Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Baby-the-Banks Bailout

Making some amends for her newspaper's hyping yesterday, Maureen Dowd, bless her salty tongue, today pistol-whips Tim Geithner's baby-the-banks bailout plan:

"The problem is that the 'lost faith' that Geithner talked about...cannot be restored as long as the taxpayers who are funding these wayward banks don’t have more control.

"Geithner is not even requiring the banks to lend in return for the $2 trillion his program will try to marshal, mostly by having the Fed print money out of thin air, thereby diluting our money, or borrowing more from China. (When, exactly, can China foreclose on us and start sending us toxic toys again?)

"There’s a weaselly feel to the plan, a sense that tough decisions were postponed even as President Obama warns about our 'perfect storm of financial problems.' The outrage is going only one way, as we pony up trillion after trillion."

This cautious approach is in striking contrast to the Obama Administration's all-in attitude toward the stimulus bill.

“If folks are still unemployed," the President told a Florida rally yesterday, "then you guys won’t employ me next time I come down here...I expect to be judged by results. I’m not going to make any excuses. If stuff hasn’t worked and people don’t feel like I’ve led the country in the right direction, then you’ll have a new president.”

Putting himself on the line this way, why is Obama unwilling to take on the banks more directly, as some of his advisers apparently wanted him to do?

Geithner's cautious, sketchy "plan" even sent Wall Street into a swoon. No one expects government to control the banks forever, but as long as taxpayers pour trillions into their greedy little hands, someone should be making sure they are keeping their sticky fingers clean.

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