There’s so much to like about where Obama is going — health care, transparency in government, ending the war in Iraq. And the stimulus bill is OK, though not big enough.
But on the question of fixing the banks, many of us are feeling a growing sense of despair.
Obama and Geithner say the right things. But Simon Johnson nails it:
How long can you say, “we are being bold” when in fact you are not?
Obama and Geithner say things like,
If you underestimate the problem; if you do too little, too late; if you don’t move aggressively enough; if you are not open and honest in trying to assess the true cost of this; then you will face a deeper, long lasting crisis.
But what they’re actually doing is underestimating the problem, doing too little too late, and not being open and honest in trying to assess the true cost. The actual plan seems to be to keep the banks semi-alive by implicitly guaranteeing their liabilities and dribbling in money as necessary, all the while proclaiming that they’re adequately capitalized — and hope that things turn up. It’s Japan all over again.
And the result will probably be a deeper, long-lasting crisis.