Archive for the ‘Summers’ Category

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

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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

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

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

Geithner Makes Big Announcement With No Cameras Allowed

March 23, 2009

We figure all the president’s men scripted it this way.

In the age of cameras just about everywhere — including on city streets — Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner rolled out his new and improved “Public Private Investment Plan” before financial journalists today and without any live TV coverage.

While the president is urging public confidence, his Treasury Secretary is so uninspiring that he is making his big announcements almost alone.

Tim Geithner: Home Alone.

Mister President: Better staff up at Treasury fast and find a refill for Toxic Tim….

Geithner did rename “toxic assets” today….they are now legacy holdings.

The stock market is up in early trading….

Warning to Joe Biden: stay with the telepromter or you’ll end up like Geithner….

Reports on today’s announcement:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/con
tent/article/2009/03/23/AR20090323005
72.html?hpid=topnews

Visit Michelle Malkin:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/23/th
e-david-copperfield-school-of-economic-re
covery-pt-ii/

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner gets a second chance to make a first impression?  Without cameras?  (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Is Obama Serious About Economic Recovery?

March 23, 2009

We were told that Geithner was the best of the best.  Even though he didn’t correctly calculate his taxes, we had to have him.

A few weeks ago he was told by the markets and the congress that his ideas on the taxic asset sell-off were crap.

Now he’s back with a crap re-write of the same failed homework.

He worked for the AIG bonuses: then couldn’t recall much.  And that exploded into a national spectacle: not a confidence fueling event in a time that the president is urging confidence.

And the other White House economic advisors?  Where are they?

I mean except for Larry Summers who is Geithner’s mentor and can’t be counted.  Where are the the 16-members of the Presidential Economic Recovery Advisory Board, headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker?

Well, Politico says today they haven’t met once.

I thought we were in a crisis?

Last night on “60 Minutes” the president seemed to laugh at the economic crisis; MY economic crisis and your economic crisis.

Is he serious about resolving the economic crisis as soon as possible or more interested in using all this to set out a totally new agenda for a new America?

One wonders…

“Perhaps new economic leadership will emerge during this crisis, under our gifted, charismatic president. It seems likely to consist of people who have the kind of experience, judgment and authority Morgan had — possibly a new “trio” made up of the current Fed chairman, Ben Bernanke; Paul Volcker; and Warren Buffett.”

That comment comes from Jean Strouse in Today’s New York Times.

Note that Geithner and Summers are missing from this trio of reconomic recovery….

Strouse in Today’s New York Times:
Does Obama Need New Economic Leadership?

Related:
Obama’s Budget Comes As Government’s Ability To Manage Economy in Doubt

 Resistance grows to Obama’s bigger government


ACORN activists at the homes of AIG executives on Saturday

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

from Politico
By

Six weeks after President Barack Obama appointed a blue-ribbon panel to help him dig America out of its economic crisis, the board has yet to hold an official public meeting.

The White House initially said that the 16-member Presidential Economic Recovery Advisory Board, headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, would meet “every few weeks.” Last month, a spokesperson told POLITICO the group would meet monthly. And more recently, the White House said the high-powered board, set up to address what Obama has called the worst economic emergency since the Great Depression, would gather only about four times a year, with the next session due in “late spring.”

But comments from board members and Obama himself indicate that some members of the panel are meeting, in smaller gatherings that have not been announced or opened to the public. And that raises the question of whether an administration that prides itself on openness and transparency is in fact finding it more convenient to conduct public business in private.

Read the rest:
http://www.politico.com/news/
stories/0309/20343.html

Michelle Malkin:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/23/t
he-david-copperfield-school-of-econom
ic-recovery-pt-ii/

Orlando ‘Tea Party’ Rally Draws 4,000; Protests Obama,Taxes, Economy

March 22, 2009

Singer Lloyd Marcus told the crowd assembled in Lake Eola Park on Saturday that he was going to give them his take on the first days of the Obama administration.

Then he shrieked.

| Orlando Sentinel Staff Writer

That pretty much summed up the mood in the park Saturday afternoon, when more than 4,000 people attended the Orlando Tea Party, a conservative rally aimed at expressing discontent with Washington.

“This is maybe the greatest single gathering of God-fearing patriots in the history of Orlando, Florida,” local conservative radio host Bud Hedinger, who emceed the event, told the crowd.

 The attendees, many of whom said they’d heard about the rally on Hedinger’s radio show, brandished flags and homemade signs bearing slogans such as “Repeal the pork or our bacon is cooked” and “Obama lied, liberty died.”

“We’re really scared about what’s happening in our country,” said Debby Whisenand, 71, of Largo in Pinellas County. She waved a sign that read “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money” on one side, and “You can’t blame Bush anymore” on the other.

'Orlando Tea Party' attendees

Valerie Rike, 52, (left) with sister Christy Bishop, 59, attend the ‘Orlando Tea Party,’ a conservative rally Saturday at Lake Eola, downtown Orlando. (Helen Eckinger, Orlando Sentinel / March 21, 2009)

Her feelings were shared by Lisa Feroli, one of the event’s organizers, who said that a similar fear motivated her to e-mail Hedinger with the idea for the Orlando Tea Party.

“The goal was to get people united, to let people know that they aren’t alone in their feelings on despair,” Feroli said. “We want to speak out against the push toward socialization that we feel is taking place in our country.”

Several speakers addressed the crowd, estimated by Orlando police and event organizers at 4,200, on a variety of topics, including gun rights, freedom of speech, the dangers of communism and, most prevalently, the economy, especially the Obama administration’s bailout plan.

“We have had enough of massive government-driven bailout using our money,” Hedinger said, prompting the crowd to start chanting “U.S.A.” over and over.

The country’s economic woes weighed heavily on attendees, such as Ed Squire, 52, of Winter Springs. Holding a sign that read “Obama — he’s robbin U.S. not Robin Hood,” he said that he was worried about the current rate of government spending.

“There’s absolutely no way as a nation that we can sustain that kind of spending,” Squire said.

Several members of the crowd said they’d recently been laid off, including Ross Iannarelli, 66, of Port Orange, who said he’d just lost his job at an electrical-equipment company.

“They need to shove that bum out,” he said, referring to President Obama. “I hate seeing them spend my grandchildren’s money.”

Read the rest:
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/
local/orl-locteaparty21032209mar2
2,0,426670.story

Related:
Geithner’s Toxic Asset, Bank Plan Offers Nothing New To A Bad Idea

Sen. Gregg says Obama budget will bankrupt US

Related:
Obama Talks Too Much: Time For Action
(Fire Geithner, for one….)

Obama Overexposed

 Threat of inflation sky high

Obama’s Katrina Moment Is Here Now

Obama Administration May Not Understand Economy

 Public Outrage Could Devour Obama Presidency

Financial Advice, Recovery, Trumped by Obama, Congress, Media, Polls
(Maybe Axelrod is giving better advice than Summers, Geithner…)

Protesters At Homes Of AIG Execs
.
Obama, Biden Chat Up Economy; Congress Talking “Stimulus II”

Rosy Talk From Obama and Gang is BS

Michelle Malkin
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/0
3/21/liveblogging-the-lexington-k
y-tea-party/

Obama Talks Too Much: Time to Fire Toxic Tim Geithner

March 22, 2009

Step up, Barack!

People are angry; protesting at the homes of AIG executives.  Congress is eager to act and acting: offering to tax bonuses at 90%.  That’s anger and action: maybe not the kind we need but action nonetheless.

 Did ACORN Organize Protests At Homes of AIG Execs?

But what do we have from the “Boy Wonder” Treasury Secretary?  Old ideas on how to handle toxic assets repackaged by the government and for sale.

But this will take another $1 trillion of taxpayers’ money.

Paul Krugman puts down the Geithner plan in stark terms: it’s not new or inventive and won’t work.

Obama, Geithner Toxic Asset Plan is Old Hash That Won’t Work

And Geithner knew about the AIG bonuses way back: he even worked to preserve them.

See: Wall Street Journal:
Geithner Aides Worked With AIG for Months on Bonuses

Yet President Barack Obama talks too much.  An appearance with Leno was no help to him and last night on “60 Minutes” he was asked if he was “punch drunk.”  And he has a speech scheduled on TV for Tuesday night.

(Some guys are just not gifted at the unscripted, Barack.  Ask Joe Biden.)

And we already know what the president has to say:

He’s outraged, he’s confident, Geithner is a good guy, and his budget spending on the environment, health care, energy, education and the rest will ultimately drag the economy out of this hole and balance the budget.

Bull.

Geithner: AIG must return bonus money

Presidents have been wrong before.  The good presidents admit it.

Forget that budget, at least for a week.  Everyone is focused on AIG and Wall Street and eager for action — not more spending.

Sen. Gregg says Obama budget will bankrupt US

Fix the banks, get lending going, and even if you take Geithner’s toxic assets plan don’t take back “Toxic Tim.”

What President Barack Obama needs to do is something foreign to a community organizer, teacher, and professional elected official: he has to take action; shut up and act.

He’s got to restore confidence: as he has said himself.

He’s got to fire Geithner who is in bed with the Wall Street types he cannot fire.

That means he may have to fire Larry Summers too: because he is also in bed with Wall Street and is Geithner’s mentor in chief.

Geithner is expendable: a guy that has helped Wall Street (according to the left) and a guy that wants to throw around even more money (according to the right).  Plus he is widely seen as weak and has a TV and public appearance persona of a worm.

Larger view
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Some have called all this an “incestuous relationship” …. the Geithner-Wall Street-Summers-politics stew.

Geithner and Summers have no clue what people are going through in the real world: and they have worked so far to protect the likes of Bernie Madoff, Wall Street and the AIG world.

By not realizing the public outrage with the AIG caper; Summers cost the president confidence in his inner economic circle.

The ensuing congressional outrage has probably lessened confidence in AIG forever: which will make it harder to sell off the bad parts and the good parts.  AIG made a lot of mistakes but now “we” the nation have destroyed their brand name forever in the bargain.  And the bonuses were protected in the stimulus and geithner made sure they were paid….

And other companies took money after causing economic ruin and will survive unharmed.

Seem fair?  Is this the new America?  No courts required: just hearings and a trial on TV…..

Saturday, protesters went to the rich AIG executives homes to raise awareness and express outrage  – a kind of witch hunt enters your neighborhood.  This is bad business, bad politics, and bad for law and order.

Meanwhile Vice President Joe Biden made fun of Toxic Tim Geithner even while the president is saying he loves the guy.

“Tim Geithner is always there when you need to borrow money. And no questions asked,” Biden said in what was supposed to be a joke.

Biden: Give Obama a F*&^%$#ing Break

Christina Romer, head of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said on “Fox News Sunday,” “Geithner is doing an excellent job.”

Wanna bet?  Nobody believes that.  Geithner’s poll numbers are bad and if he continues in his job it will be Barack Obama’s poll numbers that suffer….even more.

I can predict the headline: Geithner Blow-back On Obama.

Obama “Strongly Approve” Number from 42% to 36% in Last 60 Days; Geithner 24% Or Less

This is like watching a freshman throw up out the window and it all winds up on the prom queen.

Christina Romer
Romer.  Clueless?

This is the Special Olympics White House.

It isn’t even certain anymore that Helicopter Ben Bernanke knows what he is doing.  By injecting even more money into the economy, he is risking inflation and gold is already up and the dollar already down.

People are angry and demanding action.  Obama should give them action.  Like a Roman emperor: now is the time for a very public thumbs down in the Colosseum of the national media.

File:Colosseum in Rome, Italy - April 2007.jpg

Forget the venue.  Forget the words.  Forget the host: I mean even Leno couldn’t save the president from himself, much as he tried.

“60 Minutes,” Leno, campaigning,  basketball, and a speech from the White House will no longer do.

Americans are no longer hungry to see their president talk, wise crack or fill out his brackets.

Act.

Throw Geithner to the lions.

Then develop a real plan of recovery.  Fix the toxic asset problem and get lending going.  It’s late but it’s never too late for this.

Recovery first, then budget.  It is “the economy stupid.”  The “recovery, stupid.”

We are in a culture war and an economic war at the same time.  Geithner offers good news to either side in either war.

He’s  toxic.  And not an asset.

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

Visit Michelle Malkin:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/23/
the-david-copperfield-school-of-econ
omic-recovery-pt-ii/

Geithner’s Toxic Asset, Bank Plan Offers Nothing New To A Bad Idea

 Shelby: Geithner Needs “180 Degree Change” To Stay At Treasury

Resistance grows to Obama’s bigger government

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

WASHINGTON (AP) – Amid the continuing backlash over AIG bonuses, President Barack Obama is defending his embattled treasury secretary and touting his ambitious $3.6 trillion budget proposal as a boon for ordinary Americans.

And, as early as Monday, the administration is expected to roll out a plan to rid banks of their toxic assets and speed the flow of loans. Some industry officials familiar with the details said they expected the approach would try to remove as much as $1 trillion from banks’ books.

Obama used his weekly radio and Internet address to turn the focus back to his budget proposal, calling it “a firm foundation of investments in energy, education and health care that will lead to a real and lasting prosperity.” He plans a network television interview airing Sunday and a prime-time news conference Tuesday to continue bolstering his case.

The disclosure that American International Group Inc. paid out $165 million in bonuses to employees, including to traders in the financial unit that nearly collapsed the insurer, has dominated the news this week. It has left the Obama administration on the defensive and seeking to refocus attention.

In the interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Obama made clear he was standing behind beleaguered Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who was roundly criticized over the bonus flap and steps to revive the economy.

Obama said that if Geithner offered his resignation, the answer would be, “Sorry buddy, you’ve still got the job.” CBS released excerpts Saturday.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/200
90322/ap_on_go_pr_wh/obama_economy

From CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/BUSI
NESS/03/21/global.economy/index.html

Related:
Obama Overexposed
(Talking too much…)

Threat of inflation sky high

Obama’s Katrina Moment Is Here Now

Obama Administration May Not Understand Economy

 Public Outrage Could Devour Obama Presidency

Financial Advice, Recovery, Trumped by Obama, Congress, Media, Polls
(Maybe Axelrod is giving better advice than Summers, Geithner…)

Protesters At Homes Of AIG Execs
.
Obama, Biden Chat Up Economy; Congress Talking “Stimulus II”

Rosy Talk From Obama and Gang is BS

 Biden Off Mic: “Gimme a f*&$#ing break”

From India, wondering why Obama is on Leno:
http://gvk2.wordpress.com/2009/03/
22/obama-at-jay-leno-show/

http://mcauleysworld.wordpress.com/2
009/03/20/aig-bonuses-who-knew-wha
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In this photo provided by CBS News-60 Minutes, Steve Kroft of ...
Too little too late?  In this photo provided by CBS News-60 Minutes, Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes interviews U.S. President Obama at the Oval Office on Friday, March 20, 2009 in Washington. In an interview with CBS television’s ’60 Minutes,’ Obama said that if Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner offered his resignation, the answer would be, ‘Sorry buddy, you’ve still got the job.’ (AP Photo/CBS News-60 Minutes, Aaron Tomlinson)

Obama’s Katrina Moment Is Here Now

March 22, 2009

A CHARMING visit with Jay Leno won’t fix it. A 90 percent tax on bankers’ bonuses won’t fix it. Firing Timothy Geithner won’t fix it. Unless and until Barack Obama addresses the full depth of Americans’ anger with his full arsenal of policy smarts and political gifts, his presidency and, worse, our economy will be paralyzed. It would be foolish to dismiss as hyperbole the stark warning delivered by Paulette Altmaier of Cupertino, Calif., in a letter to the editor published by The Times last week: “President Obama may not realize it yet, but his Katrina moment has arrived.”

By Frank Rich
The New York Times
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Six weeks ago I wrote in this space that the country’s surge of populist rage could devour the president’s best-laid plans, including the essential Act II of the bank rescue, if he didn’t get in front of it. The occasion then was the Tom Daschle firestorm. The White House seemed utterly blindsided by the public’s revulsion at the moneyed insiders’ culture illuminated by Daschle’s post-Senate career. Yet last week’s events suggest that the administration learned nothing from that brush with disaster.

Otherwise it never would have used Lawrence Summers, the chief economic adviser, as a messenger just as the A.I.G. rage was reaching a full boil last weekend. Summers is so tone-deaf that he makes Geithner seem like Bobby Kennedy.

Bob Schieffer of CBS asked Summers the simple question that has haunted the American public since the bailouts began last fall: “Do you know, Dr. Summers, what the banks have done with all of this money that has been funneled to them through these bailouts?” What followed was a monologue of evasion that, translated into English, amounted to: Not really, but you little folk needn’t worry about it.

Yet even as Summers spoke, A.I.G. was belatedly confirming what he would not. It has, in essence, been laundering its $170 billion in taxpayers’ money by paying off its reckless partners in gambling and greed, from Goldman Sachs and Citigroup on Wall Street to Société Générale and Deutsche Bank abroad.

Summers was even more highhanded in addressing the “retention bonuses” handed to the very employees who brokered all those bad bets. After reciting the requisite outrage talking point, he delivered a patronizing lecture to viewers of ABC’s “This Week” on how our “tradition of upholding law” made it impossible to abrogate the bonus agreements. It never occurred to Summers that Americans might know that contracts are renegotiated all the time — most conspicuously of late by the United Automobile Workers, which consented to givebacks as its contribution to the Detroit bailout plan. Nor did he note, for all his supposed reverence for the law, that the A.I.G. unit being rewarded with these bonuses is now under legal investigation by British and American authorities.

Within 24 hours, Summers’s stand was discarded by Obama, who tardily (and impotently) vowed to “pursue every single legal avenue” to block the bonuses. The question is not just why the White House was the last to learn about bonuses that Democratic congressmen had sought hearings about back in December, but why it was so slow to realize that the public’s anger couldn’t be sated by Summers’s legalese or by constant reiteration of the word outrage. By the time Obama acted, even the G.O.P. leader Mitch McConnell was ahead of him in full (if hypocritical) fulmination.

David Axelrod tried to rationalize the lagging response when he told The Washington Post last week that “people are not sitting around their kitchen tables thinking about A.I.G.,” but are instead “thinking about their own jobs.” While that’s technically true, it misses the point. Of course most Americans don’t know how A.I.G. brought the world’s financial system to near-ruin or what credit-default swaps are. They may not even know what A.I.G. stands for. But Americans do make the connection between their fears about their own jobs and their broad understanding of the A.I.G. debacle.

They know that the corporate bosses who may yet lay them off have sometimes been as obscenely overcompensated for failure as Wall Street’s bonus babies. As The Wall Street Journal reported last week, chief executives at businesses as diverse as Texas Instruments and the home builder Hovnanian Enterprises have received millions in bonuses even as their companies’ shares have lost more than half their value.

Since Americans get the big picture of this inequitable system, that grotesque reality dwarfs any fine print. That’s why it doesn’t matter that the disputed bonuses at A.I.G. amount to less than one-tenth of one percent of its bailout. Or that CNBC — with 300,000 viewers on a typical day by Nielsen’s measure — is a relatively minor player in the crash. Or that Edward Liddy had nothing to do with A.I.G.’s collapse, or that John Thain, of the celebrated trash can, arrived after, not before, others wrecked Merrill Lynch.

These prominent players are just the handiest camera-ready triggers for the larger rage. Passions are now so hot that even Bernie Madoff’s crimes began to pale as we turned our attention to A.I.G.’s misdeeds, just as A.I.G. will fade when the next malefactor surfaces.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/
03/22/opinion/22rich.html?_r=1

Obama Administration May Not Understand Economy

March 22, 2009

When it comes to our complex economy, President Barack Obama would do well to heed the physician’s ancient commandment to first “do no harm.”

Instead, Obama’s administration has been prescribing all sorts of multibillion-dollar borrowing remedies without any consistent diagnosis of what is exactly wrong with the weak economy or even how bad things actually are.

By Victor Davis Hanson
The Washington Times

Since becoming president, Mr. Obama has offered numerous bleak economic prognoses. He has told Americans: “The situation we face could not be more serious. We have inherited an economic crisis as deep and as dire as any since the Great Depression.” He has also warned, “Recovery will likely be measured in years, not weeks or months” and “If nothing is done, this recession could linger for years.”

But suddenly last week, physician Barack Obama flipped and issued an entirely new prognosis: “I don’t think things are ever as good as they say, or ever as bad as they say.” He added. “[Things] are not as bad as we think they are now.”

What happened to living through hard times akin to the Great Depression?

Maybe it was the unexpected news that Citibank and Bank of America are starting to show a profit – thanks to the past bailouts of 2008 and new profitable loans. Maybe it was General Motors’ recent decision not to (for now) ask for more federal cash. Maybe it was the reports that consumer spending is not down as much as feared.

Or did Mr. Obama’s change in rhetoric reflect a sort of premeditated strategy: talk down the economy to scare everyone into supporting more government spending and borrowing. Then, once the stimulus bill has passed, talk up the economy to reassure us that it will work?

Or, as seems more likely, does the new government simply not know what is going on – much less what to do about it?

It can’t seem to fill slots at the Treasury Department, and strangely talks about fiscal responsibility and the evils of pork-barrel spending while expanding upon the Bush budget deficit and approving more than 8,000 earmarks.

Mr. Obama – and Congress – should take a deep breath before further expanding the budget with ever-more stimulus spending, borrowing and aggregate debt that will plague our children, who will have to pay back the trillions long after this present recession ends.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/new
s/2009/mar/22/first-of-all-do-no-harm/

Related:
Public Outrage Could Devour Obama Presidency

Financial Advice, Recovery, Trumped by Obama, Congress, Media, Polls

Protesters At Homes Of AIG Execs

Wall Street Journal: “Geithner Incapacitated;” President Voices Support

Government To Have Bigger Role in All American Lives; Obama Seeks to Increase Oversight of Executive Pay

Dodd Caper, House Vote on 90% Tax, Highlights Founders Hopes; Modern Reality