Items of Interest:
Populist Rage Gage
Do populist outbursts like the one sparked by the AIG bonuses represent a threat to capitalism—or an opportunity? Our essayists on populism and its discontents.
Michael Kazin / Newsweek:
The Outrage Factor -- Don't Let the 'Big Men' Win
Dorothea Lange traveled around rural America during the late 1930s, creating indelible images of the Great Depression. One day, she stopped outside a gas station and snapped a picture of a large sign. It read: THIS IS YOUR COUNTRY. DON'T LET THE BIG MEN TAKE IT AWAY FROM YOU. Seventy years later, citizens irate at the huge bonuses AIG paid out to top executives know just how that feels...
- Joel Kotkin:
Anger Could Make Us Stronger
- Robert J. Samuelson:
Rage Could End Up Hurting Us -- The story of American capitalism is, among other things, a love-hate relationship. We go through cycles of congratulation, revulsion and revision...
- Robert H. Frank:
Why Big Paydays Aren't All Bad -- If you're not angry at AIG right now, you probably lack the capacity for moral outrage. But anger at AIG is also spilling onto a broader range of targets. And unless we're careful, we'll shoot ourselves in the foot...
- Rick Perlstein:
Our American Common Sense -- Our pundits worry that a populist rage is loose in the land—pitchforks everywhere! My first reaction upon hearing that was to dismiss the word "populist" as a distraction, an epithet meant to recall episodes in which mass rage made sound policy deliberation impossible...
- Fareed Zakaria:
The Trouble With Subsidies -- I'm certainly not going to defend those AIG bonuses. But the trouble with populist outrage is that it bubbles over, sweeping from one justifiable issue across to many others...
- Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff:
Don't Buy the Chirpy Forecasts -- The history of banking crises indicates this one may be far from over...
Who's to Blame: Washington or Wall Street?
Economic Potholes of the Past and Present
discussion:Jeremy Gantz / The Raw Story: Donating for dollars? Many bailed-out banks still contributing to campaign fundsJoe Gandelman / The Moderate Voice: Your TARP Dollars At Work? …Greenboy / Needlenose: Bad bailout legislation - the real outragePam Spaulding / Pam's House Blend: How low can they go? Bailed out banks using $$ to contribute to pols
Tim Geithner / Wall Street Journal:
My Plan For Bad Bank Assets -- Today, we are announcing another critical piece of our plan to increase the flow of credit and expand liquidity. Our new Public-Private Investment Program will set up funds to provide a market for the legacy loans and securities that currently burden the financial system.
The Public-Private Investment Program will purchase real-estate related loans from banks and securities from the broader markets. Banks will have the ability to sell pools of loans to dedicated funds, and investors will compete to have the ability to participate in those funds and take advantage of the financing provided by the government.
The funds established under this program will have three essential design features. First, they will use government resources in the form of capital from the Treasury, and financing from the FDIC and Federal Reserve, to mobilize capital from private investors. Second, the Public-Private Investment Program will ensure that private-sector participants share the risks alongside the taxpayer, and that the taxpayer shares in the profits from these investments. These funds will be open to investors of all types, such as pension funds, so that a broad range of Americans can participate...
- Geithner Plan Is One of Policy Despair - Paul Krugman, New York Times
- The Tim Geithner Disaster - John Judis, The New Republic
- The New New Plan from Treasury—Same As the Old Plan - MarketBeat
- Finally, Someone Defends Geithner's Banking Plan - Clusterstock
Frank James / The Swamp: Geithner's financial-rescue plan, take twoJeremy P. Jacobs / The Hill's Blog Briefing Room: Geithner lays out toxic asset planCaitlin Taylor / The Note: The Note, 3/23/09: Crisis of Confidence …Atrios / Eschaton: Risk — One thing which stood out from Timmeh's WSJ op-ed...Simon Johnson / The Baseline Scenario: Breaking The Bank — My problem with Monday's expected announcement …Ben Pershing / Washington Post: A New Week, A New Economic Plan to SellThe Heretik / theheretik.us: Toxic Update — Geithner on those troubled toxic assets …Real Time Economics: Treasury Releases Details on Program to Buy Troubled AssetsCaitlin Taylor / Political Punch: Will the Public Want to Partner with Wall Street?Taegan Goddard's Political Wire - bk: Geithner's Plan, Take Two — In advance of his second attempt …Democracy in America: Geithner's big day — FOREIGN stocks are up as the markets anticipate …Betsy Newmark / Betsy's Page: Obama and the AIG bonusesBarry Ritholtz / The Big Picture: US Futures Higher: Dow 212+James Joyner / Outside The Beltway: Geithner Plan: TARP 2.0?William Richards / Dealbreaker: Opening Bell: 03.23.09 — Geithner Looks To Announce New Plan Today (Bloomberg)Lambert / Corrente: What you mean, “we,” Timmy?Charles Lemos / MyDD: D-Day for Geithner — It's showtime for Secretary Geithner.Doug Stanglin / On Deadline: Geithner set to unveil bank bailout planDownWithTyranny!: Is This Really How Geithner Plans To Keep Us From Falling …Brad DeLong / Grasping Reality with Both Hands: The World Is Divided into Four Groups of PeopleGaius / Blue Crab Boulevard: The Plan. Such As It Is. — Timothy Geithner has a plan:
The David Copperfield School of Economic Recovery, Pt. II --Today, hapless, truth-challenged tax cheat Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner officially unveils another $1 trillion magic trick. Instead of letting failed banks fail, we’ll have another desperately massive and massively desperate attempt to prop them up through a “public private partnership investment program.” ...
discussion:Buck Naked Politics: Can Somebody Please Take the Damn Economy Away from Geithner?Dan / Riehl World View: What's In The Bag? Shampoo!Michael Shedlock / Mish's Global Economic …: Geithner's Plan, a Gigantic Confidence GameJim Lindgren / The Volokh Conspiracy: Public-Private Partnerships in Which Making Bad Deals Are Part of the Plan.
U.S. Treasury Announces $1 Trillion Toxic-Debt Plan
New York Times:
discussion:Deborah Solomon / Wall Street Journal: Geithner Banks on Private CashKevin G. Hall / McClatchy Washington Bureau: Toxic Assets Plan, Take 2: Will Geithner get it right this time?William Teach / Stop The ACLU: Obamateur To Private Investors: Hey, How About Buying These Stinky Sneakers?Art Levine / The Huffington Post: Could Anger at AIG and Geithner's New Bank Plan Help Unions?Darren Lenard Hutchinson / DISSENTING JUSTICE: Surprise, Surprise: Potential Participants in Toxic Assets Plan …Leo Kolivakis / naked capitalism: Guest Post: Why Does Failure Merit Reward?Robert Stein / Connecting.the.Dots: Banks Are Lending—to Their OwnDan / Riehl World View: Obama's Latest Move Makes No Sense
Toxic Asset Plan Foresees Big Subsidies for Investors -- The plan to be announced next week involves three separate approaches. In one, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation will set up special-purpose investment partnerships and lend about 85 percent of the money that those partnerships will need to buy up troubled assets that banks want to sell.
In the second, the Treasury will hire four or five investment management firms, matching the private money that each of the firms puts up on a dollar-for-dollar basis with government money.
In the third piece, the Treasury plans to expand lending through the Term Asset-Backed Secure Lending Facility, a joint venture with the Federal Reserve...
Has a ‘Katrina Moment’ Arrived? -- A CHARMING visit with Jay Leno won’t fix it. A 90 percent tax on bankers’ bonuses won’t fix it. Firing Timothy Geithner won’t fix it. Unless and until Barack Obama addresses the full depth of Americans’ anger with his full arsenal of policy smarts and political gifts, his presidency and, worse, our economy will be paralyzed. It would be foolish to dismiss as hyperbole the stark warning delivered by Paulette Altmaier of Cupertino, Calif., in a letter to the editor published by The Times last week: “President Obama may not realize it yet, but his Katrina moment has arrived.” ...
A Lynch Mob! -- “Let’s go hang ‘em.”
American history is replete with examples of lynch mobs taking control of a situation and inflicting injustice. In the end most lynch mobs have dealt harmful blows to society. Congressional action to punish AIG employees over the bonus issue is already seeding that outcome...
How AIG Became Too Big to Fail -- Then Geithner's staff made the discovery that would infuriate nearly everyone in Washington. On March 10, the Secretary learned, 10 days after his staff first got wind of it, that AIG had paid out $165 million in retention bonuses to executives at the unit that compelled the U.S. to bail out the company in the first place. It took Geithner until 7:40 the next night to place what must have been a tense phone call to AIG's newish CEO, Ed Liddy. The bonuses were not tenable; they had to be canceled, he demanded. Liddy, a dollar-a-year man who took over the company after the bonuses had been promised, replied that AIG's lawyers had decided that the contracts could not be broken without even bigger costs to taxpayers. Geithner sent Treasury's lawyers searching for a way out, but they couldn't find one...
Protesters visit AIG officials' lavish Conn. homes -- A busload of activists representing working- and middle-class families paid visits Saturday to the lavish homes of American International Group executives to protest the tens of millions of dollars in bonuses awarded by the struggling insurance company after it received a massive federal bailout...
Obama On Public's Anger At Wall Street -- Also Tells 60 Minutes He Wouldn't Accept Tim Geithner's Resignation Even If Offered
In his longest interview since taking office, President Barack Obama tells 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft that New York's Wall Street executives need to get out of town to appreciate the public's anger towards them and that embattled Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's job is safe.
The president even joked that were Geithner to tender his resignation, he would say, "Sorry, Buddy, you've still got the job." ...
discussion:Hugh Hewitt / Townhall.com: The Punch Drunk PresidentStephen Green / Pajamas Media: Will the Real Obama Please Shut Up?Gaius / Blue Crab Boulevard: Clueless
discussion:Philip Elliott / Associated Press: GOP predicts doomsday if Obama budget passedJohn O'Callaghan / Reuters: Obama says risks still haunt U.S. financial system
discussion:Eric / Viking Pundit: Quote of the day: we're broke — It's Senator Judd Gregg …But As For Me: Barack Obama's Bankrupt States of AmericaGaius / Blue Crab Boulevard: Welcome To Post-Prosperity AmericaFausta / Fausta's Blog: Gregg: ‘This country will go bankrupt’Taylor Marsh: Forget Vietnam, Think Katrina?Steve Benen / Washington Monthly: GREGG.... Have I mentioned lately how fortunate we are that this guy isn't in the cabinet?Gateway Pundit: Again... Sen. Gregg Warns That Obama Will Bankrupt the CountryDon Surber: Hope. Change. BankruptcyMichael A. Fletcher / Washington Post: Obama Backs Geithner Despite Vast Criticisms
Sen. Gregg says Obama budget will bankrupt US
discussion:Flap / FullosseousFlap's Dental Blog: Shocker: Obama Will BANKRUPT USA - Senator GreggTom McClusky / The Cloakroom: It Must Be Spring, Cause This Obudget is BurstingDownWithTyranny!: Corporate America And The Politicians They Own Get Ready For The …
discussion:Marc Ambinder / The Atlantic Politics Channel: Geithner As Obama's RumsfeldGaius / Blue Crab Boulevard: Turning — Has the Obama administration already passed its expiration date?Ron Beasley / Newshoggers.com: Friendly Fire? — The Poitico headline Reads: — Friendly Fire: NYT hits ObamaThe Lonely Conservative: Aw! New York Times Editorial Page Disappointed by Their Messiah
Orlando 'Tea Party' rally draws more than 4,000 -- Singer Lloyd Marcus told the crowd assembled in Lake Eola Park on Saturday that he was going to give them his take on the first days of the Obama administration.
Then he shrieked.
That pretty much summed up the mood in the park Saturday afternoon, when more than 4,000 people attended the Orlando Tea Party, a conservative rally aimed at expressing discontent with Washington...
discussion:Don Surber: AFP: “Thousands march against mafia in Naples.”Blue Texan / Firedoglake: Conservative Bloggers Furious at Media for “Absence” of “Tea Parties” Press Coverage
Glen Reynolds / Pajama Media:
A.I.G. PROTESTS VS. ANTI-STIMULUS PROTESTS -- Who’s got the real energy? “I’m sure the MSM won’t report this, but the far bigger demonstration was of fiscal conservatives , not anti-business radicals. . . . Now, let me remind you. This is suburban CT on a not so warm day we are talking about. We don’t do protests and ginning up a crowd of any size is tough. But they showed in Ridgefield today. And I can’t remember ever hearing about Dodd being protested before. . . . We have 300 folks outraged at Dodd. They got 40 upset at AIG executives. I like our odds” ...
The Real AIG Scandal, Continued! -- The transfer of $12.9 billion from AIG to Goldman looks fishier and fishier.
The AIG scandal is getting ever-more disturbing. Goldman Sachs' public conference call explaining its trading relationship and exposure with AIG established, once again, that Goldman knows how to protect itself. According to Goldman, even if AIG had failed, Goldman's losses would have been minimal...
Is Dry Wall the Next Chinese Import Scandal? -- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is also investigating the complaints. If the drywall proves to be the culprit, plaintiff attorneys say tens of thousands of potentially affected homes could see a further drop in house prices already hammered by the credit crisis...
- American Capitalism Is Besieged - Robert Samuelson, Washington Post
- And This Wasn't a Failure of Capitalism - Louis Woodhill, RealClearMarkets
- Inside Barack Obama's Economic Brain Trust - John Heilemann, New York
- Stewart and Cramer Both Are Wrong About Shorts - John Berlau, Reason
- The House Bonus Bill Is Ill-Considered - James Surowiecki, The New Yorker
- AIG, and Mob Rule In Washington - Editorial, Investor's Business Daily
- Graduating MBAs Heed Capitol's Siren Song - Bill Frezza, RealClearMarkets
- The Looming G20 Is a Make or Break Event - George Soros, Financial Times
- Why Tax Deductions Compromise The Tax Debate - John Tamny, Forbes
- Bernanke's Deflation Fix May Crush Traders - Caroline Baum, Bloomberg
- Wall St. Insiders Are Using Bailout To Stage a Revoluion - Rolling Stone
- Does Washington Even Want Recovery? - Rich Karlgaard, Digital Rules
- 7 Surprises Buried Beneath the AIG Bonuses - Rick Newman, Flow Chart
- Fed's Policy Shift Shakes the Dollar, But Shouldn't Crush It - Money & Co.
- It's Not the Time to Give Up On Markets - Gary Becker, Wall Street Journal
- Morals Are What Markets Don't Make - Jonathan Sacks, Times of London
- A Hidden Agenda Behind the 90% Tax? - Larry Kudlow, RealClearMarkets
- Large State Hypocrisy Creates Tax Havens - John Kay, Financial Times
- The New Capitals of Capital - Ian Bremmer, Forbes
- Growing Worries About the Americans - Diane Francis, National Post
- AIG Hysteria Points To a Wasted Week - Chadwick Matlin, The Big Money
- The Problem With Flogging AIG - Joe Nocera, New York Times
- Checking Home Values Is No Longer Fun - Meghan Daum, Los Angeles Times
- Young and Old Face Off For Jobs - Steven Greenhouse, New York Times
- Cope With "No", and You're Closer to "Yes" - Ted Knutson, Washington Post
- To Free Up Credit, We Must Stabilize the Dollar - John Tamny, Forbes
- Greenspan: Banks Need $750B in New Capital To Recover - Bloomberg
- Many in Government Knew Weeks Ago About A.I.G. Bonuses - NY Times
- Inside AIG-FP, Feeling the Public's Wrath - Washington Post
- In New Dilemma, Banks Cite Two Paths to Disaster - Washington Post