Kabuki Or Bust? Economy Does Not Need Paulson’s Reject Plan

After several weeks of pushback on Paulson redux for TALF, the Obama administration appears to have settled on…the Paulson redux plan with assorted new shiny windowdressings.

Oh joy and rapture.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will testify twice before Congress this week regarding TALF. I’ve got plenty of questions about due diligence and much-needed transparency and accountability.

Froomkin cites Elizabeth Warren, and her still-unanswered questions to Geithner are hardly reassuring:

…Treasury has not explained how its financial stabilization programs fit together to address the problems that caused this crisis. This failure to connect specific programs to a clear strategy aimed at the root causes of the crisis has produced uncertainty and drained your work of public support. Financial institutions, businesses, and consumers will not return to healthy investment in the economy if they fear that the federal government is careening from one crisis to another without an intelligible road map.

Yesterday, 60 Minutes interviewed President Obama.. His loyalty to Geithner when distancing himself from the politically battered Treasury Secretary would have been all too easy was admirable. But commitment to a trusted deputy and misplaced persistence on a plan that has serious flaws, so much so that even Hank Paulson ran away from it, are two completely different issues.

This isn’t steadfastness, it’s political suicide at the hand of Wall Street.

And I can’t help but wonder if that might be part of the point — spending Obama’s political capital needlessly so that the tough re-regulation fight has a slimmer chance. As Krugman points out:

…the fact is that financial executives literally bet their banks on the belief that there was no housing bubble, and the related belief that unprecedented levels of household debt were no problem. They lost that bet. And no amount of financial hocus-pocus — for that is what the Geithner plan amounts to — will change that fact.

You might say, why not try the plan and see what happens? One answer is that time is wasting: every month that we fail to come to grips with the economic crisis another 600,000 jobs are lost.

This is not some abstract series of arguments from an ivory tower, people’s livelihoods are at stake.  That basic questions still hang out there unanswered to a Congressionally-appointed watchdog? Not exactly confidence inspiring.

Which is why we are bringing back our economic experts series: we’ve all got questions, and someone needs to be asking them loud and clear before Congressional hearings get underway.

Here’s what we plan so far for the week:

MON: Chat with Dean Baker at 2pm ET, chat with William Black at 5pm ET

TUE: Liveblog of Geithner/Bernanke AIG hearing at 10am ET, chat with Matt Taibbi at 5pm ET

WED: Chat with Rep. Jim Himes of the House Financial Services Committee, 5pm ET

THU: Liveblog of Geithner regulatory reform hearing at 10am ET

Hope you’ll join us.

We also plan on pushing members of Congress to ask more pointed questions. At a time when so much is on the line, we need them to know we are all watching.  

Lord knows, "let them eat lobster pannacotta" is not the answer.


 
157 Responses to "Kabuki Or Bust? Economy Does Not Need Paulson’s Reject Plan"
Elliott | Monday March 23, 2009 05:47 am 1

Ahhh Good Morning Christy
The sun shines.

Another great lineup ahead, thanks!


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 05:58 am 2
In response to Elliott @ 1

Morning — sunshine here, too. Hot coffee as well. Life is good at the moment.

Hope everyone can join us for the discussions. Jane’s been working her rear end off to get folks booked — it’s a really great line-up.


selise | Monday March 23, 2009 05:59 am 3

We also plan on pushing members of Congress to ask more pointed questions. At a time when so much is on the line, we need them to know we are all watching.

members of congress should be present for the entire hearing (except if they need to vote). they might learn something – and lord knows they need to.

most importantly, they should give their time to someone who actually had a clue about what to ask and especially how to ask follow up questions. william black would be a great choice.

so long as members of congress put getting a good youtube clip ahead of real investigations, i’ll know they are not serious about solving the problems we face.


selise | Monday March 23, 2009 06:00 am 4

and while i’m apparently still dreaming…. larry summers needs to be fired. today. i really don’t understand why anyone ever thought he was an acceptable choice for any gov position.


phred | Monday March 23, 2009 06:01 am 5

Thanks for the post Christy and for the upcoming series. Tomorrow, I really hope someone in Congress asks Geithner the following …

Why has there been no discussion of the reforms that will be needed to correct the problems that caused this crisis? Without a plan for reform, what confidence can the taxpayer have that our treasury will not be raided again to bail out future failures? Until there is a regulatory framework in place, no further money should be spent on a bailout. Further, in order to get to the place where such a framework can be created, we need to know what went wrong in the first place. This will require a wide-ranging probe of all of the business practices (fraudulent mortgages and those written for unqualified buyers, confusing and usurous loan terms (ARMs etc.), CDOs, CDSs (especially naked CDS)) along with the deregulation that occurred over the past 30 years that made these practices possible. How soon Secretary Geithner will such an investigation commence?

That’s what I would like someone to ask. Granted, it doesn’t address Krugman’s point that we are wasting time and wiping out jobs in the real economy while so much effort is going into propping up the Potemkin banking system. But I do think this needs to be addressed before the public will have any real confidence in Obama’s economic policies.


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 06:04 am 6
In response to selise @ 3

Honestly, I cannot imagine having an opportunity to ask questions about critical issues like this and so many others and not only not doing my homework on them, but not bothering to seriously consider so much of the longer-term implications.

The constant kabuki is getting on my last nerve.


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 06:06 am 7
In response to phred @ 5

I’m very curious about the potential reforms that have been floated out only in the vaguest of detail at this point. It’s part of what Geithner is supposed to address during Thursday’s testimony, but I’m very, very curious about potential details on that.


selise | Monday March 23, 2009 06:06 am 8
In response to phred @ 5

Until there is a regulatory framework in place, no further money should be spent on a bailout.

abso-fucking-lutely!

reregulation, accountability and transparency (the real thing, not the faux kind that seems to be all the rage nowadays).

should have been baked into the TARP cake last fall, but not one penny more until it is.


i4u2bi | Monday March 23, 2009 06:10 am 9

For those in the know..if Obama continues on this bankster economic trajectory he is political dead meat.


demi | Monday March 23, 2009 06:10 am 10

I’m sorry to ask a naive question, but I’ve been out of the loop for a while, but, what response did we receive from Jane’s petition regarding No More Dough…?


WarOnWarOff | Monday March 23, 2009 06:11 am 11

Here’s NBC’s Andrea Mitchell in a bear costume introducing a number that lampoons her husband, former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan, to the tune of “What I Did for Love” from “A Chorus Line.”

Please. No.


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 06:11 am 12
In response to demi @ 10

Jane may have more on that coming up in a bit.


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 06:12 am 13

That whole article was vomit-esque.


cbl2 | Monday March 23, 2009 06:13 am 14

chat with Matt Taibbi at 5pm ET

dayum !

the entire series to date has been phenomenal but I’m ready for a little time in the mosh pit with my ‘ dogs


demi | Monday March 23, 2009 06:13 am 15

Alrighty. Will keep my eyes open for that.
(And, no, Christy did not pay me to ask that question. *g*)


selise | Monday March 23, 2009 06:15 am 16
In response to Christy Hardin Smith @ 6

even if they did their homework, which they obviously don’t (reading off questions an aide has written doesn’t count), they would never have the deep knowledge of someone like william black. that’s what’s needed to ask good follow up questions. there just isn’t time for someone to come up to speed if they haven’t been focussed on these issues already.

there are a few who have some specialized knowledge, but most of the congress members can’t even be bothered to stay for the whole hearing and really pay attention to what is said. the least they could do is give their time to someone competent. hasn’t that been the way in the past?


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 06:17 am 17
In response to selise @ 16

I can recall in the not-so-distant past that, at times when the issue was exceedingly complex, committee counsel would be called upon to ask questions on particulars that needed good follow-up for the whole committee. That hasn’t been done for a while, though. Which is a shame, in my opinion.


phred | Monday March 23, 2009 06:18 am 18
In response to Christy Hardin Smith @ 7

Here’s hoping that they try to pin Geithner down on the details of reforms… And sorry about messing up the day of Geithner’s appearance before Congress, I thought it was tomorrow instead of Thursday — that’s what I get for speed-reading your post ; )


cbl2 | Monday March 23, 2009 06:19 am 19
In response to WarOnWarOff @ 11

this is the event that gave us MC Rove and who could ever forget “those wmd’s are in here somewhere!”

dance monkeys dance !


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 06:19 am 20
In response to phred @ 18

He’s got two appearances — one tomorrow on TALF, and one on Thursday about reforms and oversight.


oldgold | Monday March 23, 2009 06:20 am 21

Talfie

Whats it all about, Talfie?
Is it just for the moment we live?
Whats it all about when you sort it out, Talfie?
Are we meant to take more than we give
Or are we meant to be kind?
And if only fools are kind, Talfie,
Then I guess its wise to be cruel.
And if life belongs only to the strong, Talfie,
What will you lend on an old golden rule?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ae3mJieVvbo


selise | Monday March 23, 2009 06:20 am 22

that’s what i thought. although until you got me hooked a couple of years ago, the last hearings i watched were probably sam ervin’s (aka senator eyebrows) watergate hearings with my mom.


phred | Monday March 23, 2009 06:23 am 23

Oooo, a two-fer! I hope they ask him about the reforms as part of the TALF testimony. Thanks Christy, I feel a bit less confused now ; )


Raven | Monday March 23, 2009 06:25 am 24

This isn’t steadfastness, it’s political suicide at the hand of Wall Street.

Yea, and I’m sure you’ll get a real progressive in another 16 or so years from now after the pukes take back over. Good luck.


cbl2 | Monday March 23, 2009 06:26 am 25

pass the lobster pannacotta please . . .

Political Class Gives Geitner Good Reviews, Main Street Not So Much (h/t HuffPo)


phred | Monday March 23, 2009 06:27 am 26
In response to selise @ 22

You and me both selise, I spent my summer school vacation watching the Watergate hearings. They were riveting. I have to admit though I haven’t thought of Sam Ervin’s eyebrows in decades ; )

Christy do you have any idea when they stopped having counsel ask questions? I wonder how hard it would be for them to return to that format. Would it require new rules for the committee or can they just go ahead and bring their counsel tomorrow and have them ask questions if they are so inclined?


perris | Monday March 23, 2009 06:27 am 27

I heard on the radio this morning obama is going to reject the tax on these middle class gifts to the wealthy called “bonuses”

I’m really not happy with how he’s handling the economy, our rights, our constitution, and I don’t think he’s going to be serving more then one term


jayt | Monday March 23, 2009 06:27 am 28
In response to cbl2 @ 14

chat with Matt Taibbi at 5pm ET

oh hell, yeah.

*reaching for calendar*….

hmm, hope I can still “talk” after the dentist gets through torturing me.


demi | Monday March 23, 2009 06:27 am 29
In response to selise @ 16

I agree with all that. Also, it would be nice if the folks on the committees would actually listen to everything said. One thing I’ve noticed in watching a lot of hearings this past year is that often time while a question is being answered, members are talking amongst themselves. I have no idea what they are saying, could be So, you want to grab a bite after this bs, but, I always wonder if they might be missing an important piece that they could pose a follow-up question on. Silly me. I take this stuff seriously.


barbara | Monday March 23, 2009 06:27 am 30
In response to Christy Hardin Smith @ 2

Ah, g’morning to Elliott and Christy, the sunshine girls! Nice. Meanwhile on the just-thawing-tundra, it’s dark, damp and definitely windy. Very. And barbara awoke cranky. (Stifle yourselves — don’t wanna hear it! *g*)


selise | Monday March 23, 2009 06:27 am 31
In response to phred @ 18

i think there is some very stupid idea being floated about making the fed the regulator of “systemic risk.”

because, you know:

1) the fed has proven to be such a great regulator
2) the fed doesn’t have enough power already
3) the fed is the organization that congress does the best job of oversight with
4) it’s important to have a single point of control (a little bit of distributed, overlapping control would be more work for the lobbyists).


Leen | Monday March 23, 2009 06:28 am 32

Paulson started this chain reaction by allowing Lehman Brothers to collapse.

Looking for that Bill Moyers program where Moyers reported thank Hank Paulson had said that the efforts to block executive compensation would not “hold water”

Those with millions and billions protecting those with millions and billions


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 06:28 am 33
In response to Raven @ 24

Obama is trying to walk that knife-edge of keeping Wall Street happy while also doing something in the public’s interest. But, I fear, that he cannot do both under the present circumstances, especially where the self-interest of Wall Street status quo is diametrically opposed to the interests of the regular public for fundamental changes…and I wonder if any of the folks around him have argued that edge of the coin?


Raven | Monday March 23, 2009 06:29 am 34

Maybe Howard has

Former DNC Chair Howard Dean will become a regular contributor for the business news network CNBC, a source close to the former Vermont Governor confirms. Dean started his new gig on Monday morning with a guest-hosting appearance on the station.


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 06:29 am 35
In response to phred @ 26

I don’t know an exact moment in time — I just know that over the last few years it phased out. Hasn’t happened in my memory in the last 8 or 9 at least, and maybe a bit longer.


ralphbon | Monday March 23, 2009 06:30 am 36

With the rebranding of toxic assets as “legacy securities,” the Obama administration’s descent into self-parody is complete.

Obama and his team seem to think our main problem is a shortage of euphemisms. Our actual problem is a surfeit of legacy appointees (Geithner, Summers) from a legacy of failure stretching back to the 1980s and 1990s.

Anyone imagining that “legacy” will work as a term of reassurance need only be reminded that George W. Bush shoehorned his way into Yale thanks to its policy of legacy admissions.


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 06:31 am 37
In response to perris @ 27

I think he’s right on that — we shouldn’t use the federal tax code as a penalty system for a single instance of payback. It’s not what it was legally meant to be. If you are going to tax something like that, it has to be a permanent, progressive structure for the long haul — not a one-hit publicity stunt payback maneuver, in my opinion.

Otherwise, you risk substantive legal challenge that would, likely, succeed based on its punitive rather than substantive intent.


foothillsmike | Monday March 23, 2009 06:32 am 38
In response to demi @ 29

They are trying to figure out what the polling data is.


barbara | Monday March 23, 2009 06:33 am 39

Heard there’s a new pandemic on the horizon. Princess and the Pea Syndrome. By the time everyone gets around to cashing out our so-called poor-tfolios, it’ll all be coins, which, when stuffed under the mattress…well, you understand.


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 06:33 am 40
In response to Raven @ 34

I hope so, although rumor has it that Dean and the crowd around Obama — specifically Rahm for sure — do not play well together. Something tells me that wouldn’t prevent Howard Dean from speaking his mind to folks, but whether or not that critique reaches Obama is another question entirely…


WarOnWarOff | Monday March 23, 2009 06:34 am 41
In response to cbl2 @ 19

That Obama skipped that vile circus gives me a bit of hope this fine Monday morning…


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 06:35 am 42
In response to barbara @ 39

Although the market was way, way up this morning prior to the release of Geithner’s TALF details. Haven’t checked it in the last few minutes, though.


foothillsmike | Monday March 23, 2009 06:36 am 43

Spitzer yesterday suggested taking them to court on a older concept of unjust enrichment


martha | Monday March 23, 2009 06:36 am 44
In response to Raven @ 34

I watched/listened to most of this morning’s Squawk Box. Dean was very supportive of Geithner’s plan.

I must say (will get shunned here for it), that Obama must have the support of the banksters to get the economy going. That’s a fact, whether we like it or not. That’s how our economy works. He must find a path to walk that balances the evils they’ve wrought and strengthens the regulations to protect Main Street.


selise | Monday March 23, 2009 06:37 am 45
In response to phred @ 26

senator eyebrows was my mom’s nickname for him. i watched the hearings with her that summer – was too young to get a job (was 14 or 15 i think).

would love to know the answer to your question re counsel. if christy doesn’t know i’ll start calling some committees. might be good for them to hear from irate citizens anyway.


jayt | Monday March 23, 2009 06:37 am 46

Otherwise, you risk substantive legal challenge that would, likely, succeed based on its punitive rather than substantive intent.

As it happens, I agree. But even if we’re both wrong, I think that someone might wanna take a look at the ROI that the guaranteed-to-result litigation might have….. I’m thinking that those suits will be fought all the way to the top, with plenty of financial aid available to those poor, poor plaintiffs.

what’s it gonna cost the Govt. to litigate this?


barbara | Monday March 23, 2009 06:37 am 47

This is my greatest concern, economy-wise. Is the critique reaching Obama? If it’s delivered by Rahm, I doubt it’s presented as constructive criticism. Definitely needs to be a shirt-sleeves confab at Camp David that includes the frozen-out tier of experts (Krugman, Stiglitz et al). I will happily give up my seat for one of them! *g*


Raven | Monday March 23, 2009 06:38 am 48
In response to martha @ 44

We were told yesterday that there is no possible way anyone could be progressive and believe in capitalism.


kyeo | Monday March 23, 2009 06:38 am 49

You know, I’m down with the idea that Geithner’s plan is a bad one and that Obama’s too wedded to conventional financial wisdom for his own good, but can we skip the conspiracy theories? Does anyone really believe that Obama’s on TV all week talking about reregulating the financial sector just for show? I can understand being frustrated, even angry, but I’m not sure what good it does to demonize Obama or make him our enemy.


demi | Monday March 23, 2009 06:39 am 50
In response to foothillsmike @ 38

Shaking my head here. Not in disagreement with you, only at the disappointment in the truth of what you say.


phred | Monday March 23, 2009 06:39 am 51
In response to selise @ 31

Oh fabulous. That doesn’t sound promising at all. If I’m not mistaken, I think it was Sheila Bair who already has said she thinks the uber-regulator idea is a bad one.


jayt | Monday March 23, 2009 06:39 am 52

so why is my windows media player beltin’ out Sweet Jane on a Christy thread?

stupid Windows….


barbara | Monday March 23, 2009 06:39 am 53
In response to martha @ 44

I think you’re right.


demi | Monday March 23, 2009 06:40 am 54
In response to barbara @ 39

We’ve started saving cash. In an envelope on the organ. The bank of the B-3.


Raven | Monday March 23, 2009 06:40 am 55
In response to kyeo @ 49

It does some people a lot of good, otherwise they would do it constantly. It makes them sound sooooo smart.


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 06:41 am 56
In response to Raven @ 48

Well I do — and am. Ran my own business successfully and yet still managed to allow a homeless guy to live in our basement for a coupla years.

I think there’s a lot of room for disagreement on a lot of levels. Lord know I’ve made that point a bazillion times the last few years. And a lot less need to continue fights from one day to the next. Don’t you?


barbara | Monday March 23, 2009 06:41 am 57
In response to demi @ 54

So does that make you an organ donor?


Raven | Monday March 23, 2009 06:41 am 58
In response to demi @ 54

Ah Jimmy Smith hammerin “Walk on the Wild Side” on that big Hammond!


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 06:42 am 59
In response to kyeo @ 49

What conspiracy theory? Don’t believe I wrote about one…


Leen | Monday March 23, 2009 06:43 am 60

Christy/all
The Diane Rehm show focused on this issue this morning
10 est
http://wamu.org/programs/dr/

10:00CEO pay and the Economic Recovery Effort

Reactions to steps taken by Congress and the administration to limit bonuses for thousands of executives… A look at the plan and why some say the move may undermine the Obama administration’s overall economic recovery effort
Guests

David Leonhardt, reporter, New York Times

Kevin Hassett, director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute

Sarah Anderson, Institute for Policy Studies
http://www.wamu.org/programs/dr/09/03/23.php#24973
Listen to this segment

Share this
11:00Juan Cole: “Engaging the Muslim World” (Palgrave Macmillan)

In a video message to the Iranian people and government, President Obama said the U.S. seeks engagement based on mutual respect. Historian and blogger Juan Cole discusses what that might achieve and why he’s pushing for a broader campaign to engage the Muslim world.
Guests

Juan Cole, professor of modern Middle East history at the University of Michigan; his blog is “Informed Comment”

Damn Diane is stirring it up this morning. Bonuses and Juan Cole this morning.

Call in 800- 433-8850 or e mail your questions [email protected]


Raven | Monday March 23, 2009 06:44 am 61

Don’t I what, believe in capitalism or this there is a lot of room for disagreement? Yes.


cbl2 | Monday March 23, 2009 06:44 am 62
In response to selise @ 45

would be interesting to hear Kagro’s take on this – unfortunately, technical issues keep me from getting in to comments over at his place or Big Orange X~o

we also had a commenter here during poo-flinging season who was really up to speed on the inside baseball stuff – can’t recall her/his name right now…more coffee


phred | Monday March 23, 2009 06:44 am 63
In response to selise @ 45

We’re about the same age I think : ) Please let me know what you find out from the committees… They just have to start doing a better job of oversight.


Raven | Monday March 23, 2009 06:44 am 64
In response to Raven @ 61

that THERe is


selise | Monday March 23, 2009 06:44 am 65
In response to martha @ 44

will not shun, will just disagree. simon johnson had a great post on this (and better appearance on bill moyers) – about the necessity of confronting the oligarchs.

High Noon: Geithner v. The American Oligarchs

bill moyers


jayt | Monday March 23, 2009 06:45 am 66
In response to Raven @ 58

demi’s got a Hammond B-3?

Note To Self: Be very, very nice to Demi.

2d Note To Self: Ask Demi for driving directions to her place…..


demi | Monday March 23, 2009 06:46 am 67
In response to Raven @ 58

Mr. Demi just told me he’s got a video of that somewhere, from the 60’s. He said Steve Allen put together a collection.


selise | Monday March 23, 2009 06:46 am 68

no problem. just tax all income over a million at 90%.


RevBev | Monday March 23, 2009 06:46 am 69

Good Morning…and way OT…I have been on a FDL diet. but want to say. The woman, Roemer, I think who speaks for Obama. Can someone please volunteer to give her voice training? I had seen her speaking on the TV and heard again this am on the radio….she is way too shrill to be audible and poorly present for her boss. Elocution, please.


demi | Monday March 23, 2009 06:48 am 70
In response to jayt @ 66

Actually, the mister has Two! One’s in the garage. Yes, with the big Leslie speakers.
And, if you’re ever in LA, come on by.


alank | Monday March 23, 2009 06:49 am 71

I still think the reason AIG hasn’t gone the way of Bear Stearns is that it has some ineluctable ties to the government apart from bond trading with the Fed. Why else did they not see the same fate?


wigwam | Monday March 23, 2009 06:49 am 72

Per Brad DeLong (UC Berkeley):

Q: What is the Geithner Plan?

A: The Geithner Plan is a trillion-dollar operation by which the U.S. acts as the world’s largest hedge fund investor, committing its money to funds to buy up risky and distressed but probably fundamentally undervalued assets and, as patient capital, holding them either until maturity or until markets recover so that risk discounts are normal and it can sell them off–in either case at an immense profit.

Q: What if markets never recover, the assets are not fundamentally undervalued, and even when held to maturity the government doesn’t make back its money?

A: Then we have worse things to worry about than government losses on TARP-program money–for we are then in a world in which the only things that have value are bottled water, sewing needles, and ammunition.

The market collapse was occasioned by the bursting of the real-estate bubble, which burst the value of the real-estate backed CDOs. What Professor DeLong seems to be saying is that, unless that bubble returns, which IMHO is unlikely any time soon, civilization as we know it is at an end. Maybe so, but economic plans that are based on real-estate prices returning to their bubble levels seem like folly to me.


oldgold | Monday March 23, 2009 06:49 am 73

If FDL is bringing in people to talk about TALF, I hope we get to hear some supportive
voices. They are out there. For instance, Brad DeLong has some good things to say about it.

http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/…..n-faq.html


jayt | Monday March 23, 2009 06:49 am 74
In response to selise @ 68

no problem. just tax all income over a million at 90%.

Ouch.

That’s gonna hurt me.

Some day.

Maybe.

heh.


martha | Monday March 23, 2009 06:50 am 75
In response to barbara @ 53

Thanks. I think this is one of those situations where the choices are bad, worse, and terrible. And it involves multiple elements to fix the problem. So sometimes you have to do things, and work with people, you hate. I completely get that. But he’s got some really big things to accomplish that I think many of us want (energy, healthcare)–and if he doesn’t have the support of the financial community, it won’t happen. So, he’s got to get them into the tent. Even though some of them are scumbags with no clue about the real world or ethics, etc. Sometimes it sucks to be a mature adult.


alank | Monday March 23, 2009 06:50 am 76

…bond trading with the Treasury, I mean…


barbara | Monday March 23, 2009 06:51 am 77

What’s driving my bus lately is that I want my country back, and I have a growing awareness that that’s just not going to happen. Somewhere between Pandora’s Box and Humpty Dumpty is the truth. And for those of us (raises hand) who are not economic guri, all of this has a huge overlay and undercurrent of helplessness. What’s different in this era is that people are feeling f’d over, don’t really understand the mechanics of the f*k, and are too poor to have a cigarette afterwards.


Raven | Monday March 23, 2009 06:51 am 78
In response to demi @ 67

schmock schmock


Praedor | Monday March 23, 2009 06:52 am 79

One thing that congress can and should do right away is write a funding bill for the FDIC that includes a ban on using FDIC funds for ANYTHING other than insuring bank deposits. This would prevent poisoning the FDIC mission with the upward theft of taxpayer dollars to the wealthy sought by Obama/Geithner.


selise | Monday March 23, 2009 06:52 am 80
In response to Raven @ 48

lots of people here and lots of different ideas.

personally, i don’t “believe in” any particular economic system and am pretty tired of the religious-type faith people put into various systems. i mean, how can someone say they don’t understand economics and then say they believe in one system or another?


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 06:52 am 81
In response to oldgold @ 73

We’ve reached out to a lot of people to come and talk about all of this — what you see are the folks who are more firmly scheduled. There may be more, but they have to agree to come and also have time to do so. THAT is not an easy thing to manage, let me tell you — trying to get all of this going at one time takes a LOT of work.

But we’re working on trying to get a number of views — we always do — although it doesn’t always end up exactly mixed as we’d like because we cannot control other people’s schedules or ability to participate outside their other myriad obligations. Which, I think, most folks understand up front, don’t they?


jayt | Monday March 23, 2009 06:52 am 82
In response to demi @ 70

3d Note To Self: Add Mr. Demi to list of people I wanna hang out with…..


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 06:54 am 83
In response to martha @ 75

Obama pretty much said that in his 60 minutes interview at one point — that the bulk of the things he’s dealing with now were problems created years ago and not of his doing, and that far too often he’s faced with decisions that involve “bad” and “worse.” Don’t envy the job for him at the moment given how dire so many things are all at one time on his plate…


nomolos | Monday March 23, 2009 06:55 am 84
In response to alank @ 71

Paulson and Goldman Sachs


Praedor | Monday March 23, 2009 06:55 am 85
In response to wigwam @ 72

Bubbles cannot be encouraged. Ever. They ALWAYS pop.

If one looks at the median value of homes from as far back as you wish to go, you will see that the recent housing bubble was truly and astoundingly huge and impossible to maintain. It shot up home prices/values astronomically. The baseline value has always (ALWAYS) been roughly flat. The recent bubble was an Olympus Mons anomaly. It cannot and MUST not be re-inflated. It can only pop yet again with US holding the bag this time 100% instead of hedge funds and criminal, unaccountable banks.


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 06:58 am 86
In response to Praedor @ 85

Obama talked about that last week, actually, that we have to move away from a bubble economy to a more stable economy predicated on long-term growth and steadier creation of value rather than relying solely on finance-driven ephemera to pull our bacon out of the fire this time. It’s what his speech last week was all about from the Rose Garden…let me find the link, I tried to liveblog the bulk of it for everyone.


demi | Monday March 23, 2009 06:59 am 87

I actually just moved that envelope to the inside of the bench. Don’t want to accidently throw it out when I occasionally straighten up all the stuff on the organ.
Mr. Demi is one very cool dude, but he’s kind of messy.


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 06:59 am 88

Here we go — it was the speech on Wednesday from the Rose Garden just before he flew out to CA. Full transcript here for the most part, although I had a little dachshund interruptus when FedEx delivered a package near the end of the questions.


barbara | Monday March 23, 2009 06:59 am 89
In response to martha @ 75

I hear ya. And it’s hard to be patient when you and your country are hemorrhaging money with no visible end in sight. That, while watching upper-echelon dollar-magnets continue to take their rake-offs, apparently with “our” blessing. Obama is not stupid. He is faced with saving the nation while debating whether he wants a second term. My thought? Just do the right thing.


selise | Monday March 23, 2009 07:00 am 90
In response to wigwam @ 72

i stopped reading delong about 5 years ago. his defense of “free trade” was bad enough, but his defense of unregulated capital flow (speculative $) as part of globalization of financial services industry deregulation came down to stiglitz had said something not very nice about a friend therefore stiglitz was wrong.

blech. imo delong is a defender of the establishment status quo.


foothillsmike | Monday March 23, 2009 07:00 am 91
In response to jayt @ 74

just tax all income over a million at 90%.

Ouch.

As long as it is indexed so that when the inflation hits and we, like Ethiopia, are printing ten million dollar bills aren’t paying 90%


selise | Monday March 23, 2009 07:02 am 92
In response to demi @ 29

oops sorry i missed your reply. completely agree. and the ones who aren’t chatting have left the room. pathetic.


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 07:02 am 93
In response to selise @ 90

I think that’s not quite right about Brad — who has been fairly cranky about a number of aspects of the current planning that have no real footing. I don’t always agree with where his analysis lands, but I find gleaning multiple perspectives on all of this — including the WSJ on occasion — to be a useful testing of my own perceptions, frankly.

But maybe that’s just me.


Praedor | Monday March 23, 2009 07:03 am 94

I realize he SAID that but his actions are in direct opposition to his statement. The TALF is entirely based upon inflating a bubble on the crappy assets. It is entirely about paying more than they are actually worth and leaving us holding the bag.

Obama is blowing it big time. He is expending all his “political capital” and support on saving the rich from having to dump mansions and concubines, making it highly unlikely that he will get anything else through. He is wedded to the Washington Consensus even though it has repeatedly and spectacularly demonstrated itself to be an utter, ruinous failure.


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 07:04 am 95
In response to Praedor @ 94

You may have realized he said that, but other folks might not have — which is why I lined up the transcript as a reference point.


demi | Monday March 23, 2009 07:05 am 96
In response to selise @ 92

It really speaks to how little they care, doesn’t it?
Seriously, there will be more critically thought out questions here at the Lake this week in the upcoming special threads on all of this.


demi | Monday March 23, 2009 07:06 am 97
In response to Raven @ 78

What you talking about, Willis?


cbl2 | Monday March 23, 2009 07:06 am 98

the Market’s waaay up this morning – allowing the simpletons of the chatterai the oppty to tell us all how good Geitner’s proposal must be – do I dare flip to CNBC and risk seeing Kudlow humping Timmy’s leg ??

blerrghh


Knut | Monday March 23, 2009 07:06 am 99

Bonjours les pups, from Paris. Have been out of the circuit for a few days and didn’t get to see Obama’s 60 minutes. I think the problem remains concern with liquidity. Whether that concern is merited is something people who know how the banking system currently works are going to have to explain to us. Stiglitz and Krugman say no; Summers and Geithner say yes. One things sure, the aftermath of the Lehman bankruptcy really spooked the inner circle. Obama is not trained to decide on this issue, especially when there are competent people on both sides of the fence.

For what it’s worth, I’ve come to the conclusion that Summer’s has a very good conventional mind, with emphasis on conventional. Not a good combination in times like these.


alank | Monday March 23, 2009 07:07 am 100
In response to nomolos @ 84

I’ve found it instructive to delve back to 2007 when naiveté was still the order of the day wrt the looming crisis. For example, this item is rather presaging and perspective forming.


oldgold | Monday March 23, 2009 07:08 am 101

A crater can distort values in a manner similar to a bubble.

In the 80’s we had a farm real estate bubble. Farm real estate
soared to $3500/acre. It popped and the market cratered. Within a few months you couldn’t get a bid at $750/acre. Economic chaos followed.

Both the $3500 and the $750 values were way wide of the lands actual value.
Today, I think these assets are being undervalued like the $750/acre farm land.


wigwam | Monday March 23, 2009 07:08 am 102
In response to oldgold @ 73

Paul Krugman has responded to DeLong’s support of Geithner:

Brad treats the prospect that assets purchased by public-private partnership will fall enough in value to wipe out the equity as unlikely. But it isn’t: the whole point about toxic waste is that nobody knows what it’s worth, so it’s highly likely that it will turn out to be worth 15 percent less than the purchase price. You might say that we know that the stuff is undervalued; actually, I don’t think we know that. And anyway, the whole point of the program is to push prices up to the point where we don’t know that it’s undervalued.

So default on those non-recourse loans is a substantial possibility, which means that there is a large implicit subsidy involved. That’s why Christie Romer’s claim that we’re relying on the “expertise of the market” rings so hollow: we’re giving investors a big subsidy, so this has nothing to do with letting markets work.

As DeLong notes, Geithner’s plan is based on market recovery. IMHO, “market recovery” for real-estate backed CDO, requires bubble recovery for real estate, and that’s unlikely to happen for a few decades.


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 07:08 am 103
In response to cbl2 @ 98

It’s way up for the moment — but give folks time to fully digest the Geithner plan and we”l see if the “irrational exuberance” remains. *g* ‘Tis the way of the market to jump out front and then pull back once details sink in a lot of the time. We’ll see — devil is always in the details.


Praedor | Monday March 23, 2009 07:09 am 104
In response to barbara @ 89

Well, one thing Obama could do to diminish the anger would be to demonstrate that he is truly serious about changing corporate greed into public good. At Salon is a front-page article by Conason about REALLY clawing back corporate monies by going full force against the tax havens that 100% of all US corporations use to hide untold billions in untaxed, unreported cash. Go after that and I will give more slack on the theft from me upwards to Goldman Sachs.


Raven | Monday March 23, 2009 07:09 am 106
In response to demi @ 97

Schmock! – One of the silly phrases invented by the multi-talented Steve Allen during his early days on television. On the 1/26/87 broadcast of the TONIGHT SHOW on NBC guest host Patrick Duffy asked his guest Steve Allen, the inspiration behind that hilarious shrieking sound which he often shouted out while on camera. Steve said he derived the phrase from the stock beginnings of jungle movies. He noted each movie had mandatory scenes of a boat moving down a river, alligators slithering into the water, monkeys chattering in the tree tops, followed by the sound of tropic birds shrieking… Schmock! Schmock! Steve Allen also invented the classic saying, “Is it bigger than a bread box?” while attempting to determine the identity of a contestant on the quiz panel show WHAT’S MY LINE/CBS/1950-67/SYN/1968-75.


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 07:10 am 107
In response to oldgold @ 101

And will be undervalued for a while until things even back out again. They usually do — it’s a matter of how long folks can afford to wait for that to happen — and that’s an individual timeframe evaluation for each person, isn’t it?


Praedor | Monday March 23, 2009 07:12 am 108

Realestate values are NOT cratered yet. We haven’t even gotten back to the LONG-term baseline, let alone fallen below it. Values have to go down to around what they were in 2000 before we are near the normal baseline (ie, to the value they had before the bubble took off).


selise | Monday March 23, 2009 07:12 am 109
In response to wigwam @ 72

the comments especially are not to be missed:

delong 2003

delong 2009

of course this doesn’t mean delong is wrong now about geithner’s plan (i think he is, but that’s a different argument). this is just the kind of bs i got tired of reading from delong.


cbl2 | Monday March 23, 2009 07:13 am 110

gotcha – was just disgusted at the thought of the, forgive me, circle jerk that is to come (no pun intended of course) :D


martha | Monday March 23, 2009 07:14 am 111

Yep, I thought he was effective at conveying that. I also loved his restrained but direct slap-down at Cheney. Wow. That was great. I also hope that he can continue making people understand that problems like the economic mess cannot be solved in a week. We are all so ADD–we want what we want NOW–but he (no one actually) can make it better. Even forcing every bad bank into bankruptcy or nationalizing everything tomorrow (or yesterday) wouldn’t make everything better tomorrow. Unfortunately.


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 07:14 am 112
In response to cbl2 @ 110

There will always be circle jerks. The key is to recognize them for what they are and move on. *G* That’s the harder part…


demi | Monday March 23, 2009 07:15 am 113
In response to Raven @ 106

Thanks. I remember now. Have you ever read his poems? Why do poets stick up their nose at crows?


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 07:15 am 114
In response to martha @ 111

The Cheney smack was exceptionally done — and I hope to have more on that later today if I can get time between a run to the store and FIL pick-up from dialysis.


Raven | Monday March 23, 2009 07:15 am 115
In response to Praedor @ 108

You mean right where it was when I bought this house??? Yipeee.


TheShadowKnows | Monday March 23, 2009 07:17 am 116

Weekend at Tim’s.

or

Blanche DuGeithner, seeking the kindness of billionaire bankers.

Good Luck with that, Blanche.


Praedor | Monday March 23, 2009 07:17 am 117
In response to Raven @ 115

Just before the time when I bought my house (so mine is probably slightly over-par, but then again, my house is a specialty market house – a horse property, so it doesn’t compete with general housing).


wigwam | Monday March 23, 2009 07:18 am 118
In response to selise @ 90

Thanks, selise. I never paid attention to him, but his post supporting Geithner’s plan, strikes me as nonsense. But I’m obviously missing something. DeLong speaks of:

… funds to buy up risky and distressed but probably fundamentally undervalued assets and, as patient capital, holding them either until maturity or until markets recover so that risk discounts are normal and it can sell them off–in either case at an immense profit.

I thought that the toxic misunderstood assets were CDOs collateralized by home mortgages. What does it mean to hold such a CDO to “maturity”?


Leen | Monday March 23, 2009 07:18 am 119
In response to Raven @ 106

Loved Steve Allen

What was that program that he hosted on Sunday’s where actors played historical characters? Watched that show as a kid


selise | Monday March 23, 2009 07:19 am 121

i read lots of people. have for years. just quoted an ex-imf economist upthread (btw, i hate, really hate, what the imf has done to developing countries).

and i used to read delong although i didn’t agree with his “free trade” nonsense. but it was his petty stupid defense of status quo establishment insiderism that finally was just too much.


Praedor | Monday March 23, 2009 07:21 am 122

Here is housing data going back a century. Pretty flat, with noise, on average with a monster peak only recently.


selise | Monday March 23, 2009 07:23 am 123
In response to wigwam @ 118

maybe 30 years?

don’t know. but i do think delong is writing nonsense. well, unless one thinks the bubble economy based on the financial services industry is a good thing.


demi | Monday March 23, 2009 07:23 am 124

Another reason I wish I were your for reals, as in physical, neighbor. I’d help out with errands sometimes, so you could do that voodoo that you do.
Have I told you (pups) lately that I love you?
It’s hard to find a lot of intelligent, caring, clever, witty and Nice friends like all y’all.


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 07:24 am 125
In response to demi @ 124

Was thinking this weekend that I could use a clone. LOL One of me for errands and housework and little things, and the other of me for time with The Peanut and a bit of work here and there.


cbl2 | Monday March 23, 2009 07:26 am 126

and I wonder if any of the folks around him have argued that edge of the coin?

had one of those slaps forehead moments on saturday when firedog Cujo reminded us of the “I can handle differing opinions around me” talking point employed in the campaign and post inaugural period – zero proof of same at least in ‘optics’

at a minimum they should be employing Volcker in a good cop/bad cop scenario

am more than little disappointed in Axelrod at the moment


selise | Monday March 23, 2009 07:27 am 127
In response to Knut @ 99

bonjour!

very jealous and hope you are having a great trip.

summers has helped kill millions of people with his economic policies and it looks like he’s trying to do it again.

larry summers must be fired. now.


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 07:27 am 128

Awwwww…I put some peanuts out on the ground below my feeder this morning to try and dissuade the squrrels from tipping my feeder over to get at the seeds inside. There are two little grey squirrels below the feeder just placidly muching away and one just shared a peanut with the other. Very cute…although the little buggers are still on my list for tipping over my seeds last week.

O.o


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 07:28 am 129
In response to cbl2 @ 126

Axelrod’s job is not to publicly disagree. Whatever he may be saying privately, it is not his job to do so publicly. Ya know? He’s like Toby on West Wing but with a smoother veneer.


wigwam | Monday March 23, 2009 07:28 am 130
In response to Praedor @ 120

Thanks, Praedor. That’s exactly what I was looking for about an hour ago.

Geithner’s plan seems to require a return of the bubble, which seems nuts.


selise | Monday March 23, 2009 07:29 am 131

off to make coffee and phone calls. will report back if i hear anything of interest.


demi | Monday March 23, 2009 07:29 am 132

I believe Barbar Steisand sang “I wish I had the perfect twin. One to go out as I come in.”
Imagine if we all lived near each other. The gardens, the potlucks, the Discussions, and music!


oldgold | Monday March 23, 2009 07:32 am 133

In suggesting that voices supporting TALF be heard, like DeLong, I was not suggesting that I agreed with him. Rather, I was suggesting that in any discussion of a complex issue, it is enriching to hear both sides. Now, is that such a radical idea?

Of course, as Christi pointed out, it isn’t easy to get people to do forums. I understand that and appreciate the hard work people do here to allow us to hear interesting voices. For instance, this weekend I enjoyed hearing from Juan Cole and John Anderson. This is a great place.


wigwam | Monday March 23, 2009 07:34 am 134
In response to oldgold @ 133

Rather, I was suggesting that in any discussion of a complex issue, it is enriching to hear both sides.

Agreed.


Raven | Monday March 23, 2009 07:34 am 135
In response to Praedor @ 117

And I’m in a college town so we are a little better off.


cbl2 | Monday March 23, 2009 07:36 am 136

I was referring to him in his capacity as spin meister, not as spokesperson.

was disappointed in his tin eared ‘folks aren’t talking about AIG’ crap last week


demi | Monday March 23, 2009 07:36 am 137
In response to Leen @ 119

Was it Meeting Of The Minds? Something like that.


Raven | Monday March 23, 2009 07:36 am 138
In response to Leen @ 119

From 1977 to 1981, Allen was the producer of the award-winning PBS series, Meeting of Minds, a “talk show” with actors playing the parts of notable historical figures and Steve Allen as the host.


foothillsmike | Monday March 23, 2009 07:37 am 139

I had some of those little buggers crawl up into the engine of my car this past winter, nest and eat the insulation off the elect. wires. Cost me $500 to get it reworked Grrrrrrrrrr.


Leen | Monday March 23, 2009 07:43 am 140
In response to Raven @ 138

there’s the name.


barbara | Monday March 23, 2009 07:56 am 141
In response to demi @ 137

This also reminds me of an old, old Steve-Allenless show called, “You Are There,” which involved interviews with historic figures in the midst of whatever action was the scene du jour, e.g., Gettysburg, crossing the Delaware, the Hindenburg, etc.


demi | Monday March 23, 2009 08:07 am 142
In response to barbara @ 141

Hey, ya, Barbara. If I don’t see you later, have a great day.


kyeo | Monday March 23, 2009 08:08 am 143

“I can’t help but wonder if that might be part of the point — spending Obama’s political capital needlessly so that the tough re-regulation fight has a slimmer chance.”

I find the idea that Obama is willfully undercutting his own tough talk on regulation to further ingratiate himself with Wall Street to be a highly dubious one.


abba1943 | Monday March 23, 2009 08:15 am 144

Looks to me like we’re playing Republicans – we’re ODing on principal and forgetting what the task at hand is. We need to clear the non-performing assets off bank balance sheets in order to get the banking system working again, and as quickly as possible.

We all agree that no president ever got handed a worse economy than Bush dumped on Obama (no president ever got handed a ten pounds of s*it in a five pound burning bag like W handed Obama). Clearly Geithner was mixed up in creating a part of the mess. But my guess is that Paulson was the chef, Geithner only the sous chef. Now Geithner has to undo whatever he can as fast as he can.

That the non-performing assets have to be moved out of bank portfolios is beyond doubt. The primary issue is to establish the value(s) at which this happens. The high value is what the banks’ dream about what the portfolios are worth, what they would like to get for the mess they created by over leveraging to acquire assets on which they did insufficient due diligence. The low number is what they are insured for (I have to believe that if the government is funding the majority of the purchase in a transaction in which taxpayers take any loss, there has been a base value established, and it may be possible to reduce, maybe even eliminate, the insurance. This, in turn, may obviate the need to have companies such as AIG pay claims to Goldman and others that own the portfolios of non-performing loans.).

So while we’re all upset with the arrogance of “Wall Street,” we need to manage that feeling in order to solve the real problem. As we vent our anger, those of us who live in Connecticut, particularly in Fairfield County (where a group sponsored a bus tour of AIG exec’s houses last weekend, much like the Hollywood houses of the starts tours), can deal with the fact that AIG plans to close their Financial Products Division headquarters in Wilton. Whether there is a cause and effect relationship relating to our Attorney General – who is typically an excellent barometer of the public interest – subpoenaing their CEO and other bonus recipients is not at all clear, and easy as it is to say “good riddance,” the fact is that they are high income employees who own large homes, both of which yield big bucks for local and state tax collectors.


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 08:30 am 145
In response to kyeo @ 143

I wasn’t talking about it being Obama’s idea — rather, that it was advisors who were too close to Wall Street. I find the idea that Obama would be deliberately doing it dubious as well. If that was unlcear, I apologize, but if you read the preceding section with that in mind, I think you’ll see that’s how I intended it.


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 08:34 am 146

And, more specifically, I’m talking folks like Larry Summers who is partially to blame for being the architect of a lot of the deregulation which created the ability to create these big shitpiles in the first place. If I was confident that Summers had learned valuable lessons on what not to do, I’d feel better about his proximty — but I do not think he has, based on his innumerable public statements of late, including his most recent Sunday gabfest appearances.


selise | Monday March 23, 2009 08:36 am 147

based on past actions, is there any reason to think summers is better than gramm? serious question because i don’t see it.


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 08:40 am 148
In response to selise @ 147

Honestly, I don’t know the answer to that. I know exactly what I think about Gramm — Summers is more complex, so that’s a tougher answer from my perspective. Mainly because I know so much more about Gramm, and so much less by comparison about Summers at this point.


selise | Monday March 23, 2009 08:49 am 149

that was why i never understood your focus on gramm when as far as i could see rubin and summers were no better.


selise | Monday March 23, 2009 08:50 am 150

p.s. i got through to senate banking and am waiting for a call back from house finance. will leave a note summarizing the info i got on hearings, etc.


Leen | Monday March 23, 2009 09:02 am 151

After Obama’s warning I just keep thinking the men and women in black will knock on AIG’s door late in the evening and open up the next morning with totally new owners. Or is owning 80% enough?


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 09:08 am 152

Fresh posty goodness up top for folks who want it…


kyeo | Monday March 23, 2009 09:10 am 153

So you think Obama’s own advisors are attempting to undercut his own agenda? I find that pretty unlikely as well; they’d have to think Obama was stupid in that case, which I don’t think anyone does. I certainly think there’s an argument to be made that Geithner and Summers are too short-sighted and too aligned with Wall Street to see the larger picture, but I doubt very much that either of them are engaged in deliberate sabotage.


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday March 23, 2009 09:14 am 154
In response to kyeo @ 153

Deliberate? Maybe. Indirect through blindsided loyalties? Perhaps. Digging in on a plan not of their making because they don’t want to admit they were wrong? Very possible.

Whatever the root cause of it — what I’d like to think is that they have the ability to turn around and question what they are doing to make it better. But thus far, I haven’t seen nearly enough of that on anything — and that, more than anything, worries the hell out of me.


tejanarusa | Monday March 23, 2009 11:21 am 155

Wow, they gave a Gridiron Dinner and nobody reported on it endlessly? The media really are dying off.

Seriously, I love the economic series plan. I’ll either be there live or catching up.

And to think I was going to ask if FDL had any ideas how to get through to our new President. I should have known.


smith9898 | Monday March 23, 2009 03:48 pm 156

I think given the plan offer by Geithner and Obama is a road to failure,but Obama seems to be blinded by this plan which is rehash of Bush Paulson plan. I think Paul Krugman is right in his assessment of the Obama plan,but none of the economic team are listening. The question is what do we do and the answer is? First get back all of the bonus money back from all parties that took TARP money. Secondly craft the regulations needed to insure that we the taxpayers get back all of our money period. We need to call for the resignation of the entire economic team cause they do not know what they are doing. We need to call,email the entire congress to not pass this new bailout plan. We need to call the Whitehouse to let Obama know he going in the wrong direction.


selise | Monday March 23, 2009 04:38 pm 157
In response to selise @ 150

late follow up…. i did finally get to talk with someone at both the senate banking and house financial services committees about the rules regarding who could ask questions at the hearings. in both cases there is no impediment to appointing committee counsel (or some other staff) to question the witnesses on behalf of the committee. this issue also came up in thread just now with william black (great thread btw).


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