Archive for the ‘Geithner’ Category

Do we want to revive our economy, or do we want to punish the bankers?

March 28, 2009

The liberal backlash against President Barack Obama has begun with many prominent left-leaning economists in the US attacking the administration’s plans to bail out the banks.

Paul Krugman describes the toxic asset purchase plan as “cash for trash”. Jeffrey Sachs calls it “a thinly veiled attempt to transfer hundreds of billions of US taxpayer funds to the commercial banks”. Robert Reich depicts Tim Geithner, Treasury secretary, as a prisoner of Wall Street while Joe Stiglitz says the plan “amounts to robbery of the American people”.

By Edward Luce
FT
On the blogosphere and beyond, Democratic economists accuse Mr Obama – along with Mr Geithner, and Lawrence Summers, the president’s senior economic adviser – of taking dictation from the same financiers who have brought the economy to the brink of depression.

Mr Reich, who was Bill Clinton’s Labour secretary in the 1990s before resigning over the former president’s reluctance to pursue a strong public investment agenda, says that he and his colleagues fear a replay of the Clinton years under Mr Obama.

Mr Reich now talks of the “Paulson-Geithner approach” to demonstrate what he sees as the continuity between Hank Paulson, George W. Bush’s last Treasury secretary, and the current administration. Mr Reich says bank nationalisation is the only answer to today’s crisis.

“Bill Clinton chose to pursue a set of policies that Wall Street agreed with but at the expense of his long-term agenda of boosting public investment,” says Mr Reich. “Bill Clinton’s Wall Street agenda in the end brought America and the world crashing down with it. I hope we are not seeing history repeat itself with Mr Obama.”

Not every Democrat agrees. Brad DeLong, a former Clinton official, says that every banking crisis – barring the Great Depression – has been resolved by government recapitalisation of the banking sector, as Mr Obama is likely to attempt in the near future.

Nor, says Mr DeLong, is it fair to paint Mr Geithner as a creature of Wall Street.

“Hank Paulson is a man who grew up in American finance and cannot imagine a world in which America does well and its financial sector does badly,” he says.

“Tim Geithner, by contrast, is a bureaucrat and a policymaker. He has never pulled down a multibillion-dollar bonus. They are not the same type of people.”

But in reality the division is as much political as economic. Most of Mr Obama’s liberal critics argue he should have gone to Congress already and asked for a lot of money for bank recapitalisation. His defenders say that would be political suicide until the populist mood on Capitol Hill has died down.

“We have to ask ourselves: Do we want to revive our economy, or do we want to punish the bankers?” says Mr DeLong. “I don’t agree that we can do both.”

Geithner’s Toxic-Asset Plan on Slow Track as Values Deteriorate

March 27, 2009

The Obama administration’s plan to remove distressed assets from bank balance sheets may take three months to begin operating, risking further deterioration in the value of the securities and driving up rescue costs.

By James Sterngold
Bloomberg

No matter how well the plan is designed, delays could mean that prices for mortgage-related assets will drop, requiring banks to take bigger writedowns and seek additional capital from the government, said Christopher Whalen, senior vice president and managing director of Torrance, California-based Institutional Risk Analytics.

“The government has said it thinks the assets are worth more than the 30 cents they could get in the market now — that it’s 80 cents or 50 cents on the dollar,” Whalen said. “But that 30 cents is going to look good in three months. Loss rates aren’t going to peak until late this year, when those assets will be going for five cents or 10 cents on the dollar. Absolutely they should move faster.”

The three-part government plan, announced March 23 by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, requires a two-week comment period for one program, an application process for asset managers, analysis of the troubled mortgage assets to be sold and assessments of how much debt investors can take on.

As a result, the programs might not be operating before June or July, said Curtis Arledge, a managing director at New York-based BlackRock Inc., which plans to apply to become one of the asset managers for the public-private partnerships.

Falling Asset Prices

Two government officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because no announcements on timing have been made, confirmed that the program won’t be operating until the summer. Once launched, it will create public-private partnerships to purchase as much as $500 billion of bad debts and securities from banks. The aim, Geithner said, is to allow the banks to clean up their balance sheets, attract private capital and resume active lending.

“The longer it takes, the more likely it won’t do the job,” said Robert Barbera, chief economist at New York brokerage ITG Inc., who supports the program because he believes that cheap government financing for the asset purchases will lift prices. “This allows the squeeze on the real economy to continue. The longer credit is not available from the banks, the greater the drag on the economy, and asset prices drop further.”

Read the rest:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pi
d=20601087&sid=agEBuyNoFyvI&refer=home

Clinton pushes for stronger China role

March 27, 2009

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has moved aggressively and quickly to secure a stronger role in what she has called the world’s most important relationship: U.S. dealings with China. But military and economic tensions between the two powers keep getting in her way.

By Foster Klug
Associated Press

As the international financial crisis worsens, the two colossal economies have bickered over their intertwined interests. China is nervous about its position as Washington’s biggest foreign creditor, holding an estimated $1 trillion in U.S. government debt.

Beijing and Washington also have sparred over military matters, including a confrontation between American and Chinese vessels in the South China Sea and harsh words over Pentagon claims that China’s rapidly growing military strength could allow it to win short, intense conflicts against high-tech adversaries.

These issues will demand high-level attention from the Treasury and Defense departments. Clinton is pushing, however, to ensure that her diplomatic corps is not marginalized as the United States engages a country the Obama administration needs as a partner in efforts to solve the world’s major problems.

Clinton began staking out her claim on China early. A week after President Barack Obama’s Jan. 20 inauguration she signaled her determination not to stand on the sidelines in her first comments to reporters at the State Department.

“The strategic dialogue that was begun in the Bush administration turned into an economic dialogue,” Clinton said. “That’s a very important aspect of our relationship with China, but it’s not the only aspect of our relationship.”

In Beijing last month, on her first foreign trip as secretary, Clinton said she and new Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner “will both be fully engaged” in discussions with China. Clinton then pleasantly surprised China by saying the Obama administration would not let its human rights concerns interfere with cooperation with Beijing.

Read the rest:
http://apnews.myway.com/article/20090
327/D97683SG1.html

What’s Behind the Geithner Debate?

March 27, 2009

If the United States was an aircrft, Obama has already touched every dial and lever in the cockpit.  And what does that mean?  Only one thing for sure: Uncertainty.  And a lack of confidence.  That’s why businesses are not yet rehiring and people are holding on to their money.  People are looking for more certainty and Geithner at Treasury isn’t offering that….

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By Will Marshall
Real Clear Politics

Progressives, who have so far marched in rare lockstep behind President Obama, are falling out over Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s plan to get credit flowing again. At issue are conflicting visions of exactly what kind of economy should emerge on the other side of today’s crisis.

Pundits and columnists traffic in certitudes, but the rest of us can be forgiven for not knowing whether the Geithner plan will actually work. We’re in terra incognita here, and analogies to the Great Crash of 1929, or more recent banking crises in Japan and Sweden, may be of limited utility. Amid all the complexity and uncertainty, the debate over Geithner’s proposal is a kind of ideological ink-blot test.

Some liberal critics charge that it is nothing more than a continuation of the Bush-Paulson policy of propping up failed banks and financial institutions until the crisis somehow resolves itself. They question whether Geithner, a former governor of the New York Federal Reserve, is capable of administering sufficiently harsh medicine to his former peers in the realm of high finance. Many conservatives, relieved by the voters of primary responsibility for fixing the mess, are hoping to exploit populist anger over the massive wealth transfer from taxpayers to Wall Street.

The essence of Geithner’s plan is to reanimate the market for the securitized mortgages and other loans that no one wants to buy now. Until banks can take these toxic assets off their books, they won’t be able to resume lending. Geithner proposes to use what’s left of the TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Fund) money to entice private actors, such as hedge funds, to buy the assets.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.  (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

The basic idea here is that these private money-managers will do a better job of pricing the assets than the government ever could. If the spoiled assets regain their value, these private buyers win–but so do taxpayers, who would no longer have to foot the whole bill for the failures of the past.

Conversely, if the assets do not regain their value, then everybody loses. Well, almost everybody. In order to persuade private buyers to take the plunge into the toxic pool, the Geithner plan insures them against downside risk.

Despite their admiration of Obama, many liberals are unhappy with this arrangement. They decry the plan as yet another subsidy to the very people whose reckless risk-taking in search of outsized profits got us into this mess. They complain that Geithner’s plan is, at best, a palliative that doesn’t address the underlying cause of seized-up credit markets — namely, the fact that major U.S. banks are, for all practical purposes, insolvent. Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard law professor who heads the panel Congress set up to oversee TARP, likens the Geithner plan to an IV drip for “zombie banks.”

Putting the big banks on life support, in this view, merely prolongs the agony and could lead to a long period of Japanese-style stagnation. Better to follow the sterner Swedish model: Nationalize insolvent banks, wipe out equity holders, and return a smaller number of healthy banks with clean balance sheets to private hands.

But nationalization could wind up costing taxpayers a fortune, while also causing collateral damage to the secondary market for securities backed by mortgages in other loans. Congress’ hot-headed reaction to the AIG bonus scandal did little to inspire confidence in the federal government’s ability to manage financial companies. Furthermore, Obama’s economic team seems willing to bet that bank assets are worth more than today’s depressed market prices suggest.

In short, Obama and Geithner are working to restore the financial sector as it existed roughly a decade ago….

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/realclearpolit
ics/20090326/cm_rcp/whats_behin
d_the_geithner_deba

Related:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03
/27/the-strange-sacking-of-a-to
p-treasury-official/

For Obama and Geithner: Action Would Speak Louder Than What We Have Now

March 27, 2009

“People have confidence in Obama and generally want him to succeed,” says Frank Luntz, an experienced pollster. “But they don’t necessarily translate that confidence into his policies or the government.”

Bingo.

Treasury is a confidence black hole.  Why?  Because despite many efforts to point the blame at Wall Street and greedy executives, nobody has said, “The regulaters screwed up.”  Instead we have been told “we inherited this Bush mess and Bush decreased regulations so we need more regulations — we need more government.”

We don’t need more government.  We need better government and more accountability: from the President through Barney Frank and the rest in congress and to Geither and all the other bureaucrats.

Who among us thinks Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd screwed up?  Who has trust and confidence that Barney and Chris and Tiny Tim Turbo Tax and even Obama can get us out of this?

Yesterday it looks like Mr. Geithner actually fired — or at least sent into the penalty box — one of his top deputies.  Now we are getting to the issue.

Scott Polakoff at Treasury’s  Office of Thrift Supervision  is on ice: and Treasury needs to explain why and take responsibility for him and his actions and fast.

Maybe we don’t need to make more rules: maybe we need to enforce the ones we have and enforce accountability.

Recovery will be about trust and confidence.  Without that, investors hold back, businesses don’t hire and workers don’t spend.

A government mea culpa would be a good first step: and continuing this line of “we inherited” is now more than paper thin it is a sign of impotence.

“What we need today is more optimism and more confidence,” Larry Summers said.

“Consumer confidence is slightly up. The market is slightly up,” Biden said.

“We need confidence to make this recovery work,” President Obama said.

Confidence can’t be produced with fairy dust or a magic wand.  We get it the old fashioned way: we earn it.

President Obama has to take dramatic action: not giggle through an appearance on Leno and “60 Minutes” or jabber on an Internet town hall.  That may work with tweens but it is not so good with real adults with real money.

Campaigning is for wannabees.  Those with real responsibility and accountability have to act to be credible and earn trust and confidence.

Now’s the time.

Related:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/27/
the-strange-sacking-of-a-top-treasury-official/

Stumulus: Obama and Congress Sold Us A Lot Of Useless Swampland; Ready To Buy More?

Obama Buys Into Anger, Fear as Political Tool
Obama, Geithner, Summers Plan for “Toxic Assets” May be Toxic Itself

Obama’s public overexposure

Obama Still Thinks After Economy Recovers; Bank, Finance Good Times Can Return?

 Obama’s Economic “Rescue;” “The plan is very, very clever. Maybe too clever.”

 Stimulus: Way Fewer Jobs Than You Thought

 The Great Give Away of Taxpayer Money By Bigger and Bigger Government

 President Tries To Harness Public Anger To Move His Budget

Obama Dead Wrong On Stimulus, Caterpillar Company Jobs, Recovery

Obama, Geithner, Summers Plan for “Toxic Assets” May be Toxic Itself

March 27, 2009

 Barack Obama’s economic team is in serious  jeopardy  of getting bogged down as they attempt to extricate America from the “toxic asset,” bad bank and financial crisis.The objective is to get lending going and they centerpiece is trust and confidence.

Obama is banking that his strong poll numbers will translate into the public trust and confidence he’ll need to reform, some say overhaul, and some say radically attack the financial system and Wall Street.

But pollster Frank Luntz and others say although the public approves of Obama himself, they reject some of his policies.

It could just be that Geithener, Larry Summers and Barney Frank are ill suited to carrying the load they are under.  And then again, maybe they created a load that is a load of c**p.

The Geithner, Summers, Obama plan may be too radical, too complex and too elusive to even explain — if and when the details become known….

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

“You’re talking about seizing private businesses and you don’t consider that radical?” Manzullo [Rep. Donalsd Manzullo; R-Ill] replied, his voice rising.

Manzullo is trying to get [Treasury Secretry Timothy] Geithner to give details of the plan — that’s where Geithner got stung before — but Geithner doesn’t have them yet.

If the plan were not radical, Manzullo said to Geithner, “you would have answers to some of my questions, such as, what size business would be subject to this?”

From The Washington Post
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/econom
y-watch/2009/03/geithner_new_rules_o
f_the_game.html?hpid=topnews

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By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer

Wall Street wizards

have proved adept at designing complex financial products to sidestep existing regulations. And Vincent Reinhart, former director of monetary affairs at the Federal Reserve, says, “You’re going to see firms try to figure out how to be under the radar.”

For example, private equity investors might try to buy large hedge funds and chop them into funds that would be small enough to operate unregulated, Reinhart said.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, unveiling the plan Thursday, said the nation’s economic crisis demands bold action.

“We need much stronger standards for openness, transparency and plain commonsense language throughout the financial system,” he told the House Financial Services Committee.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., ... 
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., concludes a hearing on President Obama’s proposals for an extensive overhaul of financial regulations with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner there to defend the plan, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 26, 2009. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/200903
27/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/financial_regulation

Related:
Obama’s public overexposure

Obama Still Thinks After Economy Recovers; Bank, Finance Good Times Can Return?

 Obama’s Economic “Rescue;” “The plan is very, very clever. Maybe too clever.”

Obama Still Thinks After Economy Recovers; Bank, Finance Good Times Can Return?

March 27, 2009

On Monday, Lawrence Summers, the head of the National Economic Council, responded to criticisms of the Obama administration’s plan to subsidize private purchases of toxic assets. “I don’t know of any economist,” he declared, “who doesn’t believe that better functioning capital markets in which assets can be traded are a good idea.”

By PAUL KRUGMAN
The New Yok Times

Leave aside for a moment the question of whether a market in which buyers have to be bribed to participate can really be described as “better functioning.” Even so, Mr. Summers needs to get out more. Quite a few economists have reconsidered their favorable opinion of capital markets and asset trading in the light of the current crisis.

But it has become increasingly clear over the past few days that top officials in the Obama administration are still in the grip of the market mystique. They still believe in the magic of the financial marketplace and in the prowess of the wizards who perform that magic.

The market mystique didn’t always rule financial policy. America emerged from the Great Depression with a tightly regulated banking system, which made finance a staid, even boring business. Banks attracted depositors by providing convenient branch locations and maybe a free toaster or two; they used the money thus attracted to make loans, and that was that.

And the financial system wasn’t just boring. It was also, by today’s standards, small. Even during the “go-go years,” the bull market of the 1960s, finance and insurance together accounted for less than 4 percent of G.D.P. The relative unimportance of finance was reflected in the list of stocks making up the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which until 1982 contained not a single financial company.

It all sounds primitive by today’s standards. Yet that boring, primitive financial system serviced an economy that doubled living standards over the course of a generation.

After 1980, of course, a very different financial system emerged. In the deregulation-minded Reagan era, old-fashioned banking was increasingly replaced by wheeling and dealing on a grand scale. The new system was much bigger than the old regime: On the eve of the current crisis, finance and insurance accounted for 8 percent of G.D.P., more than twice their share in the 1960s. By early last year, the Dow contained five financial companies — giants like A.I.G., Citigroup and Bank of America.

And finance became anything but boring. It attracted many of our sharpest minds and made a select few immensely rich.

Underlying the glamorous new world of finance was the process of securitization. Loans no longer stayed with the lender. Instead, they were sold on to others, who sliced, diced and puréed individual debts to synthesize new assets. Subprime mortgages, credit card debts, car loans — all went into the financial system’s juicer. Out the other end, supposedly, came sweet-tasting AAA investments. And financial wizards were lavishly rewarded for overseeing the process.

But the wizards were frauds, whether they knew it or not, and their magic turned out to be no more than a collection of cheap stage tricks. Above all, the key promise of securitization — that it would make the financial system more robust by spreading risk more widely — turned out to be a lie. Banks used securitization to increase their risk, not reduce it, and in the process they made the economy more, not less, vulnerable to financial disruption.

Sooner or later, things were bound to go wrong, and eventually they did. Bear Stearns failed; Lehman failed; but most of all, securitization failed.

Which brings us back to the Obama administration’s approach to the financial crisis.

Much discussion of the toxic-asset plan has focused on the details and the arithmetic, and rightly so. Beyond that, however, what’s striking is the vision expressed both in the content of the financial plan and in statements by administration officials. In essence, the administration seems to believe that once investors calm down, securitization — and the business of finance — can resume where it left off a year or two ago.

To be fair, officials are calling for more regulation. Indeed, on Thursday Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, laid out plans for enhanced regulation that would have been considered radical not long ago.

But the underlying vision remains that of a financial system more or less the same as it was two years ago, albeit somewhat tamed by new rules.

As you can guess, I don’t share that vision. I don’t think this is just a financial panic; I believe that it represents the failure of a whole model of banking, of an overgrown financial sector that did more harm than good. I don’t think the Obama administration can bring securitization back to life, and I don’t believe it should try.

Obama’s Economic “Rescue;” “The plan is very, very clever. Maybe too clever.”

March 27, 2009

“The parties may elect in respect of two or more Transactions that a net amount will be determined in respect of all amounts payable on the same date in the same currency in respect of such Transactions, regardless of whether such amounts are payable in respect of the same Transaction.”

By Michael Kinsley
The Washington Post

Got that? It’s a sentence, chosen more or less at random, from the most recent (2002) Master Agreement of the International Swap and Derivatives Association. These are the people who brought you the “credit default swap,” the mysterious financial transaction that almost destroyed the world, and might yet do so if the Obama administration’s rescue plan doesn’t work. The Master Agreement is used for credit default swaps the way a standard real estate broker’s lease is used for renting a one-bedroom apartment.

Except that we all know what a one-bedroom apartment is. How many of us know what a credit-default swap is? The media do their best to explain it, often using attractive drawings with arrows showing money going hither and thither. Or sometimes they throw up their hands, as I’m doing, and simply describe them as “exotic financial instruments,” and leave it at that. Part of the hostility that banks and Wall Street now enjoy comes from a popular suspicion that the mystery and complexity are part of the point — that these things are made impossible to explain on purpose, as a way of avoiding scrutiny. “Don’t criticize what you can’t understand,” as the financier Bob Dylan once put it in another context.

One problem with the Obama financial rescue plan is that it is almost as complicated and obscure as the problem it is designed to solve. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, testifying yesterday on Capitol Hill, called for greater simplicity in financial regulation. Good luck with that. Here is a sample passage from one of the explanatory documents released by Treasury this week. “Private investors may be given voluntary withdrawal rights at the level of a Private Vehicle, subject to limitations to be agreed with Treasury including that no private investor may have the right to voluntarily withdraw from a Private Vehicle prior to the third anniversary of the first investment by such Private Vehicle.” All this talk of getting into and out of private vehicles may be a sly reference to the car and driver that did in Tom Daschle. Otherwise, who knows?

The government’s most urgent goal is to cleanse the financial system of “toxic assets.” These used to be known as “bad debts” until somebody decided that a more hysterical term was needed to reflect the gravity of the situation. Nobody gives a hoot about bad debts anymore. The government could have just swallowed hard and bought up these toxic assets itself. Then it could have buried them at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, where it has almost completed a $13.5 billion nuclear waste dump, just in time to promise never to use it, at least not for nuclear waste. Unlike nuclear waste, credit default swaps are unlikely to leach into the groundwater. And even if they do, there is no detectable difference between trading in derivatives such as credit default swaps and Nevada’s principal industry anyway. Except that the amounts involved in Nevada-style recreational gambling are much smaller. Oh, and the government doesn’t bail out petty gamblers. Yet.

But the administration decided that it would be more exciting to let private financiers in on the fun. This is an odd echo of what created the mess in the first place. Government-chartered entities such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac operated with an implicit government guarantee, whereas firms we all thought were private, like AIG and Citicorp, were deemed “too big to fail.” One way or another, the government got sucked in against its will. It felt it had no choice. The private firms now pondering whether to join the party do have a choice, so they will have to be subsidized.

The plan is very, very clever. Maybe too clever. It depends on convincing smart financiers that there is a killing to be made investing, with government help, in toxic assets. Inevitably, when the dust settles, it will turn out that some private firms and individuals actually have made a killing, which will cause another eruption of populist resentment like the one over the AIG bonuses. Fear of such an eruption, and any retrospective mischief coming out of Congress as a result, is going to make private money harder to entice, which means the subsidies will have to be larger, which means the killings will even be greater.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn
/content/article/2009/03/26/AR20090
32603113.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Stumulus: Obama and Congress Sold Us A Lot Of Useless Swampland; Ready To Buy More?

March 26, 2009

The stimulus cost taxpeyers $787 billion.  It was rushed through congress to create jobs.  Few in congress even admitted to reading its 1,000 plus pages.  The stimulus authorized the AIG bonus payments that nearly eveyone since saw as “outrage.”

Thanks to Chris Dodd and Tim Geithner apparently….

Now the president said he will use that anger and outrage that he himslf and congress fueled to sell more spending: his budget.  The $3.6 trillion budget.

Did we get jobs from the stimulus or will we?

Calvin Woodward of the Associated Press said it pretty well today, “If space exploration were conducted like the job forecasts under the government’s new stimulus law, man surely would have missed the moon.”

Related:
 Stimulus: Way Fewer Jobs Than You Thought

 The Great Give Away of Taxpayer Money By Bigger and Bigger Government

 President Tries To Harness Public Anger To Move His Budget

Obama Dead Wrong On Stimulus, Caterpillar Company Jobs, Recovery

File:Gator and Python.jpg

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CALVIN WOODWARD, Associated Press Writer
.
WASHINGTON – If space exploration were conducted like the job forecasts under the government’s new stimulus law, man surely would have missed the moon. But this isn’t rocket science.

No promise from President Barack Obama is more important to the wounded economy than his vow to save or create some 3.5 million jobs in two years. In support of that bottom line, the government even tells states how many jobs they can expect to see from the spending and tax cuts.

But precise trajectories are impossible to plot and even approximations can be wildly off, as the authors of these forecasts acknowledge, usually more readily than the policymakers who use them to promote the plan.

Flip through the stacks of economic analyses underpinning the stimulus plan and you find a lot of throat-clearing qualifications and angst:

–“Very uncertain.”

–“Difficult to distinguish among alternative estimates.”

–“We confess to considerable uncertainty.”

–“Subject to substantial margins of error.”

In other words, who really knows?

Economic modeling may prove to be a haywire navigational device in this crisis.

“Large fiscal stimulus is rarely attempted,” Douglas Elmendorf, director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, told lawmakers. “For those reasons, some economists remain skeptical that there will be any significant effects, while others expect very large ones.”

Zero to nirvana? Even for economists, who routinely differ among themselves, that’s a range beyond the norm.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/2009
0326/ap_on_go_pr_wh/stimulus_
jobs_numbers

Read Michelle Malkin:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/26/
now-they-tell-us-ap-admits-that-porkulu
s-numbers-are-bs/

Stocks manage moderate gain after erratic session: weak demand for toxic assets

March 25, 2009

The Geithner plan is now on the market….and the demand for “toxic assets” was weak on day one…

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Wall Street has managed a moderate gain after an attack of nerves had investors giving back a big early advance and then barreling back into the market right before the close.

Tim Paradis, AP Business Writer

Trading was extremely erratic — the Dow Jones industrials rose as much as 203 points in early trading in response to upbeat economic data, then fell nearly 110 during the afternoon before closing up 90. Analysts said weak demand during an auction of government debt stirred up worries about how easily Washington will be able to raise money to fund its economic rescue program. The fear in the market is that the government might not be able to easily raise the hundreds of billions of dollars it needs.

The day shows how fragile Wall Street remains despite a two-week rally that saw the Dow regain more than 1,000 points. The market was pulled in different by opposing forces Wednesday that led to choppy trading — which may well be the pattern for stocks going forward.

Read the rest:
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/St
ocks-manage-moderate-gain-apf-1
4746401.html

Related:
 Obama, Economy: So Much Uncertainty Spins Off More…. Uncertainty

Michelle Malkin:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/0
3/25/wonderboy-strikes-again/

http://americanheartland.wordpress.c
om/2009/03/25/325-voices-from-t
he-heartland-a-business-perspective/