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No Tough Love for Wall Street

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Posted on Feb 10, 2009
Geithner
AP photo / Lawrence Jackson

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner stands tight-lipped during a press conference at which he outlined the administration’s plan for economic recovery. The briefing was held Tuesday at the Treasury Department in Washington.

By Robert Scheer

What an insipid anticlimax! Rising to “a challenge more complex than our financial system has ever faced,” Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner promised on Tuesday to give trillions more to the very folks who profited from that malignant complexity. For all the brave talk about transparency and accountability in the banking bailout, he gave the swindlers who got us into this mess yet another blank check to buy up the “toxic assets” they gleefully created.

According to the Congressional Oversight Panel created by Congress to monitor the bailout, the Bush Treasury Department overpaid by $78 billion of our money in the first 10 purchases of those assets. Yet Geithner tells us “Congress acted quickly and courageously” in throwing that money at Wall Street without requiring any accountability. At the same time, there is still no commitment to directly help what Geithner admits are the millions of homeowners already foreclosed out of their homes, with millions more to come. The leaks from Treasury promise that $50 billion will eventually be allocated directly to helping homeowners, which is a day late and a dollar short in chump change compared to the trillion dollars that Geithner on Tuesday committed to the purchase of more bad bank debt. 

The Geithner speech betrayed the buildup to it offered by President Obama in his press conference the day before. I was such a sucker I found myself cheering at almost every line, agreeing that Republicans acted with total irresponsibility in opposing Obama’s plan to stimulate an economy that was wrecked on their watch. But then came the hangover reality of Geithner’s talk. Instead of the promised transparency we were treated to yet another “trust Big Brother” hustle.

How wonderful that Geithner, who as head of the New York Federal Reserve was in on the first wasted $350 billion, now promises a brand new Web site to help us taxpayers follow the action. It means nothing, given that he specifically ruled out any of the serious means of holding Wall Street accountable. 

The New York Times got it right: “… the plan largely repeats the Bush administration’s approach of deferring to many of the same companies and executives who had peddled risky loans and investments at the heart of the crisis. …” Geithner and White House economic czar Lawrence Summers won out over David Axelrod and other Obama advisers more loyal to the wishes of grass-roots voters; “… as intended by Mr. Geithner, the plan stops short of intruding too significantly into bankers’ affairs even as they come onto the public dole.” 

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The word dole is usually applied heartlessly to welfare mothers sustained in their dire poverty by meager government handouts, not to the top bankers now ripping off the taxpayers. But as opposed to welfare mothers, who must survive stringent monitoring, the bankers will be largely self-monitoring. No wonder that welfare rolls, because of onerous eligibility rules, are not rising commensurate to the degree of misery out there. There is no such tough love for bankers.

Much has been made of the proposed $500,000 pay cap that applies only to the most senior executives, who, rest assured, have already salted away massive fortunes made while hustling unsuspecting consumers with teaser loans. But there is nothing from Geithner about replacing those top executives, who presided over the disintegration of financial institutions that the taxpayers must now salvage. Nor is there any “moral hazard” pain planned for the shareholders in those Ponzi-scheme companies of the sort reserved for ordinary folks losing their homes.

Believe it or not, I fully expected this morning to write a cheerleading column hailing Geithner’s reversal of course. Surely the man who as head of the New York Fed sat idly by while the Wall Street giants he was supposed to be monitoring imploded would have learned the error of his ways. Otherwise why would Obama have appointed him?

I don’t have the answer. The Obama of Monday’s press conference, a president in the tradition of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, seemingly deeply feeling the average person’s pain as he movingly speaks of the laid-off workers of Elkhart, Ind., was absent from the next day’s speech by his treasury secretary.

If like me you still get those chatty e-mails from the Obama campaign, it is time to remind them that we voted for the caring community organizer from the streets of Chicago and not some hack carrying water for the predators of Wall Street.  

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”


Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.



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By Bertil, February 12, 2009 at 1:18 pm Link to this comment

Paul Krugman and Kenneth Rogoff appearing on tv the night before last speculated that at least two of these large banks are already insolvent and that an audit will eventually prove this.  Well, if these banks are too big to fail, and at least two are already insolvent, doesn’t that mean that they have failed?
What Maximus Von Geithner will probably suggest is a large influx of cash to save these banks, kicking the can down the road so that we’ll find out later that these banks have failed.

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By Amon Drool, February 12, 2009 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

it looks like barackstar’s best and brightest apointees—geithner/summers on the economy and holbrooke on afghanistan—-may lead him to failure.  a chicago tribune reporter said that after barackstar’s 2004 speech at the democratic convention, he was seen later leaping in the air and exclaiming, “i’m a player!”  hey, fella, desperate times don’t need a player, they need a game changer.
______
if u can make it past the 1rst 3 paragraphs of anarcissie’s link, it really is a strong analysis of our world-wide economic situation and its possibilities.

_______
folktruther…as always, thx for the much needed humor…u is one boy who ain’t gonna develop an ulcer

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By mud, February 12, 2009 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment

No one wants to hear it. It just can’t be that bad.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSTt3wEDSbU

So keep reading TD’s pussy foot drivel and keep watching corporate funded PBS but do not watch or listen to anything by guys like Max Kieser because they are all evil doers.

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By P. T., February 12, 2009 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

What the Obama administration is trying to do is save Wall Street’s biggest bankers’ jobs and the banks’ owners.  If the administration did the obvious thing—what was done in the savings and loan crisis—and went through the banks’ books, wrote down the bad loans, declared the banks insolvent, and took them over, then the rich and powerful bankers and campaign contributors would be out of their jobs and out a lot of money.  They would be replaced by new management, the books straightened out, and the banks then sold off.

That must not happen, so we pour more money down a rat hole.

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By thebeerdoctor, February 12, 2009 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

re: Anarcissie

David Harvey’s assertion about FDR getting cold feet as it were, towards expanded deficit spending, after the 1936 election, and returning to a balanced budget approach, which only sent the country back into depression; this idea is completely ignored by present day Republican reactionaries, who now quote Henry Morgenthau Jr., to support the idea that “new deal spending does not work”. This is being repeated on a daily basis, to justify their ideological sloth. It is also cynically ironic that they quote Secretary Morgenthau, who was one of the chief architects of the post-WWII international economic system, that the GOP has complained about (until very recently) so vociferously, for so many years.

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By Anarcissie, February 12, 2009 at 11:01 am Link to this comment

Here is a better link to the story I linked to:
http://davidharvey.org/2009/02/why-the-us-stimulus-package-is-bound-to-fail/#more-201

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By chringram, February 12, 2009 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

The way to go is out there.  Krugman, a Nobel Economist has been laying out what needs to be done for close to 18 months.  He correctly predicted what would happen and has been sounding the alarm for almost 3 years.  He stands with a vast number of renowned economists, not idealogues all of whom have demanded that we temporarily nationalize the banks, deal directly with the mortgage crises, like FDR and pump billions upon billions to infrastructure, education, energy efficiency etc.  The plans are all out there and make sence.  President Obama’s Mr. G doesn’t like the word nationalize and wants to keep the system like it is even though it is terribly broken AND take massive amounts of money from the taxpayers to buy bad debt and shore up banks run by the people who created this problem!  Can’t you see that that doesn’t make sence!?  It is our job and duty to stand up and say NOOOOOOOOOOO!  Our President is a smart man.  I voted and campaigned for him.  It is my job as a citizen of this nation to fight for what I beleive is right.  That is what Democracy is all about.  If our President wants another term he must listen to the people who put him in office.  Instead he is listening to Mr. G, who is part of the problem and giveing deference to Republicans who want to make him fail.  When he allowed Holden to fight the court on hearing the rendation cases, I was crushed.  How could he do that? How could he maintain Bush’s horrific anti-democratic and anti-American policy! President Obama has a huge MANDATE!!!  He can call an emergency press conference and speak to the people directly and tell us how important it is to nationalze, reorganize and invest in our great nation.  Everyone would listen and act.  Instead he is giving mr. G all the power to protect his homies!!  Wake-up and call your congressional people.  I’m willing to march to show my support for our newly elected President and tell him what I think should happen.  Are you ready to march, communicate and at least try to bring your hopes and dreams to our President,or are you simply going to try to shut up those around you who disaggree with your opinions?

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By Folktruther, February 12, 2009 at 10:40 am Link to this comment

Louise, as a charter member of the Democrats Under Presidential Enchantment Society (DUPES) the sceptism that you encounter from nincompoops like ourselves must be diffiult for you.  We simply don’t uderstand the obvious Facts of the situation: OUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE, WE MUST GIVE MORE MONEY TO THE RICH TO PUT IT OUT.  The obvious solution of Geither, Summers and Obama, as it was of Bush.

Other altrenatives, such as giving money to people losing their houses, are not a solution at all to the DUPES. After all, how much money do they contribute to their leaders campaigns?  So it is obious, at least to the DUPES, that we have to give more money to the rich.

And truthdiggers just don’t understand that, do they Louise. But never fear.  There are still many more DUPES than there are irresponsible cynics who look askance at the bankers looting the public treasury in broad daylight.  So you still have an audience for those who do not yet realize that Obama is continuing the polices of the Bushites.

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By Leefeller, February 12, 2009 at 10:11 am Link to this comment

Smakings of socialism, me thinks. How about three strikes and then they are out?

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By truedigger3, February 12, 2009 at 10:07 am Link to this comment

Saving the banking system doesn’t require saving the
corrupt and outright thieves who caused this disasater.
Tha failed banks should be nationalized and put under
new management. The privately owned federal reserve bank should also be nationalized and the issuing of the country money should be in the hands of the governmnet.

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By Anarcissie, February 12, 2009 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

There is an interesting view of this subject here: http://www.marxmail.org/msg57224.html
(“David Harvey: why the stimulus package is bound to fail”).

This is a long article in the best high-density Marxist style, but I think its gist is clear: If we have the important structural problems that everyone seems to think we do, then the kind of small-time New New Deal flogging Obama and his Clintonoid retreads are trying to work just isn’t going to do the trick.  In fact, it well may be that the trick is not doable.

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By Leefeller, February 12, 2009 at 9:22 am Link to this comment

Louise,

Another point of view.  If the fire was caused by an alleged experts in fire prevention, I would be castrating them instead of rewarding them. 

Incompetence, greed, the selfish aloof attitudes of the who perpetuated this failure, should be dealt with as most of us would be. Follow the money trail. 

White collier crime has always been glossed over, look at the record. We may just be throwing money into the fire.

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By Louise, February 12, 2009 at 8:28 am Link to this comment

screamingpalm,

“Salvation or not it’s the plan we’re stuck with. I understand it’s a broad outline, but it’s the strategy that I disagree with.”

~~~

OK, what is it you don’t understand, that there is no plan, or that a broad outline is not a strategy?

Let me ask you a question.

If your house caught fire, which would you do first, try to put out the fire, or ignore the fire and try to figure out why it started?

I would try to put out the fire first, then [assuming I still had a house] find out the cause, correct it, remove it and pay attention so it doesn’t happen again.

Most folks don’t realize how close we came to a complete collapse of our financial system last year! Like the raging fire, it had to be addressed immediately. We threw money at the banks and slowed the fire. But there are still hot spots threatening to erupt into a massive fire once again. What Geithner did was identify the hot spots. He did not give us a plan for rebuilding the economy beyond mentioning the fire needs more water! Only when the fire is out once and for all, can we go in and correct and remove the cause of the fire!

Most people don’t realize if our financial system collapses, the entire banking system around the world will collapse! That cant be good, and that’s not something we want to happen. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want the whole world coming after us, looking for revenge! Especially if our entire society has collapsed, leaving us defenseless. So we need to put out the fire. Hopefully it isn’t to late and we can actually do that, but it does mean we have to poor more money on the banks. Once the banks are relatively stable we can go in and clean up the mess the greedy bastards have made. And don’t you think for one minute they don’t know who they are, what they have done and that they will be held accountable!

I know people are angry, and they have every right to be. But if we’re going to fix anything, the first thing we need to do is understand we cant until we put out the fire! Angry words wont do it. Ignoring the hot spots wont do it. Even a plan for correcting whatever led to the fire wont do it! Not until the fire is at the very least, under control!

Meanwhile all the Obama bashing in the world only serves to delay controlling the fire! Duh - why cant you people understand that? Maybe you don’t want to put out the fire! I don’t understand that either. But I do understand what other economists are saying, including some you have mentioned. We need MORE money pumped into the system, not less!

~~~

“I wonder if you have read or listened to alternative views to Geithner’s or just dismissing them outright.”

~~~

That observation clearly defines the disconnect so apparent here. You assume other views are alternate. When in fact views expressed by Geithner reflect an understanding of where we are and what we need to do first. There are many economists out there willing and able to identify cause and effect, and that is exactly what Geithner did! I think most economists agree - preventing a complete collapse of our financial institutions has to be first and foremost!

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By truedigger3, February 12, 2009 at 7:59 am Link to this comment

Louise wrote:

“I could say something like, closed minds are hard to open”
___________________________________________________

Louise,

Definitely you are talking about your mind which
is based on a thoroughly washed brain.
You are insisting on seeing what you are hoping for and not what is actually out there. So, keep
dreaming and fantasizing but hold the sarcasm because
you will make people laugh. That is laught at YOU.

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By Leefeller, February 12, 2009 at 7:36 am Link to this comment

Dole is a word used for it’s negativity, except when referring to pineapples.

Accountability has never been and may never be coming from government officials, for requirements of integrity would be more demanding of capabilities to their preferences.  They cannot help themselves, for as the illusionists they only deal in smoke and mirrors.

If anyone understands what they are doing, it is the persons pulling the strings, and will it not include greed?

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By thebeerdoctor, February 12, 2009 at 7:26 am Link to this comment

The bankers club remains firmly in place. The most that will become of this will be the highly publicized hearings in which elected officials are shocked (absolutely shocked!) that high stakes gambling was taking place. The Treasury Secretary’s job is to prevent anyone from the realization that these “too big to fail” banking institutions are holding assets that are worthless. $trillions will be printed up to deny this fact.

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By screamingpalm, February 12, 2009 at 6:40 am Link to this comment

Louise,

Salvation or not it’s the plan we’re stuck with. I understand it’s a broad outline, but it’s the strategy that I disagree with. While it’s nice to hear about oversight and accountability, I’d rather it be done behind closed doors and avoid throwing the entire burden on taxpayers.  Not only that, Geithner wants to delay the inevitable dealing with these toxic assets and insolvent institutions, which is going to cost taxpayers even more in the long run while rich investors, irresponsible hedge fund managers, et al attempt to recoup some of their losses. The price of transparency appears to be the continued socialism for Wall Street and capitalism for the rest.

I wonder if you have read or listened to alternative views to Geithner’s or just dismissing them outright.

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By Verne Arnold, February 12, 2009 at 6:39 am Link to this comment

The Bailout…
...is the attempt by the incompetent, to explain the incomprehensible, to the incapable. The incapable then believe the incompetent comprehend the unfathomable. In fact, the whole world is being led by idiots whom traverse paths they’ve never traveled and are too scared and ignorant to include us in the glorious adventure that is once in a life time.

http://whatintheworld-icarus.blogspot.com/

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By Louise, February 12, 2009 at 5:11 am Link to this comment

screamingpalm,

Then obviously you had decided pre-speech Geithner was going to deliver the plan for our salvation. You missed it, because that was not the purpose of his speech or testimony.

I could say something like, closed minds are hard to open, but in this case it feels more like a closed room full of brain farts!

Phewwy!

Someone open the window ... I’m outa here!

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By screamingpalm, February 12, 2009 at 1:41 am Link to this comment

Re: Louise, February 11 at 4:27 pm #

I’m curious, did any of you folks actually watch/listen to Geithner’s speech at the Treasury Department [beginning to end] yesterday? Did any of you actually watch/listen to Geithner testify before the Senate Banking Committee [beginning to end] yesterday?

****************************************************

I did, watched the whole excruciating thing on C-span. I also listened to brilliant economists such as Paul Krugman, James Galbraith and David Korten who I agree with much more than Geithner. Geithner sounded like he was paying lip-service to some of the outrage and criticism, while other parts of his language was frightening! Unless I misunderstood, it sounded like he was asking for a lifeline to the treasury. Hook an I.V. up from the Treasury to these Wall Street institutions.

oregoncharles: great post! I voted Nader, but I like McKinney and think she may be one of the ones to “carry the torch”. Nader will probably be to old to run again, so I think we missed our chance there.

“This is part of understanding the current Wall Street system, which is built around an illusion, the illusion that money is wealth, which then translates into the idea that people who are creating—or who are making money are in fact creating wealth. And what Wall Street has become extremely expert at is creating money out of nothing through financial bubbles, through pyramiding lending to create fictitious assets that become collateral for more bank lending, and then combining that with the predatory aspects of usurious lending and deceptive lending and the use of credit cards as a substitute for a living wage—all the games that Wall Street is playing. And it’s actually based on a philosophy that says we don’t need to produce anything as a country, if we can—you know, if we can do all this financial innovation that allows us to create financial assets without producing anything of real value.”
-David Korten

“...But so long as you’re dealing with the old management and so long as you’re dealing with the old practices and so long as you don’t have a clean audit of the books, the chances are that the bank is going to behave in ways which are not constructive, which do not contribute to the growth of the economy, and which leave all kinds of suspicions present in the system about the integrity of the institution and of the regulatory process. And that’s the problem the Treasury Department seems to be determined not to face.


And so long as it doesn’t face it, we’re not going to get out of this, and the Treasury Department is not contributing constructively to the success of the recovery plan, which the Congress is about to enact. And that will mean that the recovery plan itself will be, sort of after the fact, too small to deal the problem of unemployment, which is just growing at the rate of a half a million jobs a month.”
-James Galbraith

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By oregoncharles, February 11, 2009 at 10:15 pm Link to this comment

“we voted for the caring community organizer from the streets of Chicago and not some hack carrying water for the predators of Wall Street.”

Maybe I shouldn’t start with that quote; it leaves me a little speechless.

Could Scheer really be that naive?  Does he really think they’re different people?  Could I really be calling Robert Scheer naive?

Let me make one thing perfectly clear:  YOU may have voted for those two people, but I didn’t.  I voted for just one, Cynthia McKinney.  Just one person: that’s called “integrity.”

And I was told I “didn’t understand the real world”.  I was “hopelessly idealistic”, “living in an illusion.”  Now the shoe is on the other foot.

But I can’t be too smug, because I live here, like the rest of you.  so I was hoping it would turn out OK.

Now I’m hoping we have two years, and can deal with this at an election, because more and more people aren’t willing to wait that long.

Practically speechless.

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By Animal, February 11, 2009 at 9:44 pm Link to this comment

“Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Afghanistan will destroy Barack Obama’s presidency if he is not careful.”

If Obama has any brains and integrity, he’ll can Geithner and bring in someone who isn’t tainted by what’s been happening, someone, preferably an outsider with some fresh ideas.

We definitely don’t need somone like Sarah Palin or Jeb Bush in the White House in 2012.

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By Paul, February 11, 2009 at 9:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To people who think that all these bailouts are robbing our children, I would like to say that they are robbing baby boomers the most. Their retirement savings will worth nothing and they will not be able to find work either. The younger generation will loose from inflation much less and their earning will most likely rise with inflation.

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By P. T., February 11, 2009 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Afghanistan will destroy Barack Obama’s presidency if he is not careful.

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By Animal, February 11, 2009 at 9:10 pm Link to this comment

Re hark:
“But there’s nothing we can do.  All the wealth and power is in the hands of the perpetrators.”

Hark, there IS something we can do. We can take to the streets and DEMAND that the crooks responsible be put in jail, the banks nationalized, single payer health insurance…. It’s worked in Europe, there’s no reason it shouldn’t work here.

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By bg1, February 11, 2009 at 8:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Public bail out of the banks, by either purchase of “toxic assets”, or direct capital infusions, while keeping the same owners and managers in place, is THEFT, plain and simple.

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By bg1, February 11, 2009 at 8:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I tried to warn everybody that Obama’s just a DLC shill in new wrapping. Oh well.

I suppose the only thing left is for those who put him in power (those, such as the “progressives”, he deceptively used) to turn on him with a sustained vengeance.

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By Virginia777, February 11, 2009 at 7:14 pm Link to this comment

“It is time the nation woke up and recognized that it’s not the armed robbers or drug dealers who cause us the most economic harm, it’s the white collar criminals living in the most expensive homes [with] the most impressive resumes who harm us the most.”


—Harry Markopolos

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By Joe Carpenter, February 11, 2009 at 7:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The plan is incomplete.  The crisis started with the housing problem and Geithner’s plan does not address this issue any level.  Today the White House said they would get to the foreclosures soon.  Even Barney Frank was critical of the Geithner proposal.  The White House really needs to hit the ‘pause button’ and really analyze the options.  Obama wants to be viewed as proactive, and that’s great for his approval rating, but there is a difference between proactive politics and just plain reckless.

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By Skwid, February 11, 2009 at 5:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

wow. The inmates actually DO run the assylum.

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By Louise, February 11, 2009 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment

Shame on all of you. With your collective knowledge and incredible wisdom about all things financial, why haven’t you-all rushed to Washington DC and saved us all already?

This reminds me of a feeding frenzy in a fish bowl.

I’m curious, did any of you folks actually watch/listen to Geithner’s speech at the Treasury Department [beginning to end] yesterday? Did any of you actually watch/listen to Geithner testify before the Senate Banking Committee [beginning to end] yesterday?

I didn’t think so.

So much easier to browse for negative opinion based on, uh ... negative opinion, label yourself an expert and post something you know all the other posters will agree with, even if none of you have a clue what you’re postulating about. Most of you don’t even know the nature of the format Geithner presented in yesterday, or the intended purpose. Like much of mainstreammedia you seem to be laboring under the impression that yesterday Geithner presented Obama’s rescue plan! I certainly would have given Robert Scheer credit for having the wisdom to understand what yesterday was all about, but now it’s obvious, he didn’t either!

This was not a plan folks! It was a long overdue line-by-line explanation and the promise of a plan to come, based on the recognition of each line!

Are you all nincompoops?

That’s the only possible explanation for so much misanticipation, so much misunderstanding and so much misover-underestimating. Criminy folks! At least inform yourselves before you have your lynching!

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By Micah, February 11, 2009 at 5:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Everyone needs to put all the pressure they possibly can on their congressional reps and on the white house. No more money for Wall Street Bankers.

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By M.B.S.S., February 11, 2009 at 3:42 pm Link to this comment

bizzaro world bank robbery
the banks rob You!
oh wait, there is already a word for that:  Neoliberalism

as one of the millions of currently underemployed americans i spent yesterday off of work digitally surfing the “series of tubes”.  i wish i had the link but after turbotaxtimmy’s press conference was posted by the nyt there was a tremendous response by commenters.  i must admit that the populist outrage was as soothing to my ears as clanking coins are to a banker.  but the main impression i was left with was the incredible understanding of the scope, origins, and implications of the bailout.  there was no shortage of good ideas as well.  many more ideas coming from the bottom up than the top down, as usual.  and the potent, well directed emotion was striking as well.  der speigel reported that there is rioting in russia and china as we speak.  our elites had better watch themselves closely.  perhaps the fact that the dam hasnt broke yet with the americans only means that when it does it will be overwhealming.

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By dr wu, February 11, 2009 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment

Geithner looks and sounds awful—regardless of what he’s spouting. Needed is a can-do person, not one stuck in a Hamlet-like fog of uncertainty.

We need a pitchman (person)—some live wire who can inspire—not Geithner!

On the other hand, maybe capitalism is done for if Geithner is all they can come up with.

Fine with me. Let the good times roll!

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By Bertil, February 11, 2009 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment

By KDelphi, February 11 at 2:05 pm #
Great post.  Thanks for the summation and the links.

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By Hulk2008, February 11, 2009 at 3:12 pm Link to this comment

Re hark:
“But there’s nothing we can do.  All the wealth and power is in the hands of the perpetrators.”

Totally, desperately, dismally TRUE.  .... and the perpetrators (spell that perpe-TRAITORS) are aided and abetted by the GOP with only the most pathetic resistance by overpowered Dems.  Our rank-and-file “citizens” have swallowed the free trade unbridled-capitalism-at-all-costs kool-aid.  They nod in zombie-like agreement with Hannity and Rush and play “ain’t-it-awful” with O’Reilly. 

Dear USA, Welcome to the third world - a land of wealthy despots and warlords.  If anyone saw Obama’s Florida town hall meeting and the lady who pleaded for help (her entire homeless family is living in a single vehicle), you have seen our children’s future - permanent itinerant serfs working for the Neo Robber Barons.  When she spoke tearfully to the President, we did not see her color or educational background or family history - we saw our own dismal future.

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By KDelphi, February 11, 2009 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment

Dumb Dems.
..http://socialistworker.org/2009/02/11/more-of-our-money

“Economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, in his blog, called for an honest assessment. “Let’s be clear what this is: it is lemon socialism, pure and simple: socialized losses, privatized profits,” he wrote. “Is this really the best we can do?” The best course of action, Krugman argues, would be to temporarily nationalize the banks to stabilize the financial system.

What’s more, by putting potentially hundreds of billions of government dollars on the hook with unregulated hedge funds, the U.S. is sending huge amounts of money down a black hole, even though there’s barely been any accounting, let alone oversight, of the original TARP funds.”

Yet despite this huge transfer of wealth from working peoples’ tax money to finance capital, the façade of private ownership remains. This fiction is deemed necessary to preserve the sacred myths of U.S. free-enterprise capitalism—and, more importantly, to help Wall Street avoid political accountability for their actions.

“The banks should be nationalized—but without compensation to shareholders. Bankers and finance capitalists bear huge responsibility for the rapidly worsening world slump and shouldn’t be allowed to keep their jobs. The banks should be placed under democratic and social control. This would be a step toward remaking the economy in the interests of working people.”


All the while, the Dems gave Susan Collins, Nelson and Lieberman and other Wall St pleasers,“kings for a day” status, and drastically cut funds to the states, to health care and to education, in the Stimulus Plan. They also increased the tax cuts.

Twice the Jobs at Half the Cost! I also have some oceanfront property in Arizona I’d like to sell you at great new loan rates.

http://www.propublica.org/special/the-stimulus-bills-house-vs.-senate


Some GOP had their priorities inserted and then didnt vote for the “compromise” (bait and switch as predicted) This was as of Feb. 10th (the details are at the link)
Aid to Low-Income Families Total $124,186,000,000 $97,230,900,000 ?$26,955,100,000
Aid to States Total $172,500,000,000 $134,840,000,000 ?$37,660,000,000
Education Total $68,456,000,000 $42,850,000,000 ?$25,606,000,000
Energy Total $53,650,000,000 $38,963,000,000 ?$14,687,000,000 (fossil fuels up, most others down)
Health Care Total $26,750,000,000 $19,191,000,000 ?$7,559,000,000
Tax Cuts Total $282,284,000,000 $358,162,000,000 ?$75,878,000,000
Transportation and Infrastructure Total $80,604,000,000 $85,090,000,000 ?$4,486,000,000

http://www.propublica.org/special/the-stimulus-bills-house-vs.-senate

Democrats…whats the point?

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By Amon Drool, February 11, 2009 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment

respected financial analyst nouriel roubini says citi bank and bank of america are most likely insolvent.  he views wells fargo and jp morgan with some hope, but thinks insolvency could spread to them if some of this funny money rot isn’t cleaned out quickly.  stiglitz, baker, galbraith, william seidman (who competently handled th s&l mess) and many other economists all agree that some of the big banks have to go into receivership.  let the fdic do its thing and not prolong the inevitable.  why in the world barackstar is going along with deer-in-the-headlights timmy jerry-built plan is beyond me.

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By truedigger3, February 11, 2009 at 2:24 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Scheer,

You wrote:
“we voted for the caring community organizer from the streets of Chicago and not some hack carrying water for the predators of Wall Street.”

Well, many people wrote during the election campaign and warned that Obama is a fraud and not what he pretends to be. They said he is just another war
monger and a lackey to Wall Street and big business.
They were dismissed indignantley by the so called progressives.
It is obvious now that Obama is a big disappointment
and his primary objective is to save Wall St. banks’
shareholders at the expense of everything and everyone else. So don’t expect transparency or accontability because knowing what is really going
on will get everyone real angry and furious.
Expect make-belief measures and a lot of bullshitting.

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By michael roloff, February 11, 2009 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think my socialist friends have the clearest view of the matter:

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2009/feb2009/bail-f11.shtml

The plan will not only inject tens of billions of additional dollars into financial firms, but also use Treasury funds and Federal Reserve loans to offload worthless bank assets onto the public by means of a so-called Public-Private Investment Fund.

The third major aspect of the plan announced by Geithner is a vast expansion of a program announced by the Fed last November to provide cheap loans and subsidies to hedge funds, private equity firms and other speculators to encourage them to buy bank securities backed by auto loans, credit card debt, student loans, commercial real estate and small business loans….
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2009/feb2009/bail-f11.shtml

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By mill, February 11, 2009 at 1:25 pm Link to this comment

Timothy Geithner is definitely part of the problem.  As Mr. Scheer has tried to push,  it’s time we quit using Wall Street insiders to fix things - they can’t see beyond their own selfish ways, period.

There are plenty of smart people who don’t allow bonuses for f-cking up a company .... if we have to fire every executive on Wall Street to get there we should start today, with the mistaken appointmen to Treasury Secretary, and then go through every firm who received taxpayer money .... freeze all pay, cap all salaries to under 400K, then fire anybody who was in charge from 2003-2009.

THEN we can re-establish capital markets in the US ... with fresh, less-tainted talent.

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By Bertil, February 11, 2009 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment

Obama’s cry, “I’m looking ahead.  I’m not looking behind.” is just another way of saying that he wants us to pretend that we were born last night.  To see the future of the US just look eastward to Israel’s election, “Lieberman’s anti-Arab ideology wins over Israel’s teens” in Haaretz.com. 
Obama’s election seemed to put to rest the racist nature of the US, but he might be just a prop for the Bankers who sort of define themselves as beyond good and evil.  Lacking in any creative solutions to the problems of the day or even in any advertising approach to rally the progressives behind Obama, the bankers could revert to the Charlie Manson’s Helter Skelter if need be.
Without any change in policy, the uninsured could jump to 54 million from 46 million.
In the end, George W. Bush did a great job.  For the Financial institutional segment of the government.  He took a sharp turn to right where others before him didn’t dare to venture so openly.  Now Obama has taken over and he has taken up where Bush left off. 
Geithner the Obfuscator as Secretary of Treasury is carrying out his role as a corsair in the Obama Kingdom.

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By coloradokarl, February 11, 2009 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther,  WORMS?  I like it !!

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By Folktruther, February 11, 2009 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

Scheers comment, that we voted for a caring community organizer rather a hack for predators of Wall Street simply isn’t true.  We were conned, mostly by Democratic leaders and truthers. Obama is pro-war, pro-Wall Street, pro-torture and pro militarized police state, under different rhetoric.  He is continuing the polices of Bush and, in this case, Paulson.

Geither and Summers are not mistakes, they are doing what they have always done.  the American goverment has been captured by Zionist neoliberals who control both parties, as well as the media.  Obama is their shill, speaking elequently and promoting Bushite policies.  So far from posecuting their crimes, he is going to continue to commit them, in plain sight.

With the rhetoric of “not looking bacwards, but looking forawards.”  Were this to be applied generally. there would never be prosecution for robbery, assault or murder, because they are always committed in the past of the date of prosecution.  But is this pointed out by media Progressives?

Sooner or later we have to acknowledge that the Bushites, with the false flag 9/11-antrax homicide, instigated a coundter revolution that placed in control of the US power system Zionist neoliberals and war imperialists.  And Obama is now their agent, consolidating the policies initiated by the Bushites.  The WORMs (White, Old Republican Men) have turned, and their policies now lead the Dems.

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By exoevolution, February 11, 2009 at 11:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Get. The. Foxes. Out. Of. The. Hen. House.

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By msgmi, February 11, 2009 at 11:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wall Street and their BIG BANKS became separated from Main Street with the blessing of K-Street and its congressional sycophants from the Beltway who enabled their hubris through deregulation and no oversight. Big Banks had one motive and that was profiteering while disregarding standard banking leveraging principles which eventually led to their racketeering practices in the global sub-prime market causing a financial meltdown. The Wall Street center of gravity has been exposed, hubris and greed go unpunished and the same CEO’s who perpetrated the meltdown remain in place while spewing meaningless mea culpas to the congressional enablers.

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By chringram, February 11, 2009 at 11:14 am Link to this comment

Animal-What a wonderful observation-Lynch certainly is appropriate for what Bush/Paulson did to The People.  Why oh Why are other newspapers and media outlets and fellow Americans not sounding the alarm, writing, emailing and calling their congressional reps and our President’s website??  Why aren’t we taking to the streets?? I’m ready to march in DC to let our President know that we absolutely need him to speak for us and help us-not just the bankers who raped and robbed us of our savings and hope?

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By Mark, February 11, 2009 at 11:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

George Carlin said it best:

“The real owners are the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, they’re an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls. They’ve got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies, so that they control just about all of the news and information you hear. They’ve got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying—lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else,”

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By Animal, February 11, 2009 at 10:59 am Link to this comment

Putting someone like Geithner in charge of the Treasury is kinda like making a serial arsonist fire chief.

“Merill LYNCH”- That name is kinda appropriate, at least the “Lynch” part, considering that that’s what most of these thugs and thieves deserve.

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By SteveK9, February 11, 2009 at 10:54 am Link to this comment

coloradokarl has this right.  As do Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz, and Kenneth Rogoff.  Take over the banks (wipe out shareholders and bondholder take a haircut), fire all of these managers, reorganize (smaller please) and eventually sell back to the private sector.  Anything else rewards bad (criminal) behavior and prolongs the agony.

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By chringram, February 11, 2009 at 10:46 am Link to this comment

I’m shocked by some of first responces to this article and what is going on.  You ask so little in a time when much is needed.  I am interested in facts.  Or is rhetoric,platitudes and faith in Obama the only things necessary to save the economy?  Obama maintains Bush’s state secrets agenda, bailout of shareholders and bankers, not homeowners and allows the bankers to move forward with no oversite!?  How is this different than Bush’s tranferance of wealth from the people who fought to get Obama elected to those who gamed the sytem and pushed the country over a cliff?
There can be no compromise if this country is to be saved.  Obama MUST respond like Roosevelt, nationalize the banks, break-up others and immediately create a mortgage entity, which will buy-up and refinance home loans so people can stay in their homes and pay off their debt.  There is ABOSOLUTELY no incentive for the banks to refinance when they can extract usurous loans from homeowners AND get financing from taxpayers.  If you acted irresponsibly in your job, you would be fired.  Why are the people who presided over this debacle still in charge of the banks?  I’m not being political.  I’m being rational.  I have a small business.  People who make huge mistakes and then lie and cover up get fired and do not get bonuses.  People who work hard, show up and come-up with great ideas that help our consumers get rewards.  Apparently, the ultra rich, who game the system do not have to pay their taxes,get huge bonuses and 500 grand compensation.  Our neighborhoods are being decimated, our schools don’t have the money to pay their teachers, invalids and struggling families can no longer get the meager assistance the state allowed because these bankers have broken The Peoples respective backs, but they do not have to be fired or accountable?  Is this the world you voted for?  Is it truely enough for you that an Obama appointed treasury secretary took the time to explain his redux of Paulson’s plan to make you feel more secure? Do I dare say it-Substance and actions matter and can make a difference, not vague BS!

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By mud, February 11, 2009 at 10:28 am Link to this comment

Interesting photo of Tim.

Is his facial expression indicating the pain he feels for transferring our children’s wealth and the future of America to the few crooked multi nationalists, or does he just have bad gas?

As we are looking at 4 more years of Bush bull I am guessing it’s gas.

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By Stephen Rose, February 11, 2009 at 10:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Louise is right and critics of Geithner for not providing what they wanted were not listening very well. Thanks Louise. I said somewhat the same thing on my blog but it is not very well read. Cheers, S

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By GoldenT, February 11, 2009 at 10:18 am Link to this comment

I think the question really comes down to where do you draw the line when the creditworthiness of the U.S. Treasury is at stake?

There is a case to be made this line was crossed long ago, during the Nixon administration, when the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates was replaced by the current, floating-rate system. Ever since that time the debt of the Treasury has been increasing parabolically.

Thus, the issue presently boils down to a matter of due diligence done by those who buy Treasury debt. As long as there are buyers, then even pigs will fly. Of course, it looks as though someday in the not-too-distant future their wings will be clipped. So, the question will become how far back should we look in identifying just where we went wrong?

The answer surely is long before TARP…

Your question asking, “Why would Obama have appointed [Geithner]?” seems to be answered by the rest of your article. I suspect that, by his insider pedigree, he and everything he represents is being set up to fail. He was appointed as a matter of political posturing. Come failure, come change we can believe in.

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By Kashilinus, February 11, 2009 at 10:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A severe case of wing flapping with no sign of a takeoff, all around DC. Obama is too nice when the expectation was he would be tough. Writing to Congressmen and Senators yields answers by staffers who ignore your topic. On TARP, I wrote to Senator Feinstein: “Geez, Senator, be careful. $750 B would finance the construction of a World Trade Center every three miles from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Now that would solve the unemployment problem. It is criminal that the Wall St. CEO’s are being given not only a pass, but lavished with cash. China, it seems, has a better solution for these types.

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By Louise, February 11, 2009 at 9:56 am Link to this comment

Perhaps I’m living in an altered reality. But I did not collapse into a fit of gloom and doom when I listened to Geithner yesterday. I found it incredibly refreshing to get an explanation!

Was I the only one who heard him condemn the lack of oversight and regulation? Was I the only one who understood his effort to lay out reality? Was I the only one who saw a line by line explanation of where we are, how we got there and where we have to go?

Apparently so.

Granted he did not give us a play by play explanation of the game plan, but he clearly explained why we need a game plan. He did not praise the previous so-called bailout. Rather he told us how badly it had been managed. But he also told us, as bad as it was, it would be far worse if nothing had been done. Reflecting on the last “conservative” depression, I find that easy to believe. But pundits and people who never understood any of it in the first place, fall into anger and despair!

Is this the first time someone has actually let you-all know how bad things are? Maybe that’s the problem. For all the demands for a fix, maybe no-one truly understood the size of the crack! Geithner is being loudly condemned for not giving us an instant fix! What did you-all expect? A magic pill? A giant tube of Super-Glue?

That must be it. Geithner was supposed to fly out on his pixie-dust wings, wave his magic wand and say there ... all better now.

He was NOT supposed to come out and tell the truth. The nerve of the man!

Sounds to me like we have a lot of Herbert Hoover re-incarnates here. Do nothing and the market will heal itself. Or repubs. Throw tax breaks at everyone and the market will heal itself. Or dumbbells, drop interest rates [to what, zero?] and everything will be fine. Well guess what, banks don’t make loans based on zero interest, the interest is their profit!

Maybe it’s people who “play” the market who don’t understand the game. Oh that’s not fair, we’re not supposed to understand the game, that’s what the “Stock Market experts” are for, right? Well guess what, the Stock Market experts led us down this thorny road. Stop believing they’ll lead us back, they won’t. Most of them, particularly the TV variety don’t understand it either. It’s a crap-shoot. Some people are luckier than others.

We’re all aware of the big guys who took “bail-out” money and continued their abuse. But how many of us are aware of the folks who took “bailout” money and used it to stay afloat for a few more months? Keep their doors open, pay salaries, try to move goods and services? How come no-one has tracked that side of the ledger? Let’s ask mainstreammedia, shall we? No need to bother. They didn’t because it’s a boring story. Just as it would have been a very boring story had we been informed way back when Reagan was letting the “experts” set his policy, and where those “experts” were leading us.

Do you-all think this just happened? Just because repubs are too stupid to see the track ahead is no excuse for us not looking at the track ahead. This has been coming for years!  And we’ve had a multitude of “little” depressions warning us!

How come no-one talks about the fact that we’ve sat back and allowed two mismanaged wars, and a bird-brain and his gutless cabinet, to loot the treasury? And a noisy pack of predatory politicians called “conservative” trash rules and controls, the value of the dollar, and OUR value? Maybe we don’t understand OUR value! Maybe for all our bitching and moaning we still think the magic pill is coming from THEM, any day now.

Perhaps that’s all we can expect from a society of people who live on “instant” everything. Get a grip people! Like it or not, you just may have to learn how to make oatmeal from scratch!

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By Eric L. Prentis, February 11, 2009 at 9:55 am Link to this comment

Geithner’s massive giveaway of taxpayer funds to the Wall Street crooks is a travesty. Simply doing more of the same and expecting a different outcome is the height of irresponsibility. The owners/managers of failed banks have to take responsibility.

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By coloradokarl, February 11, 2009 at 9:53 am Link to this comment

I thought I recognized him. That’s Little Timmy, The freshman the Jocks tortured on the first day of High school!! The Banks are all insolvent (the big ones at least) and they don’t want to give up until the bitter end. The managers are going to milk this for all they can get. We need to go in and shut down this mess before we give them one more penny. Then have a great big auction to the world with all the assets that we find and take a percentage of the gross sales. We can use the proceeds to shore up the active home loans with affordable interest rates and payments

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By peterjkraus, February 11, 2009 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

Geithner, Summers and Co, with the notable exception of Reagan’s man Paul Volcker, are in the banks’ back pocket. How could Obama appoint such losers, people who learned not one whit from the disasters they helped create? As an early and extremely vocal Obama supporter, I look forward to every new day with growing trepidation. If this keeps up, I honestly do not know if I will ever vote again.

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By apolloguide, February 11, 2009 at 9:23 am Link to this comment

You know that most of this money is going to wind up in the hands of AIPAC through these Israeli supporting creeps anyway.  Ultimately this money will be used to kill Arabs.  It is time to dust off the guillotine and sharpen it.  There is much work to do.

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By Bertil, February 11, 2009 at 9:22 am Link to this comment

Geithner’s archetype is that nerd looking guy in high school who had few friends and who everyone thought was smart and studious, only to find out later that he lived with his mother, played computer games in his bedroom taking up all of his free time and dreamt of being a science fiction writer.
This is his revenge and his unveiling.  He never did his home work, he’s a dummy, and, finally, he’s one of the guys.

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By Blackspeare, February 11, 2009 at 9:04 am Link to this comment

This guy Geithner is terrible.  What the Heck is he doing in such a position?!  In another life he would be working at H. R. Block where he would be reminded to pay his taxes.

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By hark, February 11, 2009 at 8:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Think of all the financial scandals over the last twenty-some years.  The S&L scandal, the 1987 stock market bubble and crash, the housing boom and bust of the late 1980s (bet you’d forgotten that one), the dot.com bubble and bust, the Enron scandal, the oil and commodity price spikes of last year.  And now all this. 

Any sane person would conclude that the system doesn’t work, and needs drastic reform.  It doesn’t need propping up from the underclass to save it.  It needs to be torn down.  American unfettered capitalism doesn’t work.  It’s a fraud.

But there’s nothing we can do.  All the wealth and power is in the hands of the perpetrators.

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By Rogelio, February 11, 2009 at 8:55 am Link to this comment

What is the solution? Obviously, there is no clear cut solution to this financial quagmire that the financial institutions. I am not economist but I do have a simple suggestion.

When an individual gets a loan from a bank, he/she needs to pay interest on the loan. Therefore, the banks should be required to pay interest on these loans (how about a measely 1 percent). I am assuming that the banks would not be outraged at such an astonishing rate.

Most of us agree that it is a travesty to give money to these blooksuckers who got us into the mess. Unfortunately, it is the banks that make the world go around, and without them, we would be screwed.

Obama promised change, but this is definitely not the change we asked financially when he is following in the footsteps of ‘w’.

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By Allan Gurfinkle, February 11, 2009 at 8:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What truthdig needs is a weekly column by a heavy critic of Wall St. who will educate as well as pontificate.

I’m thinking of my man Karl Denninger, who writes daily article on his blog, he’s a little hot under the collar and writes as if everyone understands infinitely more than they do, but, he is energetic and I think right on many points and without question able to provide a critical perspective as to what’s happening. 

For example, in today’s column he excoriates O and G of course, but then goes on to his own prescription which I’ll outline to give you and idea ...

1.  most major banks are insolvent, send in the examiners, mark to market, cram down equity, etc., if this works reopen, if not sell off assets ...

2.  declare naked credit default swaps null and void.

3.  prosecute fraud in banking system

4. repass Glass Steagal and various other gutted regulations to prevent ... a list of fraudlent activities Wall St. has developed

5. terminate 23A exemptions (whatever they are)

6. reinstate reserve requirements

7.  disclose Fed activity

8.  cease unmandated Fed activity ..

Denninger has more on each of these .... the point is that the Fed, and Scheer, and the media are not even discussing the problem, much less providing any info on a potential solution .....

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By felicity, February 11, 2009 at 8:26 am Link to this comment

It’s glasnost time.  When the old Soviet Union, half-ass communist state had become so riddled with corruption and was on the verge of total collapse, Gorbi stepped in and declared glasnost which means taking a hard look at a country’s management and then opening it to debate.

(Glasnost was followed by perestroika, reform.)

All we’re doing at present is trying to make a seriously, how about fatally flawed economic/government system work. The fact that we’re willing to bankrupt the country in the process of ‘fixing’ it when reforming it should be the order of the day is appallingly stupid.

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By Shift, February 11, 2009 at 8:12 am Link to this comment

It’s as simple at this:  If people do not have good paying jobs Capitalism does not work.  Real news flash huh? 

Since that is not likely to happen people must form an underground economy to survive.  What will it look like?

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By dihey, February 11, 2009 at 8:11 am Link to this comment

It is now clear. The appointment of Geithner was a monumental mistake and is swiftly developing into an equally monumental disaster for the Obama administration.
“Wall Street” knows by now that President Obama is not only dismally inexperienced in economics and finances but blows hot air as he did during the campaigns. He is quickly becoming Wall Street’s doormat.

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By jeffrey2425, February 11, 2009 at 8:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

o (obama needs to man-up and until then will be referred to as “o”) has taken the Clinton policy of centrism by bringing the corporate world into the fold of the Democratic party. Once o becomes more of a leader he may extract his due from the corporate world -most likely after he leaves office. Presently, o is playing up to the favors that got him into office as a senator and now president - the people will receive the crumbs off the table in due time.
Sad… so much hope was placed on him during his campaign (my third/fourth choice) and just like his campaign posters he only serves as a cut-out figure.

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By hippy pam, February 11, 2009 at 7:55 am Link to this comment

ROME….
Rome became CORRUPT and TOP HEAVY…..and ROME FELL…..
The FINANCIAL INSTITUTION that is AMERICA has become so TOP HEAVY….All these fatcats and rich bankers…NEED TO FALL…...

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By Yankee, February 11, 2009 at 7:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I figured this administration would do this.  The same policies with a heafty dose of Obama Celebritude on top. 
The Banksters are insolvent and need to be nationalized.  The rich need to eat their losses.  But they are going to give us the bill, just like Japan!  Look at Japan now, 15 years later they are still a mess and busy privatizing everything like Uncle Miltie Friedman said they should.

Who exactly will stand for working people.  Obviously not the current prez, who will spend 4 years telling us he “understands”.  That’s nice.

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By Little Brother, February 11, 2009 at 7:06 am Link to this comment

prole:  paragraph breaks are your friend.

And next time, tell us how you really feel!

But seriously, folk, I generally agree with your closely-packed points, except that IMO Amy Goodman is a cut above the others. 

I do consider her a gatekeeper of sorts, but in a passive way—i.e., she stays away from sticky controversies in favor of more cut-and-dried, straightforward stories of interest to progressives.  Thus, she won’t go near 9/11, the irreedemable corruption of the duopoly, etc.

Still, she’s not an unadulterated hack bullshitter infotainwhore like the others you mention, or a reactionary promoter of the status quo like, say, Jim Lehrer and the PBS/NPR commentariat.

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By Purple Girl, February 11, 2009 at 7:00 am Link to this comment

Shut Down Wall Streets Boo Woo O Meter when the Adults are talking to the Country. I am sick of watching the Temper tantrum coming from the Childishly impulsive Wall Streeters every time anyone or anything comes out of this admin.
The Gamblers hav eproven repeatedly that they are incapable of controlling their emotions or Greed when any discussion comes up about how to resovle th eMess they have caused. Claose Down Trading for the Entire Day.
These idiots think they have their own polling meter which will persuade or force Americans do think they way they do. As far as I’m concerned their tantrums equate to more money lost in funds I have no control over.More of my money going down the drain because they don’t like hearing they are going to finally ‘Get a Spankin’
Just like churches have, We need to ‘build ’ a nursery to silence these Wails and whins.
Geithner was not talking to these Morons, he was talking to US adults who have to clean up these kids spilt milk and shitty diapers.
Thane of Myerill LYNCH should be Criminally prosecuted by both US and B of A- 120 Million in Bonuses for 4 Execs!?!- Embezzlement and Fraud

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By Bubba, February 11, 2009 at 6:13 am Link to this comment

“Believe it or not, I fully expected this morning to write a cheerleading column hailing Geithner’s reversal of course.”

I don’t believe it, Bob.

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By nino, February 11, 2009 at 5:18 am Link to this comment

But we (the people) did try to stop it. From what I read the vast majority of constitutes told their elected officials “No” to the original bail out. The others simply said “HELL NO” to the bail out. I was one of the hell no’s.

You see, whether Republican or Democrat, they all(most) all are corrupt and represent the very crooks that have done so much damage.

This is called “taxation with out representation.”

I say fire them all! They work for us - not Goldman Sucks and Helliburton.

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By Big Wes, February 11, 2009 at 4:20 am Link to this comment

These bank bailouts are fraud being perpetrated right before our very eyes, and we sit back and do nothing.  Since many consumers have reduced impulse purchases of needless goods, reined in credit card spending, and delayed or even scrapped plans to purchase homes or new vehicles, the steady flow of money from the lower classes to the elite has been pinched.  Is there a better way for these Wall Street fat cats to get our money than to get direct allocations of taxpayer money through TARP and TALF?

These banks have to get our money somehow in order to stay in business. They can continue their idiotic business practices and extravagant lifestyles while we foot the bill.  We might get a tax cut now, but the day will soon come when this debt is due and the amount of debt service required to meet these obligations will be oppressive.  We’ll be paying the same tax rates as Great Britain or Canada, only we won’t be getting any of the benefits like single payer health insurance or pensions.  Welcome to Amerika.

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By writeon, February 11, 2009 at 3:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Neutral I am, to quote Obi Wan. What really interests Obama? It’s difficult to tell because he’s so new and inexperienced. There is simply an awful lot he doesn’t know. Especially about econonomics and foreign affairs.

This is worrying, as these two core subjects are right at the front of all the challenges we face. Has he ever really shown an interest in these areas? OK one can argue that he’s got a lot of super-qualified advisors, yet the people he’s chosen are all Washington insiders.

I think ‘change’ equals competence for Obama, not a fundamental rethink or change of direction for the United States. Bush was perceived as a dunce, his people incompetent, fighting ‘dumb’ wars in the wrong place, against the wrong enemy. Obama was the ‘anti-dumb war’ candidate. Iraq was merely a ‘mistake’ not a crime against humanity, a war crime.
It’s almost taken as a given, that the United States cannot commit warcrimes. Is that particularly non-ideological?

Non-ideological, pragmatic and competent, these all hang together under the umbrella of ‘change.’ Yet there really isn’t much change involved here, unless a return to ‘normalcy’ after the Bush era of ‘extremism’ is what one apires to.

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By prole, February 11, 2009 at 3:21 am Link to this comment

Yeah, yo “was such a sucker”, awright. “Cheering at almost every line” during Obama scammer’s bad-bankrolled campaign and voting for the creep with “enthusiasm”. Maybe that’s why you still can’t shake off the fog from your nasty hangover of intoxicated infatuation with your cartoon president to face up to the ugly reality of the chain of irresponsibility. Despite your heroic efforts to confine the onus to the patsy Geithner, in order to spare your cardboard hero in the Oval Office - or yourself and other giddy groupies - any taint in the mushrooming scandal, the stark fact remains that the bad buck stops with Barack. The sleazy shyster Obama doesn’t even have the integrity to make the announcement personally, preferring to shield himself from public reaction with his patsy Geithner. “Instead of the promised transparency we were treated to yet another ‘trust Big [Barack]’ hustle.”  “How wonderful that Geithner, who as head of the New York Federal Reserve was in on the first wasted $350 billion [urged on by the Big O]  now promises a brand new Web site to help us taxpayers follow the action” - great, maybe they can use the Truth Dig web site in honor of all the brilliant pundits there who never tire of hyping Obamania . Perchance “the New York Times got it right” - but Scheer and most of his cohorts sure didn’t…err, haven’t! (present tense). “Geithner and White House economic czar Lawrence Summers won out over David Axelrod and other Obama advisers more loyal to the wishes of grass-roots voters“ - yeah right, and you can bet they didn’t have to twist anyone’s arm in the whole sordid process. “Believe it or not, I fully expected this morning to [read] a cheerleading column hailing” incorruptible Barack and scapegoating one of his conveniently placed fall guys like Geithner, by Scheer. It’s par for the course. With Scheer and Eugene Robinson and Amy Goodman, et.al., St. Barack can do no wrong. So the blame always has to be placed on some other scapegoat, like Geithner. “Otherwise why would Obama have appointed him?”  And thus, conspicuously, “the Obama of Monday’s press conference, a president in the tradition of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, seemingly deeply feeling the average person’s pain as he movingly speaks of the laid-off workers of Elkhart, Ind., was absent from the next day’s speech by his treasury secretary”.  Yes indeed, how telling - ‘two-faced’ would be too kind a description for a moral scum like Obama. One thing’s for sure though, as he himself admits, Scheer doesn’t “have the answer.”

.

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By MEK, February 11, 2009 at 2:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you check the results of the stock market yesterday, Geithner’s announcement was followed not only with gloom and doom and whining and bitching, but the vast majority of “gainers” were financials. I venture to pose that, had Obama been one of the WORMs (White Old Republican Men), and if he had not capped the largess of same, the package would have been met with glee. The Old Boys’ Club lives on and you—among others—continue to let them get away with it.

We are in crisis here!! Try to focus.

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