Friday, November 20, 2009
The audacity of timidityPaul Krugman assesses the consequences of having done too little in the spring to combat the economic crisis in The Big Squander New York Times 11/19/09:
Earlier this week, the inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, a k a, the bank bailout fund, released his report on the 2008 rescue of the American International Group, the insurer. The gist of the report is that government officials made no serious attempt to extract concessions from bankers, even though these bankers received huge benefits from the rescue. And more than money was lost. By making what was in effect a multibillion-dollar gift to Wall Street, policy makers undermined their own credibility — and put the broader economy at risk.
It's part of the Republicans' Predator State approach to government, in this case with the pattern on handling Wall Street bailouts continuing into the Obama administration: the bankrupt financial institutions get bailed out and their executives get paid billions in bonuses after bankrupting or near-bankrupting their companies, while most people see unemployment and mortgage payments both rising. And the Republicans have honed their methods over the decades for blaming the results on the Democratic Party and "gubment" in general. Unless the Obama administration starts trying to please those facing unemployment and reduced salaries instead of Wall Strett bankers and billionaires who want to abolish Social Security using the federal deficit as an excuse, the Republicans could be successful with those methods in 2010 and 2012. And the fact that Frank Rich thinks that Sarah Palin is an exotic extremist (which she is!) won't make any difference, except to encourage the Democrats in their foolish complacency.
Meanwhile, David "Bobo" Brooks, neocon warmonger and reliable belweather of "respectable" Republican opinion, thinks the Obama administration has done just fine on the economic bailout. Bobo is impressed with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's moderation: "prudence was the key to his effectiveness. In interviews and testimony, Geithner uses the word 'balance' a lot." This is the greatest compliment that the devotees of High Broderism can bestoy on a political figure, especially a Democrat. This gives Bobo hope for the future. Because the Obama administration confronts more economic problems. And which is foremost in Bobo's mind? Yes, it's a rhetorical question: "First, the need to reduce the deficits ..."
Tags: obama administration, us economy
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No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."
-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?
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