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Posts Tagged ‘Geithner’

The Funniest Guy in America

I was a little bereft of blog inspiration this morning when I saw this op-ed by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner:   “Welcome to the Recovery.”

Hahahaha!

I seriously do not think I’ve seen anyone nearly so incompetent, overpromoted, and out of touch with reality until, well, until the last time I took a serious look at Obama.  And if these two think they’ll convince millions of broke, unemployed, underemployed, “under water,” and hurting Americans that they’re in a recovery simply through words and sleight of hand, they are seriously mistaken.

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Interesting piece by Rich Lowry on how, for Obama, America’s history does not matter, and he does not conceive of himself as a defender of America’s reputation.  For him, it’s practically year zero.  To me this has as much to do with his narcissism as his philosophy. It’s all about him! And if he wasn’t around when America did something–such as the very morally defensible, if disastrous, Bay of Pigs invasion–then it should not matter.

On a related matter, Buchanan notes that the Achilles Heel of Democrats has long been their perceived lack of patriotism, and Obama’s recent road show will not help.  I think this is right, though I also agree (and wrote earlier this week) that America may have changed so much that the old Real America may not be numerous enough to slow him down.  Obama has to show himself a champion of America as a vital, historical entity, not simply as a partisan for a grab-bag of liberal principles.  Bush too got burned on this when he pushed amnesty as aggressively as he did.  I think this will be difficult for Obama, though, because he has almost no experience outside of Chicago and the strange locale of Hawaii.  He is a bit of a stranger to his country, in particular to the values and way of life in its interior. He also lacks affection for much of is past, which, though perhaps understandable, does not make him well suited for sustaining the affection of a great many Americans.

I’m no great fan of torture, particularly in the way it was couched in extreme legalism under the Bush administration.  I feel an aggressive application of the pardon power is the better solution in war time, rather than having such terrible acts done deliberately, with the patina of legality, and the consequent degradation of lawmakers and the law.  But I think it’s profoundly dishonest for Obama and others to say constantly that there is no choice between security and “our values.”  There are choices, and they need to be made and defended honestly based on what they entail.   Obama’s days of voting “present” are over.  I confess, I don’t fully understand the critics’ passion on this issue.  There are times when torture might work in saving Americans from a major disaster; an honest opponent of torture–like an honest defender of civil rights–would acknowledge that there are times when we should suffer in order to follow through on this moral commitment, though I think here the scale of harm is so much greater than ordinary crime that it’s a much closer moral question.  War time, unlike ordinary policing, is a different realm, and this is something the lawyer Obama and his numerous lawyer advisers fail to appreciate.  There is little chance any American citizen would be “tortured.”  The victims are all foreigners of one kind or another, in fact all high ranking al Qaeda members.   So long as “rough interrogations” are directed outward, the harm is confined to strange enemies, not potentially innocent accused Americans.  Further, this talk of “our values” is a little results-oriented and astorical  Our “values” did not prevent some pretty rough treatment of the Indians or Japanese.  Waterboarding was common in Vietnam.  George Washington had military commissions, as did FDR.  So “our values” apparently means “today’s liberal values” for most who invoke this question-begging phrase.  I think Obama also will find out that the various perma-bureaucracies in DC, particularly the CIA, have ways of getting even to perceived disrespect, as evidenced this week by the leakage of memos on the effectiveness of torture in preventing a 9-11 style attack on L.A.

Lucian Reed’s photographic essay of combat in Iraq, particularly with the audio of actual combat, is haunting and powerful.  I found him at the Battle Space photography portal. It’s funny how much the media has dropped Iraq; there’s still a war going on, and those of us in military families can’t afford to “tune out.”

Closer to home, a scathing portrait of Tim Geithner.

The economy still looks pretty grim, and the “bear market rally” of the last few months has been a very low volume play thing of day traders and perpetual bulls, as best I can tell.  One area that is rallying, in spite of drops in commodity prices, is ammunition. While gun prices have dropped some since January, ammo’s getting impossible to find, and price has tripled from 2-3 years ago.  People who used to have a hundred rounds or so sitting around the house are, quite obviously, stockpiling.  This is Obama-inspired, mostly, but it’s also inspired by the general fear out there among the peasantry.  This is or course a smallish market with various impediments to entry and importation, and it’s subject to occasional panics like this one.  Then again, this may be “how it is” so long as a gun-grabber is in the White House.

As a “signs of the times,” perhaps fearful of the devalued dollar, China has assumed a much larger gold position in the last several years.

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More like this over at Daily Bail.

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If we’re going to be spending tons of money on helping banks and dying, mismanaged companies, would it be too much to ask that the redistribution does not go from the productive 25% or so of this country to the risk-preferring .0001% on Wall Street, but that these huge sums actually goes to homeowners in some plan that injected capital into their pockets or forgave their debt in the process? Perhaps such a plan would allow those with reasonable prospects of repayment to pay down 25% of principal or lock in 5% notes over 40 years or something else that actually will not quickly blow up in the government’s face. Wouldn’t this be preferable to the current scheme whereby the housing-induced insolvency for banks is resolved by moving huge sums of taxpayer dollars around from AIG to Goldman or Credit Suisse and then back into the pockets of a few sovereign wealth funds, hedge funds, bank bond holders, and the like?

I mean, I’m not for any of this, but between helping Bear Stearns, GMAC, and AIG with capital infusions and helping average guys who are upside down on their houses, I guess I’d rather just have good, old-fashioned wealth redistribution. After all, the latter arguably would help more people, cut out the middle man in the form of the banks getting direct cash infusions and FDIC leverage, and would at least spread out the benefit of the inevitable inflation that we will face as result of the Treasury’s abject terror at the prospect of a few big banks’ failing. Welfare at least is more transparent and likely to create some Republican (and renter) backlash in comparison to the dishonest claims of “investment,” “emergency,” and Rooseveltian prescience surrounding the bank bailouts.

Of course, the banks have in reality failed, and they are insolvent. The loss is simply being spread to the taxpayers and the few well run banks through FDIC premiums. None of these measures will replace the huge sums of lost wealth nor lead to more lending–for housing or anything else.  Why?  Because the whole economy is uncertain, malinvested, and buried under huge sums of debt undertaken in times where we collectively foresaw a rosier future, and Obama’s reactive responses to these phenomena increase uncertainty, which is a major impediment to wealth creation and risk-taking economic behavior.

What exactly is propelling this Democratic Tribune of the People to spend so much money and political capital to bail out mismanaged bank shareholders and bond holders, who in effect endorsed the banks’ acquisition of huge positions in MBS and ABS products? I don’t think, like Clinton, he is a kind of globalist pro-capital guy, who wants to help international capital so long as DC gets a slightly larger cut. Judging by his rhetorical clumsiness on this issue, it seems more likely that Obama is acting out of a combination of ignorance, fear, and insecurity. After all, it would take real philosophical vision of free markets or a philosophical commitment to Krugman-style redistribution to stare down Bernanke and Geithner in a game of chicken. Obama has effectively outsourced the most important policies of his administration to these Wall Street lackeys, preferring instead to strong arm Detroit into making flying cars and spending time to gin up exquisitely nuanced youtube videos for the Iranian censors to jam.

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