Are We Depressed Yet?

Brad DeLong has a Geithner Plan FAQ that makes it sound as if it could work, although Professor DeLong’s still appears to be a minority view. Paul Krugman responds to DeLong and says he’s not buying it.

Frank Rich says, in effect, that Obama’s attempts at communication are fine, but the financial team has way too many ties to the old Wall Street boy’s network and is not going nearly far enough to overhaul the system. I cannot argue with that.

Tom Friedman wrote a reasonably perceptive “pox on both their houses” column that some rightie bloggers are selectively quoting as a slam on Barack Obama and the Democrats. But no, Friedman is pissed at everyone. So for the record, here is a paragraph the right-wing bloggers did not quote:

I saw Eric Cantor, a Republican House leader, on CNBC the other day, and the entire interview consisted of him trying to exploit the A.I.G. situation for partisan gain without one constructive thought. I just kept staring at him and thinking: “Do you not have kids? Do you not have a pension that you’re worried about? Do you live in some gated community where all the banks will be O.K., even if our biggest banks go under? Do you think your party automatically wins if the country loses? What are you thinking?”

Thinking? Who’s thinking? Anyway, a number of rightie bloggers gleefully link to Friedman’s column as evidence that Obama is failing, which is what they are rooting for. Their side wins if he loses, you know.

See also Comments From Left Field.

8 thoughts on “Are We Depressed Yet?

  1. Nope, my dear Maha; not at all depressed.
    Out of the ashes rises the phoenix, rocky road ahead, but I’m very used to tough times and tough situations.

    I saw a letter to the editor in the St Petersburg Times last week about how to fix the “grand funk” we are currently in.The letter writer suggests the fed give every working person over the age of fifty one million dollars with the requirement that they should retire from their job, purchase a home (or pay off their current loan), and buy a new American car. The writer says there are 50 million people over the age of 50 currently working, so that means the immediate creation of 50 million jobs, 50 million car sales, and 50 million homes: not to mention the investments, purchases, and the prospect that ypou really can retire! COOL BEANS!!!and do it again in another 10 years, screw those idiots on wall street!

    Hey “gulag, my heart goes out to you. I lost my mom and brother in the last 2 years and I know the pain you are going through. It passes, but there’s always a little sorrow below the surface. Keep Tanya in your heart, Im sure you will….

  2. To add one more wet towel to the whole depressing mess, I offer Jerome a Paris, an investment banker (yes in Paris) who yesterday posted depressed at Daily Kos.

    …the bigger problem is not worthless assets, it’s unlimited liabilities on all the financial bets that were made.

    What is so depressing is that money is being thrown at banks in the guise of solving the asset problem, when it goes to not solving the liabilities problem (because it’s so much bigger) – and that markets know that it’s not solving anything (they have the liabilities on their books, and guess that others have the same).

    What is depressing is that this money – staggering amounts of money – is being wasted when it could be used in ways that actually help the economy (hell, giving a $40,000 check to every living American would be a way smarter use of the same money).

    What is so depressing is that the goal still seems to be to save banks when it should be to save the economy.

    What is depressing is that people are again being steamrolled into “bailouts” – 5 years after being steamrolled into a war against mushroom clouds by essentially the same people – and the Serious People are still wrong, utterly wrong.

    What is depressing is that it’s happening despite a smart Democrat being president.

    What is depressing is that each day that goes by makes the problem noticeably worse. More bailouts. More unemployment. More avoidable economic – and personal – pain. And that this pain has irreversible consequences – people dropping out, people unable to pay for healthcare, people losing their homes, families broken, etc…

  3. I am depressed, but I have been depressed since I lost my job due to a job-related injury and haven’t been able to find another since I “recovered” from my surgeries (I now have a permanent disability which the insurer flat denied).

    BTW, the job was a “day job” (I am/was an artist, and the injuries were to my hands) at a regional BANK where they (not I!) were doing scads of subprime mortgages and then selling them to OSB & Countrywide. The enormous volume is literally what trashed my hands. It increased ten-fold during the time I was there, from 2003-06.

    It gets worse and even more ironic, but I’ll spare you. After reading Taibbi (“It’s over – we’re officially, royally fucked.”), how could you not be depressed? It just seems WAY too big a tanker to turn around. It boggles the mind how even one soul could place party above country. But then, maybe Repugs have no souls…

    Swami – Thank you for sharing that article. I suspect those thoughts are in the back of many people’s minds, but it needed to be said out loud.

  4. So far, the only argument for Geithner’s plan that makes any sense to me is that the better solution, a nationalization plan, would require Congressional approval, which they don’t think they could get, until they try this plan and it fails. Whether they will be given another chance is an open question in my mind.

    As to the question of whether government subsidies will entice enough private investors to bid on the toxic, er, “legacy” assets, I am also skeptical, moreso after reading Jane Hamsher’s post here. There are a lot of purely fraudulent mortages in that pile, and the banksters know it.

    I would like to be proven completely wrong. Really I would.

  5. Maybe we should figure out the total amount of dollars connected with AIG and counterparties (what has flowed through the Fed, the Treaury, to Congress, etc.), print AIGoldmaneros in that amount, then intercept and exchange them as their money flows (putting U.S. currency back into the Treasury – NOT the Fed).

    No one else would accept AIGoldmaneros (including Congress), so eventually they would become a nation unto themselves and we could let them go down in flames. We could pay the Fed our debt and interest in AIGoldmaneros, too, see what happens to them.

    Or maybe the Repugs would be stupid enough to to think they could rebuild their party to a comeback with the worthless currency.

    (I am on pain meds this morning, so this is either a profoundly stupid idea or brilliant.)

  6. Pres Obama has a great plan to keep us safe by his announcement on Afghan/Pakistan today. It is beyond me how millions of Americans could put our national security in peril by ever considering a woman (Sarah Palin) who took 8 years to complete a 2 year degree in Journalism in a small college in President of the USA. Maybe they do not love America as much as they think!

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