Friday, February 13, 2009

Framing the bank bailout debate

I'm not sure how often Scooter thinks Arianna Huffington is seeing things accurately, but I think she has framed the bank mess exactly right:

What needs to be done is hard but straightforward. As Martin Wolf of the Financial Times sums it up: "Admit reality, restructure banks and, above all, slay zombie institutions at once."

This tough love for bankers is being promoted by everyone from Nouriel Roubini, Paul Krugman, and Ann Pettifor to Niall Ferguson, the Wall Street Journal, and Milton Friedman's old partner, Anna Schwartz, the co-author of his seminal work, A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960. "They should not be recapitalizing firms that should be shut down," says Schwartz. "Firms that made wrong decisions should fail."

The plan laid out -- or, more accurately, sketched out -- this week by Tim Geithner makes it very clear that he is on the wrong side of the issue, more worried about the banking industry than the American people. ...

The big problem is Geithner is acting as if the crisis we are facing is a crisis of liquidity when, in fact, it's a crisis of insolvency. As Ann Pettifor puts it on HuffPost: "Much of Wall Street is effectively insolvent. It's not that these banks lack cash or capital -- it's just that they're never going to meet all their financial liabilities -- i.e. repay their debts. Ever."

And Josh Marshall at TPM is featuring a guy (Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize-winning economist, former Chief Economist of the World Bank) saying the same thing here. Tapped/American Prospect similarly has posts/articles that are panning TARP II.

That's a survey of the typically-left-leaning blogs that I read on TARP II. If we don't want it and Scooter and his ilk don't want it, Obama will be spending huge political capital and good will to get it done.

1 comment:

Scooter said...

Can't say I disagree with much of that. I just want it to be the good banks like the one you mentioned the other day (or banks in waiting) that pick up the ball after the round of "creative destruction."