The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Friday, February 13, 2009
It's Not As Bad as it Looks--It's Worse
I hate to say it but we have got to find a way to right the ship at the White House. History has reached out and tapped this novice on the shoulder at a time when there is real danger his bungling will result in a catastrophic economic collapse as bad as the worst in our history.
Many historians believe that the Panic of 1837 (a speculative boom to bust combined with an inflationary crisis) was even worse than the Depresssion in the 1930’s. One third of all banks in the US failed. For different reasons, we are looking at a similar crisis today in the financial markets. It is not likely that we will see 1/3 of all banks in the country go under. But unless our unsteady and clueless Treasury Secretary can get his act together – and quickly – the dominoes will begin to topple, starting with giants like Citibank, working its way down to powerful regional banks like Fifth Third.
The idea of building up anticipation for the announcement of a plan to deal with this crisis as the White House did all last weekend and then first, delaying the announcment a day and then sending out Geithner with not much of a plan at all is shocking. Didn’t the bozos at the White House have any clue that the markets were on tenterhooks waiting for this plan? When nothing much materialized, many concluded that the White House and their financial wunderkind Geithner were stymied. They didn’t know how to solve the crisis and were fumbling around in the dark, trying to figure out what to do. The markets reacted accordingly and here we are, three days out from Geithner’s “deer in headlights” appearance before Congress where he was actually laughed at by members and Congressional staffs, and we still haven’t fleshed out many details of how this “plan” is going to work , how much it will cost the taxpayer, which banks will get more cash, which will be lucky enough to have toxic assets removed from their balance sheets, and on and on into the darkness.
We know that bank executives will have their salaries set by the Treasury Department, though so that’s something. Congratulations to Geithner and his boss for concentrating on the real important stuff like playing the class warfare game by sticking it to the rich bankers.
They’ve screwed up monumentally on the big stuff like the “Financial Stability Act” that no one knows how it will work as well as the stimulus bill that even if you believe we need to spend every dime of it, one must be concerned that this 1500 page monster of a bill will never be read in its entirety because the Democrats and the White House refuse to publish it and there isn’t enough time to read it and study it anyway.
The frightening fact that this reveals is that these guys aren’t really that smart after all. For all the talk of a “team of rivals” and the brilliance of our president and his people, the truth is a lot more prosaic; they have proven themselves to be as incompetent and thick headed as Bush ever was. Personnel problems the likes we have never seen with Judd Gregg the latest colossal blunder. Obama’s promise that if the stim bill passes, the head of Caterpillar will rehire some people has been revealed to be a lie or wishful thinking on the part of the president when the CEO - a supporter of the president – contradicted his optimistic rhetoric.
Then there’s the aggrandizing of power within the White House, marginalizing the Secretary of State and the bureaucracy. The last president that tried this? Nixon. And he was roundly criticized when it turned out the State Department never knew what the White House was doing behind its back. This led to some comical foreign policy blunders including the temporary derailment of our rapproachment with China. One could add the politicizing of the census, a tiff with the military over Iraq that had the president retreating from his campaign rhetoric about withdrawal, a rambling, disjointed press conference that resembled a question and answer session between 3rd graders and their teacher, and the general feeling emenating from the administration that no one is in charge.
Read the whole thing. And pray.