Media / Politics

Jason Linkins’ ‘Sunday Talking Heads’ roundup on HuffPost is always rich food for thought.

“(Matthew) Dowd says that the only thing Obama has left in his “tool belt” is to “reinstill confidence in the people who invest in the economy.”
“Okay. Here’s the thing — we have given many, many trillions of taxpayers dollars to big banks, in the hopes that they would start investing. (Some of that was disseminated through TARP, but a chunk of that has been paid back so everyone could keep paying huge bonuses. The big bailout money, that few people note, came from the Fed.)
“Those many, many trillions of dollars have not led to new investment. Why? Because everyone is still carrying toxic assets on their balance sheets. And everyone is marking those assets to “fantasy” and not to “market” because if they were marked to market, organizations like CitiGroup would be immediately revealed as a zombie bank, and other similar revelations would follow hard upon.
“Everyone who is currently marking their terrible assets to fantasy knows this. And as they absorb capital, they hoard it, against the day that the final reckoning is to be had.
“Put simply, to get where Dowd thinks we need to go, we need to keep shoveling money at banks, until such time as the hole in the balance sheet is completely filled. Once it is, heck, maybe they will start “investing” again! Maybe, they’ll take a trip back to the derivatives casino, because they know that Dodd-Frank is pretty toothless.
“Either way, the way we get to “investing in the productive economy” is through 1) government spending in the form of stimulus, 2) government spending in the form of more massive bailouts or 3) performing a ritual incantation. What everyone — and I mean everyone, including the president — has decided to do is remove billions and billions of dollars from the economy instead, to “get our house in order.” The debt ceiling deal is projected to cost the United States 1.8 million jobs.
“So, with that in mind, we’ve a ways to fall still. But, if the stock market stops bouncing around, the media can go back to pretending that economic recovery is just a few policy tweaks away, why won’t Obama do something “bold?”
“It really is weird whenever a panel of pundits, who haven’t a single idea in their heads, yell about how someone else has no ideas.”


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