Obama buys time for zombie banks

Christian Science Monitor
by staff


Faced with a choice between spending upwards of $4 trillion to save wobbly banks or doing something else, President Obama has decided to do something else. His bank plan, rolled out Tuesday, almost seems designed to simply buy time in hopes the economy bottoms out soon. Maybe then, hard decisions about who sacrifices — taxpayers or financiers — won’t be needed. That explains why the plan, drafted by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, is vague on details and merely broad in strategy — with the uncertainty over its real impact worrisome to business. Under the plan, government would first send federal regulators into the opaque backrooms of the biggest banks like cave explorers to find the ultimate depth of bad assets, such as mortgage-backed securities. Banks are still trying not to admit those losses on their balance sheets and thus are reluctant to resume lending that could revive the economy...


The TARP dog and pony show

The American Prospect
by Dean Baker


Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s long-awaited plan for rescuing the banks left people even more confused about the Obama administration’s agenda than they had been before the announcement. This is best demonstrated by the plunge in the market, including bank stocks, that immediately followed. While it is generally foolish to assess the merits of a policy based on the market’s response, it is a safe bet that if the plan were the unambiguous bonanza for the banks that many of us feared, bank stocks would rally based on their good fortune. At this point, we cannot be sure that it is not a giveaway, but apparently the banks do not seem to think that it is. This is one of those cases where everything will depend on the details, which we have not yet seen...


Don’t “compromise” on the bogus stimulus bill

Future of Freedom Foundation
by Sheldon Richman


As the misnamed ’stimulus’ bill works its way through Congress, we once again see compromise equated with responsibility. The political ‘leadership’ and establishment media seemed to have a vested interest in portraying anyone who refuses to compromise as recklessly unconcerned with the well-being of the country. The problem with this outlook is that basic principles can’t be compromised. If you catch a burglar in your home, you don’t negotiate over how much silverware he may take...


Government “job creation”

Foundation for Economic Education
by Larissa Price


Barack Obama says his roughly $800 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan could save or create between three and four million American jobs by 2010. Many of these proposed jobs are New Deal-esque, involving the building or repairing of government infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, and buildings. There is a modern twist, of course, with the promise to develop ‘alternative energy sources’ such as wind farms, solar panels, fuel-efficient cars, and the like...


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp


To Catch a Thief

by Lynn Stuter

Americans who are watching, learned this week that the American people were lied to back in September when George Bush told the people that the $700 billion bailout bill, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), just had to happen to save the banks and Wall Street. And when Americans learned that banks who received TARP money were paying CEO’s big bonuses, taking executives to lavish spas, ordering jets, vacationing in the Caribbean, and going on hunts in England after “taking” TARP money, they were understandably upset, hammering Congress with angry e-mails........




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