Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Who is more believable: Baghdad Bob or Taxman Tim?

Arianna Huffington had an opinion piece that was intended to discuss Obama's healthcare missteps, but she framed her argument in terms of Obama continuing Bush's bailouts and how Obama's failed economic policies have essentially jaded Americans to just about any government intervention in business:

Two days after Senator Kennedy's death, and thus not given much attention, there was a shocking piece in the Washington Post about how America's "too-big-to-fail" banks have gotten even bigger since the meltdown. Four banks (Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citi) now issue 50 percent of America's mortgages and control two-thirds of the nation's credit cards. According to FDIC chair Sheila Blair, this kind of consolidation of power "fed the crisis, and it has gotten worse because of the crisis."

And the consolidation isn't over. As WaPo's David Cho points out, these mega-banks now get even more favorable treatment from creditors because the creditors know the banks will be bailed out by taxpayers if they take on too much risk....

As Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Economy.com puts it: "the oligopoly has tightened." Which is what oligopolies tend to do when left untended.

And what of those who are supposed to be tending the oligopoly? Here's Tim Geithner's rose-colored take:

"Our system is not going to be significantly more concentrated than it is today. And it's important to remember that even now, our system remains much less concentrated and will continue to provide more choice for consumers and businesses than any other major economy in the world."

Is it me, or is Geithner starting to sound more and more like "Baghdad Bob," the absurdist Iraqi Information Minister who predicted that U.S. forces were going to surrender even as American tanks were rolling down the street outside his press conference?

Who is more believable: Tim Geithner or Baghdad Bob? Maybe Sergeant Frank Drebin?

My suggestion for President Obama is to stop everything and start over with financial regulatory reform. Drop healthcare for now and think back to last fall.

During the campaign, then-Senator Obama campaigned against Bush's "failed economic policies." He needs to remember the main reason he was elected - the economy - and address that first. He may then regain some credibility and be able to act on his other concerns, such as healthcare and energy.

Tim White


Anonymous said...

My suggestion for President Obama is to stop everything and start over with financial regulatory reform. Drop healthcare for now and think back to last fall.


Now your sounding just like the national Republicans. Stop everything now and .....

Do you really want him to concentrate on only one thing at a time like Bush did. Do you want the old Bush back, who couldn't walk and talk at the same time.

Obama inherited the biggest disasters since the 30's and not all corrective actions are perfect. It's like medicine where you can have side effects.

And, for some of us that have healthcare, it's easy to say," put it aside for now", it won't hurt us. Remember George Bush's Iraq war it has cost over a trillion dollars and is was supposedly done to make us safe? A trillion dollars wasted and added to the deficit. Why don't we do the health reform, so that 40,000,000 people without health insurance can feel as safe as you and me. It is a national crime that this country doesn't provide the basic necessity of healthcare for all.

Why don't all the people like Joe "No" Lieberman give up their healthcare from today, until everyone has it. Would you be willing to do that?

As far as concentrating on the economy, exactly why do you think it is a lot better now. Experts are seeing real signs of recovery, isn't that obvious.

Anonymous said...

Hey 9:24, Tim is just sounding like the national republicans because he is getting ready for the John Ashcroft visit.

However you are dead wrong about the economy turning around and about national healthcare (cant pay for it) and Obama doing a decent job under the circumstances.

Tim White said...

"because he is getting ready for the John Ashcroft visit"

I've been educated a bit. If my understanding of certain events is correct (say eight mos in jail without being charged), then I have some serious disagreements with him. Actually, I think it could be interesting to ask him about it.... it reminds me of when I spoke with then-SecState Madeline Albright. I went straight up to her and challenged her on something or other. Afterward, my friends told me her secret service guys all went from casual / at-ease to hands in their jackets and ready to draw!

I found it a bit funny because the whole notion that anyone would consider me a danger is completely foreign to me. But I often feel compelled to speak my mind to our elected / appointed officials. And I can see how bodyguards could misinterpret that. Regardless, about 30 mins later after the event was over and me and my friends were still debating where to eat, she reappeared from the room into which she disappeared until (almost) everyone left. We spoke for a few minutes which was nice.

As for Obama's belief that healthcare policy is a higher priority than monetary policy, I disagree.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tim,

Maybe you can follow up with Ashcroft on this one; Patrick Leahy never got his answer:

On November 9th, 2001 Attorney General Ashcroft announced that he was ordering the Justice Department to begin wiretapping and monitoring attorney-client communications in terrorist cases where the suspect was incarcerated. This was not even discussed in HR 3162. That same day Senator Patrick Leahy (D), Vermont wrote to Ashcroft. He had many questions to ask about what the Justice Department had been doing by violating the trust of Congress and assuming powers which were not authorized by either law or the Constitution. Leahy even quoted a Supreme Court case (U.S. v. Robel):

"[T]his concept of "national defense" cannot be deemed an end in itself, justifying any exercise of… power designed to promote such a goal. Implicit in the term ‘national defense’ is the notion that defending those values and ideas which set this Nation apart… It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of one of those liberties… which makes the defense of the Nation worthwhile."

Leahy asked Ashcroft by what authority had he decided - on his own and without judicial review - to nullify the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. He asked for an explanation and some description of the procedural safeguards that Ashcroft would put in place. He asked Ashcroft to appear before the Judiciary committee and to respond in writing by November 13.

On November 16, 2001 Patrick Leahy received an anthrax letter