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Geithner and the White House’s Panglossian Never-Never Land

2010 July 16
by Ian Welsh

Amazing:

Geithner endeared himself to Obama and senior White House advisers by advocating a response to the financial crisis that later proved correct.

Seriously, the White House lives in some alternate dimension, some reality known only to the initiates of their esoteric cult, a world where the banks aren’t still lending less, aren’t hurting the recovery by gouging customers, where small banks aren’t still going belly up at a frantic rate, where foreclosures aren’t hitting new highs and where unemployment isn’t still through the roof.

Must be nice to live in the White House’s Panglossian alternate dimension.

18 Responses
  1. anon2525 permalink
    July 16, 2010

    Geithner endeared himself to Obama and senior White House advisers by advocating a response to the financial crisis that later proved correct.

    So, um, where’s the “journalistic balance,” the “on the other hand” or “critics say,” etc.? Notice how the “…later proved correct” is presented as fact. Shouldn’t the reporter be “searching for the truth?” The only times that reporters present “on the one hand…on the other hand” is when they/their editors/publishers want to counter the truth. When they are presenting a lie or myth, they feel no compunction about leaving the “on the other hand” truth out. (wapo is one of the worst of the corporate media outlets at this. even the nytimes printed a mealy-mouthed admission that they had been wrong about the invasion of iraq. not wapo.)

    …the White House lives in some alternate dimension…

    Not just “the white house” — most of the corporate media outlets will accept this description as reality. This is how they portray their viewpoint until unavoidable failure, at which point it is time to pull out the “who could have known?”, “everyone thought”, “no one could have imagined!” excuses. And they’ll get away with it and won’t have to make their thinking conform to reality because no one is held accountable.

    Why do intelligent, informed people who don’t benefit from the corporations still read the corporate media outlets?

  2. July 16, 2010

    geithner is a proxy for wall street … he’s made career in “public” service representing wall street’s interests … and just like the despicable greenspan, robber rubin and summers were put on a pedestal by the corporate media as the unquestioned Committee to Save the World, so must geithner now be raised in stature to the masses; therefore we get this pr campaign.

    This is how pro-wall street geithner is: the republicans didn’t even try to draw easy blood from the obama administration even though he was nominated as a secretary of treasury, in charge of the irs, when the mf’er didn’t even pay his proper share of taxes. But the republicans, undoubtedly following their wall street lords’ commands, fell silent on the issue and helped shuttle him through to serve the girlyboyz of wall street, who go running to their government to make them whole when their “free” market doesn’t treat them right.

    But, of course, anything that geithner does is not an indictment of the congenitally well-intentioned pope of hope. He merely chose him to be his secretary of treasury and continually defers to damn near anything that geithner/wall street wants.

    A couple of sidenotes:

    As to one item of bullshit in this article, the stress test, as most of you know, was designed to pass the banks and deceive the ignorant masses. It has little or no connection to the actual health of the banks or the banking system.

    And boy, hasn’t rahm been putting in some long hours getting the politico to bash on progressives for the disloyalty, getting the increasingly pathetic ny times to run a pro-obama article about how he has been too progressive for the public’s taste, and now he has the deplorable washington post pushing poo about the wisdom of wall street kiss ass timmy geithner.

    Z

  3. Tom Hickey permalink
    July 16, 2010

    The people at the top genuinely think that the recession is over, and that unemployment is a lagging indicator that will soon catch up with economic reality. Man, have they got a surprise coming.

  4. July 16, 2010

    Tom,

    I don’t think that they necessarily think that unemployment will turn … they just don’t care, which is hardly shocking. IMO, some of this austerity talk has come about becoz the elites have regained their wealth and now they are concerned that if we keep spending money like we did on them, via the wall street bailouts, to help the people, then the dollar will go down therefore decreasing their wealth globally since the vast majority of these folks’ wealth is in dollar denominated assets. At least that is part of it … IMO.

    Z

  5. July 16, 2010

    Yes, we’ve got permanently higher unemployment with an emerging underclass that will never work again. That’s a policy outcome that both legacy parties support. And the banksters have been handed a few gazillion bucks with the blessing of the “government.”

    So how is that not a policy that’s “proven correct”? I’d call it Mission Accomplished. At least if you live in a kleptocracy.

  6. Ian Welsh permalink*
    July 16, 2010

    Tom,

    what I’m hearing from my contacts in the overclass is actually that they don’t think employment will really recover, they think there’ll be permanent higher unemployment, but since corporate profits and wealth have recovered, they don’t care. In fact, from their point of view it’s a good thing. A large reserve army of the unemployed puts pressure on wages, after all.

  7. Bernard permalink
    July 16, 2010

    yep, welcome the to Banana Republic of America, giving Guatemala, Honduras and all of Central America a run for 3rd world status.

    At least, in the 3rd world they know what we don’t. a rude awakening is upon us, courtesy of the Republican party planning. So perfectly executed and PR’d by some winners: St. Ronnie, using “Lee Atwater’s” Southern Strategy.

    only took 40 years to break the back of that “BAD ole Government.”

  8. anon2525 permalink
    July 16, 2010

    This is how they portray their viewpoint until unavoidable failure, at which point it is time to pull out the “who could have known?”, “everyone thought”, “no one could have imagined!” excuses. And they’ll get away with it and won’t have to make their thinking conform to reality because no one is held accountable.

    P.S., http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/16/the-iraq-austerity-connection/

  9. anon2525 permalink
    July 16, 2010

    what I’m hearing from my contacts in the overclass is actually that they don’t think employment will really recover, they think there’ll be permanent higher unemployment

    I just read this: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/16/frogs-boiling-water-and-central-banks/

    Like others, I’ve been warning that policy makers in the United States are defining normalcy down — accepting high unemployment and below-target inflation as just the way things are.

    Krugman then goes on to point out that the Bank of Japan has been accepting 15 years of deflation.

    Just a reminder about attributes that Japan has that the U.S. does not:
    – universal health care
    – a large export surplus
    – a much more equitable distribution of income and wealth
    – a culture of greater responsibility by corporations

    Unlike in the 1930s, the U.S. has not yet seen:
    – food riots
    – a Bonus Army taking up occupancy in the capital
    – large, visible Hoovervilles (bushvilles/obamavilles)
    – the disappearance of unemployment insurance for long-term unemployed
    – some definitive reckoning by the states with their budgets
    – the collapse of exports (and rise of imports?) that would result if the EMU follows through on their proposed draconian exports

    As callous and clueless as bush was/is, even he had to respond when the country screamed at him after Katrina. And 2005 was not an election year.

    And CO2 is still a greenhouse gas this week.

  10. anonymous permalink
    July 16, 2010

    “courtesy of the Republican party planning. So perfectly executed and PR’d by some winners: St. Ronnie, using “Lee Atwater’s” Southern Strategy.”

    I don’t know that the Southern Strategy was the most critical component, but co-opting/taking over the Democratic party with ne0-libs seems even more important, IMO. The move of white middle class males to the R party was almost inevitable given the move out of blue collar mfg jobs and into white collar jobs. Of course the R’s also gave that movement a little shove by creating incentives to push blue collar men into self-employed contract labor vs traditional employment, and then radicalized them against government, since making them responsible for their own contributions to SocSec/Medicare was bound to turn them into antitax cheaters (they don’t care about SocSec, cuz they have paid squat into it and wouldn’t have got much out anyway).

    The Democrats’ enemy is within. I wish they could whip up some hatred and scare those bastards out. 3rd parties under our system are just a nonstarter, so any reform will have to come from one of the two corporatist parties. Might as well start withthe one we have a toe hold in.

  11. Bernard permalink
    July 16, 2010

    Democrats do the soft sell. Republicans do the hard sell. still a scam. still one party control, whatever “choice” may appear before your eyes.

    Various “artists” sold the scam on America. read the Contract on America and see one simple tool out there showing the plans out to show “Government is the Problem.” divert attention. steal rob pillage etc.

    the same old scam using updated methods. fancy dancing while they steal us blind or die first.

  12. July 17, 2010

    Ian, the Obama admin delusions are deeper than this, even. Apparently they put pressure on David Obey to cut food stamps rather than Arne Duncan’s slush fund to push states into charter schools, because people on food stamps have it too good.

    Seriously.

    http://washingtonindependent.com/91851/obey-white-house-suggested-cutting-food-stamps-to-pay-for-edujobs-funding

  13. July 17, 2010

    Tom,

    That “surprise” you speak of…, it could be coming next week with the release of the Census Bureau’s report on Housing Starts for June. After trending up for a year or so…, a very slow trend…, but a least it was headed in the right direction…, it took a 17% percent dive in single family starts in May. Admittedly…, the number was up 30% year-over-year…, but that was compared to the lowest historic figure EVER. A look at the chart at this link paints a grim picture.

    http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2010/06/housing-starts-plummet-in-may.html

    I consider Housing Starts THEE leading economic idicator. They correspond directly to jobs. We could be in for shocker next week.

  14. July 17, 2010

    The speed of our national downfall is breathtaking. Simply incredible. From the Consitution of our founding fathers to the Supreme Court giving human rights to corporations (and taking them away from us).

    There isn’t the slightest glimmer of a chance that this will be reversed by government action. Not the merest wisp of a suggestion of change for the better. Not ever, not even a feint in that direction. The pig-dogs are out in the open now, braying as if possessed–which they are–and nothing will stop them. Nothing, that is, EXCEPT…

    …except total systemic collapse.

    I’m not any more prepared for that than the next man, but it’s the only thing that will work. AND it’s guaranteed! :-)

    Bottom line: work that cosmic angle, listen to the Earth, find reasons to love.

  15. beowulf permalink
    July 21, 2010

    “courtesy of the Republican party planning. So perfectly executed and PR’d by some winners: St. Ronnie, using “Lee Atwater’s” Southern Strategy…”

    If only the Democrats had a Lee Atwater to advise them– Oh wait, Lee did give them some pretty good advice:

    Simply put there is constantly a war going between the two parties for the populist vote. The populist vote is always the swing vote… The Democrats have always got to nail Republicans as the party of the fat cats, in effect, the party of the upper class and privilege. And the Democrats will maintain that they are the party of the little man, the common man. To the extent they’re successful, Republicans are unsuccessful.
    http://books.google.com/books?id=GJSbW1IT4WgC&pg=PA361&lpg=PA361

  16. Mason permalink
    July 22, 2010

    @TaosJohn — looking for “total systemic collapse” to settle the score? The chaos in post-glasnost Russia, in various areas of West Africa, and more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan tends to create a cornucopia of opportunities for the ambitious megalomaniac. If you’ve read about the mujahideen in Afghanistan, you may note that the most corrupt and opportunistic among them (Dostum, Hekmatyar) are the ones who are still alive and kicking, while the bravest and most effective leaders during the resistance are now long dead.

    Collapse is adequate pretext for centralization/censorship of various independent news media, the purging of dissidents, gathering of assets at rock-bottom prices, and the entrenchment of corrupt and brutal “internal security” forces. The financiers of news media control the narrative for the most part, and will insulate themselves from any serious reprisals. Cases in point — Scooter Libby and John Yoo, who took the blame for PNAC and Cheney’s agenda and got away with a slap on the wrist. And how many people have been criminally charged in the aftermath of the financial collapse? Just one — Madoff, who got nailed because he cheated many powerful people, most of them of a certain shared heritage. And from what I hear he’s not doing too badly behind bars. Shades of Mike Milken.

    The smart money is, as Ian noted many months ago, is on simply moving somewhere that is largely insulated from collapse in the U.S. (maybe Laos? haha) rather than stick around to push back against the Leviathan of human folly. Then again, it’s hard not to want to have the back of the 300 (Moyers, Scahill, Hayes, Hedges, Hamsher, Yves, EmptyWheel, Greenwald, Olbermann, Cenk Uygur and many others) at our latter-day Thermopylae…

  17. anon2525 permalink
    July 26, 2010

    The only times that reporters present “on the one hand…on the other hand” is when they/their editors/publishers want to counter the truth. When they are presenting a lie or myth, they feel no compunction about leaving the “on the other hand” truth out.

    Exhibit 72,431:

    The other striking feature of this story is that the front page only presented the Republican criticisms. Only those who read to the jump page saw that Democrats response that the deficits were the result of the economic collapse in 2008. Even this point is largely left as a matter of “he said, she said,” rather than being reported as the fact that it is.

  18. anon2525 permalink
    July 26, 2010

    Correction: The link in the previous post was incorrect. Here is the correct link: Front-page editorial presented as “news”

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