debating-partners round here, but you're obviously not up to the challenge.

[ Parent ]
I'll bet you what's left of my decimated retirement (4.00 / 1)
accounts that Obama's approval rate in Sept 2010 will be lower than 50%, the recession will be as bad or worse than it is today, the land-wars in Asia will have deteriorated and troops will still be getting killed--and he'll lose seats to the Pukez in the Nov elections. If conditions are bad enough, and they could easily be, he could lose one or both majorities...

He has a deadline: he's GOT TO show 'success' in some large crisis--economy, health, wars, SOMETHING--before the summer of '10. If he doesn't have a POSITIVE record by then, he's toast, a one-termer (whiuch is the fate I believe the bosses and owners foresaw for him from the start)...

[ Parent ]
the president is just as feckless (4.00 / 1)
as Reid or Feinstein or any of the Beltway Democrats to whom he is favorably compared. He's just better spoken and better-looking, that's all.

The Republicans know exactly what to do with power when they get it. They use it to do horrible things, but they know what to do with it. The Democrats have no clue how to use power when they have it. They're too gutless to actually use it to clean up the messes the Republicans leave behind, but they can't use it to do horrible things because they ran on not doing horrible things. So they settle to use it to perpetuate the existing status quo.

he-- and they -- are not feckless -- they agree with the GOP and big Corps and Wall St -- (0.00 / 0)
esp on financial stuff and war and trade.

they are using their power now in the ways they want to -- intentionally expanding on Reagan/Bush policies -- acting for the wealthy.  

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