Timmeh

Whatever you think about Matt Stoller, he’s all over the bullshit in Geithner’s bio:

So why did Geithner actually release this book? Perhaps he wants to make himself look good. It wouldn’t be the first time for a DC memoir. Or maybe the reason is more prosaic—maybe the book actually helps Tim Geithner make money. Geithner left Treasury and is now the President of Warburg Pincus, a powerful private equity group that buys and sells companies. Geithner has no understanding of this business, but he was hired anyway to run it, or at least appear like he runs it. Why? Sure, he’s a talented guy, but one obvious reason is because of his network of contacts in government and in the banking world. Elites like Geithner trade on their credibility, so he must have his fictionalized version of the crisis in print. If he doesn’t, then officials might eventually listen to the version put out by Elizabeth Warren, Neil Barofsky, and others and tune him out. While Geithner can’t block Elizabeth Warren from telling her story, at least he can throw sand in the umpire’s face.

Thanks to reader J for sending this in.






150 replies
  1. 1
    some guy says:

    Countdown until some BJ Center Right Fight Club member Rightsplains that Geithner was never indicted for any criminal actions begins now….. my money is on MomSense in 12 minutes.

  2. 2
    another Holocene human says:

    Man, I’ve hated that guy since Paulson was in his job. Obama appointing him or was it keeping him post Jan, don’t recall, was the only decision I was ever really pissed at Obama for. I guess Obama will have to tell us in time if it was clueless ness (ugh) or if he was using Timmeh like the tool he is.

    At the end of the day, Geithner, BB, and Obama saved the world from a total financial meltdown following conventional wisdom. Unfortunately Congress failed to reinstall financial safety measures that Clinton Rubin and Greenspan rts removed so they could hit rid theeconomy, so we could be bbailing out the young man when he weeks the car again, I mean Wall Street when they Wall Street. A snake will bite you.

  3. 3
    Baud says:

    Geithner has no understanding of this business, but he was hired anyway to run it

    I assumed that was true of most CEOs.

  4. 4
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    If Geithner would have done his job as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (2003-2009) the bailout might not have been necessary. Obama appointing him Treasury Secretary was like making an arsonist the Fire Chief.

    ETA: From their own web site:
    The Federal Reserve Bank of New York works within the Federal Reserve System and with other public and private sector institutions to foster the safety, soundness and vitality of our economic and financial systems.

  5. 5
    c u n d gulag says:

    Well, the pay’s a whole hell of a lot better, than if he’d just ‘sold his soul to the company store!’

  6. 6
    glasnost says:

    As the book moved into the guts of his career, the Mexican crisis in the early 1990s, I began to come into contact with events that could actually be fact-checked. In 1994, just after NAFTA was signed, Mexico experienced a massive currency collapse. The roots of the crisis were excessive lending by American banks to Mexico, so the US Treasury–funded bailout helped ensure that Mexico could pay its debts and that US banks had their money returned. Geithner participated in the rescue designed by then Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin. The bailout was deeply unpopular at the time, and Congress refused to fund it. But Rubin found the financing for the wall of money in an old account called the Exchange Stabilization Fund, and the American banks who had lent to Mexico were ultimately paid back. Geithner presents this as a triumph of wisdom over the stupidity and cravenness of a short-sighted Congress and impatient public. Yet as Dean Baker notes, “Mexico had the worst per capita growth of any major country in Latin America in the two decades following” the bailout.

    There’s another serious omission about this period in Geithner’s career: his time as a Treasury lobbyist. As documents unearthed by financial analyst Josh Rosner show, in the late 1990s, Geithner, Summers, and Rubin lobbied for World Trade Organization rules forcing the liberalization of financial services across borders, at the behest of large bank CEOs. This matters because the entire book is about Geithner’s reflections on financial crises, and one of the central causes of these crises was ‘hot money.’ “Globalization had unleashed enormous sums of ‘hot money’ that could instantaneously flow across borders,” he warns, “while the aspects of human psychology that had helped produce financial booms and crises for centuries remained unchanged.”

    By presenting globalization as an inherent natural force, and not mentioning his role in crafting the policies that led to hot money flows, he misleads by omission. In other words, Geithner wasn’t just a firefighter, but an arsonist. You wouldn’t know this, because Geithner in the book laments free capital flows. But he wasn’t lamenting them when it mattered (and the position of the US government’s trade representative today is still that hot money is good

    Most revealing graf:

    Yet as he also recounts, he was recruited to the Fed by billionaire Pete Peterson, his patron was former Goldman Sachs head and then Citigroup chairman Bob Rubin, and it was Citigroup executive Michael Froman who introduced him to Barack Obama. He was even heavily recruited to be Citigroup CEO in 2007. Geithner made the Fed far more Wall Street–friendly, recruiting bank veterans for high-level management positions. He also reorganized the New York Fed Board to include prominent financiers, “including Lehman Brothers CEO Dick Fuld; JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon; former Goldman Sachs Chairman Steve Friedman, who was still on the firm’s board of directors; and General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt.” As he put it, “I basically restored the New York Fed board to its historic roots as an elite roster of the local financial establishment.” His former colleague on the Obama economic team Paul Volcker even mocked him for being so close to the big banks. These are not the actions of someone who has a distant relationship with Wall Street power players.

    I really didn’t know about this. Is there more?

  7. 7
    maya says:

    Geithner’s meltup?

  8. 8
    raven says:

    70th Anniversary of D-Day boys and girls.

  9. 9
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    Obama appointing him Treasury Secretary was like making an arsonist the Fire Chief.

    Yep. Obama has been a great president, but the trust placed in Geithner, Summers, et al, is a notable blind spot. If HRC is the next nominee, the Wall Street coddling will likely intensify, which sucks.

  10. 10
    geg6 says:

    @raven:

    Yes. My Uncle Bud (Ernest) had floated down into coastal France during the night and was frantically clicking his way through some hedgerows.

  11. 11
    Downpuppy says:

    @raven: Starting The Longest Day early?

  12. 12
    Betty Cracker says:

    @raven: Tomorrow, right? My grandfather was there, a country boy from rural Florida who waded ashore at Utah Beach and fought clear to Berlin. When I asked him if he was scared on D-Day, he said only of getting the cigars in his jacket pocket wet. He was just sparing me the horror of it all, I’m sure.

  13. 13
    geg6 says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Sadly, you are correct.

    It’s one of the couple of areas where I have real issues with my president.

  14. 14
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    @some guy:

    You can’t preempt dickishness with dickishness…at least not effectively.

  15. 15
  16. 16
    raven says:

    @geg6: 101st or 82nd?

  17. 17
    aimai says:

    That is an outstanding article! Thanks for linking to it. It is well worth reading and sending around to other people.

    To Betty’s point, imiediatly upthread from me, I just don’t see any way that the Democrats as a party get away from the corporate wing. Even an “outsider,” if there were to be one, has to kiss their rings at this point. And no one wants to rock the boat in stormy weather. It would take a long period of peace and security to make it possible to think about reining these guys in and at that point the urgency is missing. We are stuck with our corporate lackeys and masters, I’m afraid, because (just as in the Republican Party) its one part of the mix that actually wins elections. The money part.

  18. 18
    geg6 says:

    @raven:

    101st

  19. 19
    Roger Moore says:

    @Baud:

    I assumed that was true of most CEOs.

    Many CEOs come from within the area, and often from within the company, where they work. You hear about the superstars who people assume can move from Pepsi to Apple without missing a beat, but they’re very much the exception.

  20. 20
    dmbeaster says:

    I think Obama knew next to nothing about these economic and regulatory questions in 2009 and relied on these corrupt insiders. It is a stark example of regulatory capture by Wall Street. Geitner was the proponent of that sick program in 2009 for Treasury to buy up the sick assets, the ultimate suck up.

    Geitner is just a footnote in how corrupt the financial sector has become.

  21. 21
    raven says:

    @geg6: I met a woman at the conference I attended whose father was killed with the 101st in Vietnam in 66. She told me how the company commander (a famous West Point football player) called in napalm on his own position as they were being overrun near Dak To. I did some digging and found first hand accounts that said he called it in on someone else’s position and that the survivors would have killed him if they hadn’t transferred him to Westy’s staff. I don’t think she needs to know that.

  22. 22
    Rob in CT says:

    @dmbeaster:

    Probably.

    Whether it was ignorance or malice, the results were the same.

  23. 23
    Roger Moore says:

    @glasnost:

    Yet as Dean Baker notes, “Mexico had the worst per capita growth of any major country in Latin America in the two decades following” the bailout.

    The other points are interesting, but this is weak shit. I’d say he’s blaming the bailout when he should be blaming NAFTA, but he doesn’t even have the courage to do that. Instead, he’s presenting a correlation with the bailout and hoping people will assume causation without him having to come out and say something that stupid.

  24. 24
    Roger Moore says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    My grandfather was there, a country boy from rural Florida who waded ashore at Utah Beach and fought clear to Berlin.

    My grandpa didn’t come across until D+3, and he wound up in Czechoslovakia rather than Berlin.

  25. 25
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Baud:

    I assumed that was true of most CEOs.

    How many CEOs have already testified that they knew nothing of what was going on in their businesses? I will state for the record that I will be CEO of any company and remain unaware of what that company is doing for half the pay of my predecessor.

  26. 26
    RP says:

    This explanation is far too complicated. Think about occam’s razor. I’m sure he wrote the book because he got a big advance from the publisher and his ego demands that he gets his story out there. I doubt it has anything to do with his current job.

  27. 27
    gene108 says:

    I know folks, who worked in NYC banks during the financial crisis. Their view is Geithner was not going enough to keep the banks from facing regulations that would hurt their ability to make money.

    The disconnect between the investment world and the rest of us is staggering. They really do not grasp the real world consequences of an M&A deal that lays of 10,000 workers because those workers are redundant when two companies merge. To them it is just about getting a good deal for the share holders of the acquired company and setting up the acquiring company to make money on the investment.

    Part of the disconnect I’ve seen is that very driven ambitious people really do not fathom why everyone is not like them. Why the fuck would somebody want to be a teacher and basically work on a fixed payscale and not compete with their co-workers to out earn them and make more money. They just do not grasp different strokes for different folks.

    What they do in the real world is more than not being able to make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, it’s that “You can’t make an omelette without ruthlessly crushing dozens of eggs (peasants) beneath your steel boot and then publicly disemboweling the chickens (more peasants) that laid them as a warning to others”

  28. 28
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I still think the story of the Obama presidency would have been a lot different if the financial crisis had hit at any other time. We never got a real chance to watch, and participate in, a debate over What’s To Be Done. If we had that chance, Team Obama might have had more complete plans and, importantly, more of a (I hate this word) “mandate” to do them right away. Without it, I feel like he turned to technocrats, crisis managers, and vanilla known quantities like Geithner who wouldn’t rock the boat, rather than to anyone inclined to do anything bolder or more creative.

  29. 29
    askew says:

    Is this link to an asshole week? Between this and Cole dragging up a link to TalkLeft, I am getting even less excited about 2016. Are we really just going to pretend these guys weren’t racist dillholes during the 2008 primaries? What are we getting next a link to Jerome Armstrong at myDD where he explains his blog calling Obama a Chocolate Carter isn’t racist or maybe a link to FDL and Jane “blackface” Hamsher explaining why she thinks working with Grover Norquist is the most liberal thing to do?

  30. 30
    raven says:

    @askew: The Norquist affair is what got me banned!

  31. 31
    Emma says:

    @FlipYrWhig: The problem is that, to paraphrase an old saying, when you’re up to your ass in alligators, you’re not going to think about draining the swamp. You have to do something NOW, or else. Especially this particular president, who’s had a (metaphorical and political) target painted on his back from day 1.

    The biggest problem with the conversation we need to have is that it has to tackle some of America’s biggest sacred cows in spite of a group who is completely invested in maintaining them because they benefit directly from them. The wealthiest have bought themselves the best government money can buy and they’re not going to give up without a bloody fight.

  32. 32
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    The lack of debate, or of the time for considered remedies led to a perilous outcome. The TBTF institutions are bigger than ever and there was no reinstatement of something like Glass-Stiegel. The result is that nothing was done to significantly reduce the chance of another meltdown followed by another “or else” bailout.

  33. 33
    askew says:

    @raven:

    @askew: The Norquist affair is what got me banned!

    I never posted at FDL, but I got targeted at Daily Kos for calling out Blackface Hamsher and the people she was paying to post at Daily Kos to try to kill the health care bill. Luckily, she and her minions failed at killing the bill. Unfortunately, their actions drove away a huge section of the sane people on Daily Kos.

    As for Geithner, I think he made some mistakes during his time at Treasury but he was also smeared by the left on things that weren’t true. The left went around telling everyone that he left Wall Street to come be Treasury Sec. even though he had worked in the public sector his entire life.

  34. 34
    Amir Khalid says:

    Good God. For a moment there, I thought constitutional mistermix had gone around the twist and posted about Ted & Hellen.

  35. 35
    raven says:

    @askew: She has chemo brain.

  36. 36
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: I think that’s right. The comparison I always come back to is how a big part of the Bush vs. Gore campaign was the competing plans for what to do with the budget surplus (haha, it’s funny because it’s true). At least we knew what they intended to do financially/economically, from early on. I don’t think we got a chance to find out what the Obama Economic Plan would be, much less the McCain one, until it got reduced to “for or against the bailout,” and then afterwards “for or against the stimulus.” If Obama had _run on_ a trillion-dollar stimulus _and won_, I’m not sure there would have been the same problems steering it through Congress, because people advising Democrats wouldn’t have been so gun-shy about the word “trillion.” But I suppose youneverknow.

  37. 37
    aimai says:

    @askew: Read the Stoller article and find out how very not true that is. At the level Geithner was playing at he was more an intermediary between Wall Street and the public sector than he was some kind of noble public servant.

  38. 38

    @Betty Cracker: Don’t forget Obama pushing austerity too. He probably drank the Milton Friedman Kool Aid while he was at UChicago.

  39. 39

    @Amir Khalid: That’s what I thought too.

  40. 40
    Betty Cracker says:

    @askew: Stoller and Merritt were “racist dillholes” in 2008? I thought they were/are firebaggers with a dash of PUMA.

  41. 41
    taylormattd says:

    @askew: right?

  42. 42
    Betty Cracker says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I take a more charitable view on that: After 2010, the granny-starvers really did have a lot of momentum, and Obama gave a nod to austerity measures as a tactic to gain stimulus support. I don’t think his heart was in it.

  43. 43
    taylormattd says:

    @Betty Cracker: I don’t think Stoller is particularly racist, he has just been trashing Obama online for nearly a decade at this point.

    But Jeralynn, I’m sorry, there is no other way to interpret what that site has become, imo. She sounds like Larry Johnson at NoQuarter.

  44. 44

    @Betty Cracker:

    I don’t think his heart was in it.

    May be not, but he encouraged those bastards instead of focusing on reducing unemployment.

  45. 45
    lukeallen1 says:

    95% cut/paste markymux phones another one in.

  46. 46
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Lawrence Lessig used to teach at UChicago Law too. Is he also a kool-aid drinker in your book?

  47. 47
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Betty Cracker: what were these nods to austerity again? Are we talking about chained CPI (which was never a stand-alone proposal) and generic remarks about belt-tightening?

  48. 48
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: yeah, he probably should have done some sort of massive spending bill right at the start of his administration.

  49. 49
    Betty Cracker says:

    @taylormattd: I haven’t read TalkLeft in a long time, but if Merritt says racist things or allows racists to post on her site like Johnson did, that’s disappointing to say the least. But racism is a serious charge that should not be leveled without evidence. Criticizing Obama, even for 10 straight years, isn’t evidence of racism. Some people are just lefty malcontent firebaggers. I used to be one, so I know.

    @FlipYrWhig: Yes, and I’m aware that chained CPI wasn’t a standalone proposal, which is why I characterized them as “nods” and mentioned that they were tactical feints to build support for stimulus.

  50. 50

    @FlipYrWhig: I don’t know enough about him to comment. The effect that Milton Friedman and others like Lucas from the Econ Dept of University of Chicago have had on shaping the current dysfunctional conventional wisdom on macroeconomics and economics in general cannot be underestimated.

  51. 51

    @taylormattd: Yet a lot of people have automatically forgiven the LGF guy after all the trash he used to post. Go figure.

  52. 52

    @FlipYrWhig: He did do the stimulus bill but it was not enough. The idiots from Maine saw to that. I forget whether they voted for it in the end.

  53. 53
    catclub says:

    @aimai: If you read to the end, there are a few optimistic notes.

    ETA: Although right before a negative one on the new SEC enforcement chief, who I thought might be an improvement over the past.

  54. 54
    raven says:

    WASHINGTON — Saying that he no longer gets surprised by “whipped up” controversies in Washington, D.C., President Barack Obama on Thursday gave his most forceful defense to date of his decision to swap five Taliban leaders for an American prisoner of war.

    “We saw an opportunity and we seized it, and I make no apologies for that,” he said.

    Speaking at a press conference in Brussels, Obama said that his administration acted on a bedrock principle that the United States does not leave soldiers behind on the battlefield. On several occasions, he was defiant while explaining why he needed to bring Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl home to the U.S. after five years in captivity.

    “I think it was important for people to understand that this is not some abstraction, this is not some political football,” Obama said. “You have a couple of parents whose kid volunteered to fight in a distant land, who they hadn’t seen in five years, and weren’t sure whether they’d ever see again. And as commander in chief of the United States armed forces, I am responsible for those kids.

    “I write too many letters to folks who unfortunately don’t see their children again after fighting a war,” he said. “I make absolutely no apologies for making sure that we get back a young man to his parents, and that the American people understand that this is somebody’s child, and that we don’t condition whether or not we make the effort to try and get them back.”

  55. 55
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @raven: Yep.

  56. 56
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: That would make more sense if Obama had taken courses in the economics department there, rather than teaching courses in the affiliated law school. I pulled up a list of current and former U Chicago law profs and saw some douchebags and some heroes. I don’t think the notion that U Chicago shaped Obama really holds water anyway, but particularly not if you see who else would have to be put in the same bag with him. It’s not a homogenous group.

  57. 57
    Betty Cracker says:

    @raven: Oh, good for him. That’s exactly the right message.

  58. 58
    taylormattd says:

    @Phil Perspective: I honestly found that shocking too. That site was such a cesspool, it was indistinguishable from Stormfront, imo. I had people telling me he had banned all of those people and recanted, but I didn’t believe them and refused to click on the site for a very long time, lol

  59. 59

    @FlipYrWhig: I am speaking of the generic remarks about living within our means like a household. The economy of a country cannot be compared to a household.
    For example, if I print money it is not legal tender and no one is going to honor it.
    Austerity during a recession cannot make an economy grow. Obama should have been out there spreading that message, not giving rentiers like Pete Peterson rhetorical support.

  60. 60
    catclub says:

    @Roger Moore:

    The other points are interesting, but this is weak shit. I’d say he’s blaming the bailout when he should be blaming NAFTA, but he doesn’t even have the courage to do that. Instead, he’s presenting a correlation with the bailout and hoping people will assume causation without him having to come out and say something that stupid.

    It is weak shit. but if Geithner was making the argument that the Mexico bailout was the best thing that could have happened to Mexico, it is a sufficient refutation of that.

  61. 61

    @FlipYrWhig: That is my guess not a serious theory to be submitted for peer review. So what do you think shaped Obama’s economic views?

    ETA: You do not have to go to UChicago to be under the sway of the economists at U of Chicago. Their views are what passes for conventional wisdom in economics right now.

  62. 62
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: You know who went to law school at U of Chicago? Richard Cordray. There are some Law and Economics guys who teach there, notably Judge Richard Posner, but I don’t think that the law school is infused with the spirit of the Econ Department.

  63. 63
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:
    The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was a nod in the right direction. It failed to significantly affect jobs and the economy because its public spending made up for less than one-third of the losses in private spending.

  64. 64
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Betty Cracker: All right, but I think “austerity” is a grave misnomer for anything he’s ever said or done. IMHO “Austerity” per se is the idea that cuts in social services will hurt but that shared pain will be good for everyone in the long run. I don’t think he’s ever sounded that note. He’s much more likely to talk about waste and efficiency. IOW he’s favored _cuts_ of various kinds, and we can talk about whether those have always been smart (the pay freeze for federal employees, for instance, was not smart), but AFAIK he’s never rationalized them in the spirit of austerity.

  65. 65
  66. 66
    Belafon says:

    According to Dick Morris, Obama’s real agenda is to close Gitmo. O.M.G. Dick’s onto us.

  67. 67
    catclub says:

    Stoller does not spend much time on the lack of mortgage refinancing/cramdowns, but that is the key to this. Bankers have needs, because Geithner knows bankers. Little people with underwater mortgages are unknown to him.

  68. 68

    @FlipYrWhig: Austerity is cutting government spending. Cutting government spending when the private sector is in recession is insanity. That is what the Grand Bargain was all about and Obama was actively pushing it.

  69. 69
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Because of the ‘nym? I have no idea if anyone has taken any action to fix the problem, so I am continuing with this one because it seems to work.

  70. 70
    askew says:

    @taylormattd:

    @Betty Cracker: I don’t think Stoller is particularly racist, he has just been trashing Obama online for nearly a decade at this point.

    But Jeralynn, I’m sorry, there is no other way to interpret what that site has become, imo. She sounds like Larry Johnson at NoQuarter.

    Jeralynn has allowed her site to become a cesspool of racists since 2008. Armando tried to stop it but Jeralynn was egging the behavior on.

    There are too many people here who give a pass to racists on the left, while ripping apart the ones on the right.

    I could be wrong about Stoller and if so I apologize. I get him mixed up with the other 2 assholes from OpenLeft who lost their damn minds when John Edwards didn’t beat Obama.

    It gets hard keeping track of the many white liberal heroes who became raging racist dillholes – Jane Hamsher, Jerome Armstrong, Larry Johnson, Jeralynn, etc.

  71. 71
    Hurling Dervish says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Bernie Sanders is a U of C alum. Think he drank the KoolAid while he was there?

  72. 72
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I question whether he was pushing it because he believed in the concept of austerity of because he thought (rightly or wrongly) that, with the Congress he had it, was the best that could be achieved.

  73. 73
    Roger Moore says:

    @Phil Perspective:

    Yet a lot of people have automatically forgiven the LGF guy after all the trash he used to post.

    People are more likely to forgive somebody who has an actual “come to Jesus” moment where they publicly admit that they were wrong. Charles Johnson may have been on the wrong side, but he’s been quite public about changing his mind and turning on his erstwhile allies. That gives people some kind of confidence that he isn’t just hiding his beliefs because he knows they’re impolitic, which is frequently a worry with people who are less overtly racist and just shut up about it.

  74. 74
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Good luck coming up with an explanation for the national economy that doesn’t rely on the analogy to a household, which is how virtually everyone experiences the economy. I think that’s a hollow complaint, frankly. I would much rather see liberals and progressives _claim_ the household analogy and use it effectively–for instance, everyday people rely on borrowed money all the damn time, and don’t consider themselves to be recklessly in debt when they buy a house or a car or get money from a bank to expand their businesses, as long as they make the payments. Thus when the government borrows money, as when households do, the significant factor is what they’re borrowing money _to do_, and whether it makes long-term sense. Running up your credit card going to restaurants is a bad idea because you don’t keep what you bought. Getting a mortgage makes sense (if you’re careful about rates and terms).

    Bang. I just used a household analogy and didn’t have anything to do with “austerity.”

  75. 75
    askew says:

    @Phil Perspective:

    @taylormattd: Yet a lot of people have automatically forgiven the LGF guy after all the trash he used to post. Go figure.

    He apologized and is no longer posting racist stuff. None of these lefties have ever acknowledged their racism or encouragement of racism and certainly never apologized for it.

  76. 76

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Its a very good school except for the con artists at the Econ dept.

  77. 77

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): It may have made political sense but did not make economic sense, not if reducing unemployment was a goal.

  78. 78
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: No, that’s not what austerity is. Is it “austerity” to eliminate funding for useless aircraft the military doesn’t want? How about eliminating funding for abstinence-only education? By your logic, all cuts would have to be equally austere, because less money is less money, regardless of what it’s being spent on. That doesn’t seem like a workable political or economic viewpoint.

  79. 79
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @raven:

    How times have changed. When I served, “We leave no man behind,” was an iron rule. Circumstances did not matter; the fucker could have been heroically defending his unit or he could have deserted his post and been grabbed on his way to the whore house, either way we did everything and anything we could to get him back. I can think of no better way to destroy morale than to make that formerly iron rule contingent on the approval of a bunch of asshole politicians and pundits – most of whom never served in the military.

    Obama did the right thing.

  80. 80

    @FlipYrWhig: The economy of a nation is far more complicated than a household, your disagreeing with that does not change that fact. What is true for a household is not true for the US economy. Period.
    @FlipYrWhig: Money is fungible so all cuts are austerity. The focus should have been jobs not cuts of any kind. Since we disagree on the basic premise. I don’t see any reason to continue this debate.

  81. 81
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: And Obama’s connection to the economics department of a school he didn’t attend is, what, exactly?

  82. 82
    some guy says:

    it took a whole one hour and 55 minutes. I guess it’s a slow day.

  83. 83
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Well, that’s the problem with governing in a democracy, isn’t it? One can’t always do the thing that makes the most economic/scientific/etc. sense. One often ends up having to do something that at best approximates it

  84. 84
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: You and I both know that in no real sense does the sun “come up,” and yet we still use that phrase. Sometimes you have to acknowledge the way normal people experience things. And the way you and I experience the economy is that we pay for stuff. Trust me, there’s no way you are going to be able to defeat the household analogy. The number of people who understand monetary policy is essentially zero. The number of people who understand that sometimes spending borrowed money is good is probably 99%. Why would you want to give that up?

  85. 85

    @FlipYrWhig: His actions as a President regarding the economy, after the financial crisis and since fit the Chicago School’s philosophy.

  86. 86

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): True, may be I am naive but I think Obama should have been on the other side of the debate not on the side of 0.001%

  87. 87
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: There is in fact such a thing as wasted money, and stopping doing that will never be “austerity.” Otherwise you’re justifying Medicare scooters and subsidies for agribusiness and any number of other dire, stupid, counterproductive things. What about cutting some things but spending more on others? Is that half-austerity?

  88. 88
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): I wish I knew how to fix nym problems, but I have no clue. It’s a shame it strikes people like you and Yutsano when there are a few clowns who could do with a random FYWP-smiting. But there’s little justice in the world, I’ve noticed.

  89. 89
    Anoniminous says:

    @raven:

    Your quote is very encouraging. More of this, please.

  90. 90
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Do people who teach at the nursing school of the University of Pennsylvania internalize the lessons taught at the Wharton School of Business? I really don’t think you want to hang your hat on this.

  91. 91
    Lurking Canadian says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): I used to (and still do, to a certain extent) agree with Krugman’s argument that the White House spin after the stimulus should have been, “This will do a lot of good, but it needed to be bigger”, so they could go back and ask for more, although I question if it would have helped.

    However, I don’t agree that Obama pushed austerity. Everything I heard from him was some variant of, “Well, yes, we have a long term fiscal situation that we need to bring under control, but first we need to put Americans back to work by…”

    He probably *should* have said some variant of “who gives a shit about the deficit right now?”, but you can’t say that in Washington without being relegated to the ranks of the shrill.

  92. 92
    raven says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: And that “We Leave no Man Behind” is a swell slogan but it don’t mean shit. Sometimes we do.

  93. 93
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Betty Cracker: The ‘nym modification thing seems to work. I am recognizable, for better or worse, as my myself and replies don’t disappear. Not a big deal.

  94. 94
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Lurking Canadian: We need to keep in mind that no one actually cares about the deficit–but they do care about “the deficit,” which for some people means the economy and for others means “free goodies for darkies.” But, yeah, in general, I don’t think the stimulus would ever have gotten over the $1T mark, chiefly because “trillion” is a big scary number. And it might have been worthwhile to say “We’re pleased we’ll be able to put people back to work right away, but we know our nation’s work isn’t done, and as long as we’re in charge we’ll keep on incubating ideas that jump-start the economy.” That would at least be forward-looking. I don’t think Republicans or “fiscal conservative” Democrats would ever go for it, though. And that second group has been a thorn in the side for all of us.

  95. 95
    Anya says:

    @askew: We should forget and forgive for the sake of the party. I mean, it’s not like they did anything terrible. Calling black people names and being racist dickheads is okay, as long as you hate Tim Geithner and you really, really hate Obama’s drone policy.

  96. 96
    Anya says:

    @raven: I am so glad POTUS is fighting back. Now, we need the cowerdly Dems to follow his lead. Sen Murphy was great last night on TRMS and Nancy Smash is always great.

  97. 97

    @FlipYrWhig: As I said in an earlier comment, Obama’s actions as a President regarding the economy, after the financial crisis and since then fit the Chicago School’s philosophy. As far as the reason why? I have no idea. In case it was not clear, when I said that may be because of the time he spent at UChicago it was a half joke/ half guess, not something I want to write a paper on.
    @FlipYrWhig: In a recession we want someone to spend money, if its not business, it has to be the government. Economically it does not matter if the government spends money by hiring people to dig ditches and then fill them up. Cuts smart or otherwise can be taken up after the recession ends.

  98. 98
    srv says:

    @Lurking Canadian:
    If Obama had channelled Krugman’s “predictions” and said in Jan. of 2009: “Well, this will help some, but won’t get us out of this disaster and will unncessarily prolong the misery of tens millions of American while helping ensure that the lack of economic progress will be used to bludgeon my party and myself in the 2010 mid-terms and for the rest of my Presidency.”

    Clearly, Krugman lives in a fantasy world.

  99. 99

    @Lurking Canadian:

    However, I don’t agree that Obama pushed austerity. Everything I heard from him was some variant of, “Well, yes, we have a long term fiscal situation that we need to bring under control, but first we need to put Americans back to work by…”

    He did not push austerity but gave those who did a rhetorical cover by saying things like what you have highlighted above. Instead he should have been explaining and pushing Keynesian ideas about deficit spending more robustly.

  100. 100
    Anoniminous says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    In a recession we want someone to spend money, if its not business, it has to be the government. Economically it does not matter if the government spends money by hiring people to dig ditches and then fill them up.

    As Keynes proved 80 some years ago.

    What got the US out of the Great Depression was the massive influx of government spending WW 2 required. That spending was only possible because of WW 2. Previous efforts were too small and then those were curtailed due to idiocy about deficit spending, rising Federal government debt, & all the rest of the horse pucky we hear today.

  101. 101
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @raven:

    True that. OTOH, “Most of the time we really try to leave no man behind,” lacks punch and brevity. I think that the former is much easier to attempt when you’re in a standalone outfit far removed from anyone above an O6.

  102. 102
  103. 103

    @FlipYrWhig:
    Go back and listen to his deficit speech. Obama has never been in favor of austerity. His solution to the deficit was ‘stop the wars, fix the health care cost spiral, and raise taxes on the rich.’ He spoke eloquently – and has on other occasions – about the need to increase spending in all manner of infrastructure, both physical and in things like research and education. To say he supports austerity because he hasn’t been able to do it is blaming the victim. The GOP has gone absolutely, utterly bugfuck insane and he’s had to fight a war just to keep the government running!

    How can anyone look at the man who passed the biggest increase in the safety net in generations and say he supports austerity?

  104. 104

    @Frankensteinbeck: I agree with everything you say but with one caveat, Obama shouldn’t have given the austerity mongers a rhetorical cover and wasted two years pursuing the so called grand bargain with “bugfuck insane” GOP as you put it. That was precious time lost.

  105. 105
    Suffern ACE says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: My fault there is that after initial ideas on stimulus – small items like cash for clunkers or cash for calkers and shovel ready projects, the administration seemed to run out of ideas quickly. Then 2010 came and the big items, like high speed rail or connecting rural areas to high speed internet, just dried up. I can’t blame him for that. In many of the midwest states that flipped to the republicans, stopping those programs were front and center. Voters in Wisconsin rejected a train through their state, and its not like one can be imposed easily against a state.

  106. 106
  107. 107
    SatanicPanic says:

    I for one have no desire to argue over Geithner. Certainly not going to defend him. Let’s talk about something else.

  108. 108
    Anoniminous says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    How can anyone look at the man who passed the biggest increase in the safety net in generations and say he supports austerity?

    a-HA! A question in my field!

    Short Answer: people don’t make decisions based on Reality. They make decisions based from what they think is Reality and, all too often, what and how they think is wrong.

    (Edited to eliminate snark.)

  109. 109
    J R in WV says:

    Great that Obama got up in their face quickly.

    When you have a rule, that means you follow the rule. Simple as that.

    Too simple for the con men that now make up the Republican party, who would destroy important segments of the American way just to make a few appearances on Meet the Press. We all know who the real traitors are, and they are mostly Republicans.

  110. 110

    @Suffern ACE: This self inflicted economic pain is stupid and so unnecessary.

  111. 111
    Cckids says:

    @aimai: @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    This. I don’t remember where I read it this week, but someone from the Pentagon put it;”If you’re serving on Navy ship & you end up in the sea, it doesn’t matter if you jumped, fell or were pushed. We will turn the ship around and pick you up,”

  112. 112
    Chyron HR says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    His solution to the deficit was ‘stop the wars’

    Austerity! Chicago School! All government spending is good spending!

  113. 113
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Geithner has no understanding of this business, but he was hired anyway to run it, or at least appear like he runs it. Why?

    beyond as a reward for the stuff he did while in public office?

  114. 114
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @raven: That would be tomorrow, as today is the fifth of June.

    My local fishwrap called it the “turning point” of WWII, which is total horsehockey. Midway, El Alamein, Stalingrad…those were legit turning points. The tide had already turned by the time DDay came around, although DDay was indeed a pretty huge honkin wave, and if things had not gone so relatively well, DDay might well have been a turning point…in the wrong direction. Or from Pat Buchanan’s standpoint, the right direction.

  115. 115
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Anoniminous: Exactly. With a war on, an existential threat for everyone, to include the parasite overclass, all concerns about deficits are forgotten. We need those guns. Go nuts. The Nazis are coming.

  116. 116
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: By equating all cuts to austerity.

    @schrodinger’s cat: Sure, in terms of stimulating the economy, you might as well just give everyone a billion dollars, and then the economy would be pretty damn stimulated. Why do you suppose we don’t do that?

    Austerity per se relates to cutting spending because “we can’t afford it,” and suggests that bringing government budgets into balance will lead to economic recovery. I really don’t think Obama has ever said anything to indicate that he believes in that approach. I think it’s fair to question whether he’s been too quick to agree to cut useful things, or too friendly to the financial sector, or too neoliberal, or plenty of stuff along those lines. But “austerity” is a pet peeve of mine. He doesn’t talk that way and doesn’t act that way.

  117. 117
  118. 118
    Roger Moore says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Do people who teach at the nursing school of the University of Pennsylvania internalize the lessons taught at the Wharton School of Business?

    I think it depends a lot on whether they socialize with each other. The worry with Obama, justified or not, is that he’s been hanging around with the Chicago economics guys and has internalized a lot of their economic views.

  119. 119
    gene108 says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I take a more charitable view on that: After 2010, the granny-starvers really did have a lot of momentum, and Obama gave a nod to austerity measures as a tactic to gain stimulus support. I don’t think his heart was in it.

    That is sort of how I recall it.

    A bunch of benefits from the stimulus – UI extension, SS tax cut, etc. – was originally only approved for two years and would have lapsed, if Obama had not compromised with the granny starvers,

  120. 120
    Roger Moore says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Economically it does not matter if the government spends money by hiring people to dig ditches and then fill them up.

    Yes, it does. Even when there’s a desperate need to spend money, there are better and worse ways of spending it. Extending unemployment benefits does more for the economy than giving tax cuts to 0.01%ers, and building infrastructure does more than spending on defense. If there are political constraints on the size of the deficit, it makes sense to cut spending that’s less effective in boosting the economy so you can spend more on things that are more effective.

  121. 121
    liberal says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Good luck coming up with an explanation for the national economy that doesn’t rely on the analogy to a household, which is how virtually everyone experiences the economy.

    That’s an indirect way of saying what you wanted to say, which is “I will brook no criticism of Obama, even when it’s clearly merited.”

  122. 122
    Roger Moore says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    I for one have no desire to argue over Geithner. Certainly not going to defend him. Let’s talk about something else.

    Unfortunately, the people who most like to change the topic around here seem to spend an inordinate amount of time talking about pie.

  123. 123
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Roger Moore: But Rubin and Summers, the usual culprits, aren’t Chicago anything. The links to U Chicago IMHO are Austan Goolsbee and Cass Sunstein, neither of whom are austerity advocates. At any rate, Harvard != Chicago != austerity != neoliberal. They’re not all interchangeable terms.

  124. 124
    liberal says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I think that’s a hollow complaint, frankly. I would much rather see liberals and progressives _claim_ the household analogy and use it effectively–for instance, everyday people rely on borrowed money all the damn time, and don’t consider themselves to be recklessly in debt when they buy a house or a car or get money from a bank to expand their businesses, as long as they make the payments.

    LOL. Yeah, that will totally get people to understand why government deficit spending in a liquidity trap is a very good thing.

  125. 125
    liberal says:

    @Roger Moore:
    True, but it’s also true that if the choice is paying a bunch of people to dig holes and then fill them, or not, the former is a much better choice in a liquidity trap.

  126. 126
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @liberal: no, you’re right, we should all just agree that it should be hard and confusing to talk about economics and budgets, because incomprehension is the key to persuasion.

  127. 127
    liberal says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Sure, in terms of stimulating the economy, you might as well just give everyone a billion dollars, and then the economy would be pretty damn stimulated.

    Straw man noted, given that no one ever suggested giving everyone a billion dollars.

    Are you going to go on record and say it would have been a terrible idea to have given everyone, say, something on the order of magnitude of a few thousand dollars?

  128. 128
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @liberal: and the number of people who know what a “liquidity trap” is? Already, from the first sentence, no one knows what the hell you’re talking about, and they’re going to believe the person who says, “Just like in your household…” and uses it to justify awful policy. But, no, your way is definitely better.

  129. 129
    liberal says:

    @FlipYrWhig:
    I didn’t offer an effective way of relaying the correct concepts. All I’m saying is that yours is wrong—as is a lot of what you write, such as “intervening in Libya was a good idea.”

  130. 130
    liberal says:

    @FlipYrWhig:
    Reading comprehension fail. I didn’t offer a good way to talk about it. I’m claiming that your way is a bad way, worse than doing nothing.

  131. 131
    askew says:

    @Anya:

    @askew: We should forget and forgive for the sake of the party. I mean, it’s not like they did anything terrible. Calling black people names and being racist dickheads is okay, as long as you hate Tim Geithner and you really, really hate Obama’s drone policy.

    Yep, that’s it in a nutshell.

  132. 132
    Chyron HR says:

    @liberal:

    Straw man noted

    No, no, he was just responding to “what you wanted to say”.

  133. 133
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @liberal: I’m not talking about what the best policy would be, I’m talking about the sloppy use of the word “austerity” to categorize any and all cuts to spending. But you do realize that if you characterize all cuts as “austerity” you make it impossible to criticize blatant waste and bullshit, like abstinence education. And no one has ever said, “We can’t cut that, because that would be Austerity!”

  134. 134
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @liberal: ah, I see, the problem is that you’re a trolling dumbfuck who wants to re fight old fights. Goodbye now.

  135. 135
    liberal says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    The fact is that the war in Europe was won almost entirely by the Soviets; they inflicted roughly 5/6 of all German casualties.

    Both for the better and the worse.

  136. 136
    Betty Cracker says:

    @askew: Who is saying anything of the sort?

  137. 137
    Alex S. says:

    I read it this morning. An excellent article.

  138. 138

    @FlipYrWhig: From comment 60
    You do not have to go to UChicago to be under the sway of the economists at U of Chicago. Their views are what passes for conventional wisdom in economics right now.

  139. 139
    Anya says:

    @Betty Cracker: Action speaks louder than words. As long as we’re looking the other way when people on “our side” say or do racist shit or ally themselves with racist dirtbags then we don’t need to say it. We’re doing it. When we rail against Newt Gingrich for using a coded racist language but we don’t challenge our side for the same thing, that’s what we do. We largely ignore their discource because they agree with us on one thing or another.

  140. 140
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Anya: I agree in principle, but I haven’t seen prominent lefty bloggers (including Merritt and Stoller) posting racist shit with no push-back. Since I don’t regularly read either one of them, maybe I’ve just missed it? But it would seem out of character for either one of them, honestly, and I say that as someone who is far from their biggest fan.

  141. 141
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I think what you mean is “neoliberalism,” then, or “free trade,” but that doesn’t particularly relate to “austerity,” which is where I came in.

  142. 142
    Gene108 says:

    @srv:

    The problem with the “sale” of the stimulus from team Obama was his economic team grossly underestimated the severity of the recession.

    They did not realize how sharply businesses would slash payrolls and how this plus foreclosed homes would kill budgets for state and local governments.

    If Obama’s economic team had gotten it right Pelosi’s House could have focused on the economy more and less on cap-and-trade for carbon emissions, which was too much of a change for businesses to absorb as the economy was cratering and would not have created the hostility (and money) Dems faced from the business community in 2010.

  143. 143
    Anya says:

    @Betty Cracker: On Stoller’s case it’s not a clear cut racism but irrational hatred. One can speculate the source of that instense hatred and I tend to think Obama’s skin color might have something to do with it. He doesn’t hate Hillary Clinton or Bill Clinton with the same intensity he hates Obama. He’s even more generious with Bush because Obama is worse on income equality, at least according to Stoller. So… I can’t say his dislike has to do with policy disagreement. This is what he said when President Obama came in favor of marriage equality:

    It’s important to be honest about why this good thing happened. A very bad man was forced to do a good thing.

  144. 144
    Roger Moore says:

    @Gene108:

    The problem with the “sale” of the stimulus from team Obama was his economic team grossly underestimated the severity of the recession.

    Largely because they were getting bad information. IIRC, they estimated economic growth in 2008q4 as something like -3%, when the revised numbers turned out to be something like -9%. That’s a huge difference, and it would be hard for anyone facing numbers that inaccurate to get their policy right. Even worse, the Obama administration had made predictions about the effects of the stimulus based on those wrong numbers that showed the expected depth of the recession without stimulus to be less devastating that they actually were with the stimulus. Austerians were able to use those predictions as very effective propaganda that the stimulus had been either useless or harmful, which killed any kind of political will to pass another round.

  145. 145
    askew says:

    @Anya:

    @Betty Cracker: On Stoller’s case it’s not a clear cut racism but irrational hatred. One can speculate the source of that instense hatred and I tend to think Obama’s skin color might have something to do with it. He doesn’t hate Hillary Clinton or Bill Clinton with the same intensity he hates Obama. He’s even more generious with Bush because Obama is worse on income equality, at least according to Stoller. So… I can’t say his dislike has to do with policy disagreement. This is what he said when President Obama came in favor of marriage equality: “It’s important to be honest about why this good thing happened. A very bad man was forced to do a good thing.”

    And this is where Stoller gets a pass that he wouldn’t get if he was on the right. And I am not going to wade through the cesspool of TalkLeft but there was a lot of racism there just like there was at OpenLeft and MyDD. Lots of white Dems showed their true colors when Obama beat Hillary and Edwards.

  146. 146
    askew says:

    On a random note, I happened across this old blog post on Merritt losing her mind in 2008 from John Cole. Good times.

    I had forgotten that she was one of the people who was pushing the Whitey Tape until after Hillary conceded. But, don’t call her a racist.

  147. 147
    lol says:

    @Roger Moore:

    It also gets forgotten that the administration was pushing for a much larger stimulus ($1.5 trillion I think?) but it got whittled down and down as they fought to get each Senator on board.

  148. 148
    mainmata says:

    @Roger Moore: and of c ourse Scully moved from Pepsi to Apple in the 2980s and. nearly detroyed the company.

  149. 149
    Betty Cracker says:

    @askew: If Merritt pushed the Whitey Tape meme (not clear from the link you provided to Cole’s post, but she was a PUMA, so maybe she did), yeah, she deserves the contempt anyone who pushed that bullshit racist meme has coming. There was a shit-ton of racism in the PUMA dumbness of 2008.

    But I disagree that Stoller is getting a pass a Republican wouldn’t get, at least from me. Stoller is a firebagger jackass with an irrational antipathy towards Obama. A lot of Republicans are assholes with an irrational antipathy towards Obama too, but it takes more than being an irrational ass to make their opposition implicitly or explicitly racist, e.g., birtherism, use of dog whistles, etc.

    YMMV, but I think it’s important not to slap the label on unless it’s clearly earned. It’s a serious accusation. Racism should absolutely be called out when it rears its ugly head, but overuse can dilute its potency.

  150. 150
    glasnost says:

    Observing that someone dislikes a black person more than you think they should dislike that person, or more than you think they dislike other nonblack people who you think are comparable, is not an adequate basis for accusations of racism. Weak cases alienate you from people not inclined to accept an evidentiary standard on this topic that they generally would be suspicious of with any other topic. This is no more of an appropriate point of view than to accuse your friend of being a misogynist because he dislikes his mother-in-law.

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