Anyone answering the phone at Treasury?

posted at 9:34 am on March 11, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Thank you for calling the Treasury Department in the Age of Obama.  Due to our neglect in appointing senior positions, no one can take your call right now. If you are calling from the offices of our G-20 allies, please press 1 and we’ll send you 25 complimentary Region 1 DVDs for your inconvenience:

He has a reputation for being the archetypal senior civil servant professional, unflappable, and, above all, discreet.

But Sir Gus O’Donnell risked sparking a transatlantic tiff today with an imprudent remark about Downing Street’s relations with the White House.

The head of the civil service, Sir Gus said the handover to President Barack Obama’s administration was severely hindering preparations for next month’s G20 summit.

In an extraordinary blunder, the usually-guarded Sir Gus said no-one in the U.S. Treasury department was answering telephone calls.

He said it meant the Government was finding it ‘unbelievably difficult’ to hold discussions ahead of the meeting of world leaders in London.

Gee, I seem to remember when Barack Obama ran on the promise of restoring relations with the rest of the world.  How’s that working out so far?  The Brits seem unimpressed in the extreme.

When we last heard from the Obama team about their peculiar handling of Gordon Brown, they claimed to be too overwhelmed and exhausted from the economic crisis to pay attention to the niceties of protocol.  The upcoming G-20 summit will focus on that very problem, aiming for coordination of action to rebuild confidence in Western financial systems.  Is Obama now too overwhelmed and exhausted to work on that crisis as well?

This problem likely stems from the failure of the Obama administration to fill senior positions at Treasury.  One might think that Geithner and Team Obama would make that a priority, especially in areas where phone calls might come from American allies looking to coordinate on policy.  Now it looks as though they still haven’t hired the receptionists.

Administrations change in Washington every four or eight years, but the bureaucracy is supposed to provide for competent continuity — in fact, it’s the only good reason for it to exist.  In my lifetime, I don’t think I’ve seen a transition this disorganized, this incompetent, and this embarrassing. (via Legal Insurrection)


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Doogie Howser, Treasury Secretary.

This was coined by liberal Washington Post columnist, Eugene Robinson.

The wheels on the bus come off and off.

rockmom on March 11, 2009 at 11:10 AM

Can you please explain to me why banks, like any other business, cannot be allowed to fail? Why should taxpayers be forced to pay for incompetence? Isn’t that the beauty of the free market – the best and most efficient use of scarce resources – meaning that competent bankers can pick up the business from incompetent bankers and make it better? Tim didn’t save the banks – he reinforced failure.

King of the Britons on March 11, 2009 at 10:45 AM

Growth depends on credit. The banks are the main source of allocating credit into the economy. The government can’t effectively replace them with their own program and smaller banks would take years to build up the infrastructure of the bigger banks.

If financial institutions fail suddenly they can take counter-parties down with them, which is why more than $100B has been put up to manage the AIG mess.

dedalus on March 11, 2009 at 11:11 AM

rockmom on March 11, 2009 at 11:08 AM

She is doing well at the FDIC too.

getalife on March 11, 2009 at 11:11 AM

Tim looks more relaxed today and the doom and gloom has stopped on CNN.

getalife on March 11, 2009 at 11:08 AM

Tim looks more relaxed today because he got somebody to do his taxes for him…. he’s got people now.

highhopes on March 11, 2009 at 11:11 AM

Why do I get the impression that The Magical Mau Mau hired Geithner because he liked Geithner’s ears?

nk on March 11, 2009 at 11:12 AM

dedalus on March 11, 2009 at 11:11 AM

Well argued. Surrendering to a depression is not an option especially in a global economy. They look to us for leadership not cutting and running.

getalife on March 11, 2009 at 11:14 AM

Thank goodness Bush appointed Sheila Bair to head the FDIC. She saved the banking system by not allowing Washington Mutual and Wachovia to fail and by cleaning up the mess that Chuck Schumer made at IndyMac.

rockmom on March 11, 2009 at 11:15 AM

Great——Obama’s sending Gietner overseas to the summit. Obama appearenty isn’t qualified to understand global meltdowns. Some one should put an armed guard on the Treasury accounts—-Maybe Sandy Berger’s available?

Rovin on March 11, 2009 at 11:15 AM

rockmom

Your insight is, as ever, valuable.
Thanks for pointing out specifics.

maverick muse on March 11, 2009 at 11:15 AM

Let’s face it folks, eBay should be running the Treasury. Those folks(and eBayers) have free market enterprise down pat.

Limerick on March 11, 2009 at 11:15 AM

he’s got people now.

highhopes on March 11, 2009 at 11:11 AM

No but he needs more help.

getalife on March 11, 2009 at 11:17 AM

There’s another banking crisis coming though. The Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle broke the buck yesterday. So far it’s only been reported in American Banker. Another casualty of the mark-to-market rule that this Administration refuses to junk.

rockmom on March 11, 2009 at 11:17 AM

rockmom on March 11, 2009 at 11:15 AM

She is a keeper.

Funny, now the banks are saying they were using good intentions on bundling the mortgages for profits.

50 trillion lost in 2008 for the world’s banks good intentions.

getalife on March 11, 2009 at 11:20 AM

Great story in the Washington Post today about Citigroup’s long history of failure and bailouts.

The story of this recession is the story of Citigroup. It bought its way into protection by the government while it grew into a leviathan and threw billions of dollars into riskier and riskier investments. Rather than grow organically it bought other businees that it knew nothing about and then screwed them up. Citi bought one of the best mortgage businesses in the industry and completely ruined it and ended up closing it. A friend of mine who ran that business has now started another one, employing laid off Citi people who are still getting severance payments.

rockmom on March 11, 2009 at 11:23 AM

rockmom on March 11, 2009 at 11:17 AM

Abuse of mark to model brought us Enron. It’s my understanding that most of the “toxic assets” are Level Three or held off balance sheet, which aren’t marked to market anyway. The banks are hiding their losses and everyone in the financial sector knows it. A suspension of MTM might spur a market rally, but it would only be temporary because those assets are worth what they are worth and no more. Something must be done to create a market for them so am actual market price can be set, then let the chips fall where they may. Until then this mess won’t end.

flyfisher on March 11, 2009 at 11:26 AM

“Gee, I seem to remember when Barack Obama ran on the promise of restoring relations with the rest of the world. How’s that working out so far? The Brits seem unimpressed in the extreme.”
Ed Morrissey

He clearly meant with our enemies, not our allies.

SKYFOX on March 11, 2009 at 11:26 AM

Thanks for the compliments. I try to help people understand what has happened here since I worked the last 15 years in the mortgage industry at a pretty high level.

Lots of blame to go around. Bottom line is everyone trusted the bankers to know what they were doing. They didn’t.

rockmom on March 11, 2009 at 11:26 AM

There’s another banking crisis coming though. The Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle broke the buck yesterday. So far it’s only been reported in American Banker. Another casualty of the mark-to-market rule that this Administration refuses to junk.

rockmom on March 11, 2009 at 11:17 AM

The market moved in large part yesterday because of Bernanke’s favorable comments about “regulatory forbearance”. They are trying to give the banks some breathing room without reducing transparency.

dedalus on March 11, 2009 at 11:26 AM

Meanwhile back on the ranch, The Boy King is now speaking about his earmarks on Fox.

Stock market tanks in 5…..4…..3

Knucklehead on March 11, 2009 at 11:27 AM

flyfisher on March 11, 2009 at 11:26 AM

Correct, Enron abused asset valuation to hide losses for a long time. Something needed to be done about that, but there should have beenm some kind of a circuit-breaking mechanism in SOX or FAS 157 to prevent the kind of accounting-driven meltdown we have seen over the last 2 years. It’s ridiculous to see a Federal Home Loan Bank become technically insolvent solely because of the zero valuation of mortgages on its books that are still current and based on real property with a known value.

rockmom on March 11, 2009 at 11:30 AM

Growth depends on credit. The banks are the main source of allocating credit into the economy. The government can’t effectively replace them with their own program and smaller banks would take years to build up the infrastructure of the bigger banks.

If financial institutions fail suddenly they can take counter-parties down with them, which is why more than $100B has been put up to manage the AIG mess.

dedalus on March 11, 2009 at 11:11 AM

While I don’t necessarily agree with what you say, let’s assume it to be true. The unintended consequences of these actions are worse then letting the banks fail in the first place. We are where we are largely because the government has continually interfered in the free market. Incompetence must be allowed to fail. Risk is the great counterbalance of the market and must be allowed to function or the free market system cannot work. We are at that point in our country now.

King of the Britons on March 11, 2009 at 11:35 AM

I guess if you’re Ahmamadjihadi or Sheikh Nasrallah you could get through to Mr. Obama no trouble, but if you’re Old Europe please get in line. I am shocked that Obama wasn’t ready on day one, I mean the press told us it was McCain who’d be having all these logistics and ethical problems.

eaglewingz08 on March 11, 2009 at 11:37 AM

flyfisher on March 11, 2009 at 11:26 AM
Correct, Enron abused asset valuation to hide losses for a long time. Something needed to be done about that, but there should have beenm some kind of a circuit-breaking mechanism in SOX or FAS 157 to prevent the kind of accounting-driven meltdown we have seen over the last 2 years. It’s ridiculous to see a Federal Home Loan Bank become technically insolvent solely because of the zero valuation of mortgages on its books that are still current and based on real property with a known value.

rockmom on March 11, 2009 at 11:30 AM

I don’t disagree with you about SOX and FASB 157. I’m unsure what the answer is, but I don’t see how doing away with MTM is the answer, at least not permanently. Many of those notes are cash flowing today, but they won’t forever and the banks know it. Drive around the Gulf Coast and you will see one condo development after another that are like ghost towns. I looked at one in a large development last summer that was initially priced at $880,000. They had slashed the price to $350,000. The desperate realtor followed me to my car and whispered that he was confident they would take $250,000. If the developer still has the condo on his balance sheet at $880K he is lying. And the same goes for the lender(s) who holds the debt on that development. They are all going to take a bath and it’s not a fictional bath. It’s all too real.

In the end the assets are worth what they are worth. All the game playing will do is forestall the inevitable.

flyfisher on March 11, 2009 at 11:44 AM

In my lifetime, I don’t think I’ve seen a transition this disorganized, this incompetent, and this embarrassing.

No kidding. The only thing that Leftist professors and their Socialist marketing whizzes know how to organize are soup kitchens, unions and “peace” rallies.

Besides, Barry is too busy plotting to revolutionize our schools by emulating South Korea, and plotting the indoctrination of our children through a Zero to Five Early Childhood education system, to worry about ancient relics of Western Civilization like Great Britain, or to hire people to man the phones.

Buy Danish on March 11, 2009 at 11:47 AM

The Americans’ Constitutional arrangements for transition seem far better than those under the parliamentary system, which from reports seems to tend to leave parliamentary countries without a unitary Executive, just when they are most in need. On the other hand, if a bureaucracy is so firmly and entirely in charge that the transition from one chief executive to another, and even one party to another, proceeds without disruption, then the “chief executive” seems to be no chief executive, but merely a lightning rod for the permanent rulers.

Kralizec on March 11, 2009 at 11:53 AM

Something must be done to create a market for them so am actual market price can be set, then let the chips fall where they may. Until then this mess won’t end.

flyfisher on March 11, 2009 at 11:26 AM

I agree with you. Nothing can forestall the inevitable.
If something isn’t worth anything, no matter what you do, it will still be worth nothing in the long run.
All that is being done is a shuffle.
Reminds me of the old ranching trick-
Banker comes to count cows & you run them in a big circle getting twice the count.
In the end, you can’t make the payment, you go under.
Simple.

Badger40 on March 11, 2009 at 11:55 AM

Buy Danish on March 11, 2009 at 11:47 AM

Yet another reason to home school or form an intelligent home-schooling coalition staffed by former public school teachers.

Badger40 on March 11, 2009 at 11:57 AM

Not sure there was much risk taking when they knew governments would not let them fail.

Good discussion. Tim’s job is tough but he is dealing with it and not surrendering.

getalife on March 11, 2009 at 11:59 AM

While I don’t necessarily agree with what you say, let’s assume it to be true. The unintended consequences of these actions are worse then letting the banks fail in the first place. We are where we are largely because the government has continually interfered in the free market. Incompetence must be allowed to fail. Risk is the great counterbalance of the market and must be allowed to function or the free market system cannot work. We are at that point in our country now.

King of the Britons on March 11, 2009 at 11:35 AM

We are where we are for many reasons, and the government did its fair share of stupid things. However, the credit market problems are primarily the fault of the leverage levels that the banks took on. The deleveraging and increased default risk that began in July of 2007 has turned this from a standard recession into a threat to the financial and political systems in the West.

The government didn’t demand leverage levels of over 30x. In fact the SEC used to have a rule against it, until the bankers asked for it to be lifted in 2004. One of the bank CEO’s recently said before congress, roughly “leverage can help profitability in good times, but it can create real problems when prices fall”. He must have been paging his copy of “Bank Management for Dummies” on his ride down to DC.

If I were to blame a government official, I’d start with Alan Greenspan.

dedalus on March 11, 2009 at 12:00 PM

In the end, you can’t make the payment, you go under.
Simple.

Badger40 on March 11, 2009 at 11:55 AM

Unless the government (i.e. you and me) buys the “toxic assets” for above FMV, that’s exactly how this will end.

Assuming we can pull our economic system out of the doldrums (with Obongo running the show I’m not taking that bet), going forward we’ve got to have honest balance sheets. After what has transpired only suckers will be willing to invest in our market.

flyfisher on March 11, 2009 at 12:03 PM

No but he needs more help.

getalife on March 11, 2009 at 11:17 AM

PAul O’Neill and John Snow didn’t need help. If you’re going to troll, at least have a little common sense.

Not sure there was much risk taking when they knew governments would not let them fail.

Good discussion. Tim’s job is tough but he is dealing with it and not surrendering.

getalife on March 11, 2009 at 11:59 AM

Clueless idiot. Do us a favor and don’t reproduce.

leetpriest on March 11, 2009 at 12:06 PM

Timmy the Tax Cheating Elf is FAR TOO BUSY making sure that everyone pays there taxes next month…and by everyone i really mean anyone who does not want to work for the Uhhbama administration

alexraye on March 11, 2009 at 12:07 PM

dedalus on March 11, 2009 at 12:00 PM

Amen. At the very heart of our economic problem is the abuse of debt. It was old Hank Paulson, as CEO of Goldman, who was lobbied hard to do away with reasonable leverage limits. Why he was tapped for Treasury I will never understand. Greenspan isn’t the only villain, but he’s got to be hoping the people never understand what has been done to them. In other countries he would have already had his neck stretched.

flyfisher on March 11, 2009 at 12:07 PM

In the end the assets are worth what they are worth. All the game playing will do is forestall the inevitable.

flyfisher on March 11, 2009 at 11:44 AM

Good points. I go back and forth on MTM but do think that Bernanke got it about right yesterday by saying that they’d continue to require MTM, but the government regulators could ignore it where it made sense.

The risk that you point out is the Japanese problem where banks want to avoid right downs by selling assets for a fair price and keep them on the books under the false notion that the revenue stream will continue until maturity.

dedalus on March 11, 2009 at 12:07 PM

Amen. At the very heart of our economic problem is the abuse of debt. It was old Hank Paulson, as CEO of Goldman, who was lobbied hard to do away with reasonable leverage limits. Why he was tapped for Treasury I will never understand. Greenspan isn’t the only villain, but he’s got to be hoping the people never understand what has been done to them. In other countries he would have already had his neck stretched.

flyfisher on March 11, 2009 at 12:07 PM

Hank Paulson did the lobbying. Ugh…sometimes typing is a struggle.

flyfisher on March 11, 2009 at 12:09 PM

leetpriest on March 11, 2009 at 12:06 PM

Try to engage in the discussion.

Hint:

It is not about me and you are breaking the rules by talking to me.

getalife on March 11, 2009 at 12:10 PM

It was old Hank Paulson, as CEO of Goldman, who was lobbied hard to do away with reasonable leverage limits. Why he was tapped for Treasury I will never understand. Greenspan isn’t the only villain, but he’s got to be hoping the people never understand what has been done to them. In other countries he would have already had his neck stretched.

flyfisher on March 11, 2009 at 12:07 PM

Hank may have been the pick specifically because the Street knew what lay ahead. I recall the Street really pushing hard for his selection. They may have known that only someone who helped assemble the house of cards would be capable of helping them in a crisis–which he clearly did.

dedalus on March 11, 2009 at 12:12 PM

Yet another reason to home school or form an intelligent home-schooling coalition staffed by former public school teachers.

Badger40 on March 11, 2009 at 11:57 AM

My kid only has 3 1/2 years to go, but if it came to that, I’d home school. The good news is it would give my kid more time to work on his golf. The bad news is he wouldn’t be on the High School golf team anymore.

Buy Danish on March 11, 2009 at 12:14 PM

“Tim’s job is tough but he is dealing with it and not surrendering.”

How exactly is “Tim” dealing with it? If you mean that he’s dealing with it by internalizing his own inadequacies and assuming a fetal position I might agree – if on the other hand you mean that his actions are having a meaningful impact, then please point me to your oregano connection because I want some – b/c it must be really good stuff.

All joking aside, perception is reality in most cases and I can’t see what Geitner’s done other than wait and see. It’s probably not fair to bust Timmah’s chops just yet, but the clock’s ticking and the window for producing results is closing fast.

volnation on March 11, 2009 at 12:16 PM

It should hardly be lost on anyone the fact that the longer Treasury goes without any skilled people working there, and the longer Geithner continues to act like a HS Freshman called upon to give a sex ed. lecture to the entire school on the first day of class, the more power will reside inside the WH.

I suspect that the Obama Diaper Brigade are tacitly if not willingly going along with this coz again the longer it goes on the longer Obama will be in total command of the rapidly-centralizing economy.

Once again, though, for about the 750 Quadjillionth time, one is forced to play the old game of “What if Bush/McCain had done this.” Somehow (prolly just me being paranoid again) I dont think the press and Dems would be so sanguine about it as they appear to be today. Just a hunch.

Mike D. on March 11, 2009 at 12:20 PM

Friday the 13th might be Timmy’s last day on the job. I took the day off in precaution.

Limerick on March 11, 2009 at 12:20 PM

It’s probably not fair to bust Timmah’s chops just yet, but the clock’s ticking and the window for producing results is closing fast.

He is using the Paulson plan of using taxpayers money to save these banks and try to get credit flowing again.

Keeping the Dow around 7000 is pretty good for this mess.

getalife on March 11, 2009 at 12:21 PM

Proof positive of the Peter Principle Geithner Rule.

Ted Torgerson on March 11, 2009 at 12:28 PM

Friday the 13th might be Timmy’s last day on the job. I took the day off in precaution.

Limerick on March 11, 2009 at 12:20 PM

It’s ok. Lassie’s been lonely.

JiangxiDad on March 11, 2009 at 12:33 PM

BTW, talking to me is breaking the self imposed rules of some commenters here but I am downgrading this mess from a bush depression to a bush recession.

He beat his daddy’s recession because the first day President Clinton took office the Dow was around 3300.

We all know President Clinton took that 3300 to 13,000 and our new President is using the Clinton team.

I have confidence our new President will do the same so enough with the doom and gloom.

We will come out of this recession stonger because our new President is investing in our country’s future.

Better days are ahead and he will cut the debt in his second term like President Clinton.

Have a great day.

getalife on March 11, 2009 at 12:36 PM

Obama is as everyone with a brain said from day one – way too inexperienced for the job of President. Politics aside, he’s just not equipped for the extreme pressure and responsibilities of being leader. Arrogance doesn’t substitute for Leadership. Neither he nor Biden have ever been in a leadership role. Voting on something isn’t the same as leading something. We’re suffering the burden of Obama’s inexperience and heinous ideology. I blame the voters for being stupid and media for making them stupid.

chicagojedi on March 11, 2009 at 12:38 PM

Geithner is tainted and has been disgraced between his tax cheating and his horrible debut in front of Congress.

There’s a reason those 100 cubicles are empty.

Chuck Schick on March 11, 2009 at 12:38 PM

King of the Britons on March 11, 2009 at 11:03 AM

I know you would Sir. It won’t be much of being “in” the fight if they just need me for the RIP. It’ll be doing environmental training at Kandahar and command visits with the boss to Qalat, TK and other FOBs in RC South. Enjoy the time with the family in a nice environment while you can. They’ll have you back before you know it.

hawkdriver on March 11, 2009 at 12:38 PM

The bad news is he wouldn’t be on the High School golf team anymore.

Buy Danish on March 11, 2009 at 12:14 PM

Far as I know a public school is required to provide educational assistance as well as full access to extra curricular activities to home schoolers. This includes music & sports & other activities like science club, etc.
Demand it.

Badger40 on March 11, 2009 at 12:41 PM

We will come out of this recession stonger because our new President is investing in our country’s future.
getalife on March 11, 2009 at 12:36 PM

Our dear leader, Kim Jong Il, marches the people towards our shared glorious future.

The hope of our hope, the hearts of our hearts, beating in the breast of our dear one, our Kim Jong Il.

JiangxiDad on March 11, 2009 at 12:41 PM

Hey and to the HA regulars. Please don’t misunderstand. I never insinuated to “ban” anyone. Everyone has a right to comment as long as Ed and Allah haven’t dropped the ban hammer themselves. I’m surprised I’m tolerated on some days.

My only point was I come here to exchange with other Conservatives. If there’s a liberal who engages in a meaningful dialog, I actually enjoy the exchange. I don’t even mind getting teased by the wittier ones. But so many threads are so easily hijacked by trolls who provide nothing. I’ll just say the one I’ve spoken about lately, that I choose to ignore, is the most obnoxious even in his simple statements. They sound harmless but they’re really the most outrageous because he equates non-support for this porkulas bill as something unpatriotic. To hear that from a liberal after the last 7 years of non-support while their military was in harm’s way literally makes me clench my fists when I read some of the garbage of that tone. I said in a comment above that I was the leader in the revolt. Tongue in cheek I’m sure you’ll agree if you know my comments. But I really can’t abide by the cheap shots at us for not supporting the bill designed to push this country so deep into the shadow of Socialism (or worse) and having the people who have supported the military; have their patriotism called into question. You say just ignore the comments, you can’t. There isn’t hardly an hour in the day that you can check into the threads without seeing one of his rubber-stamped comments in disgust of my Commander in Chief and flower apologies for his guy.

So, I just ask that we not let him hijack the threads where meaningful (or at least enjoyable) or even funny threads are taking place. I’m myself am just going to ignore him until he provides something truthful or of substance. Or provide some other humor than what he unwittingly provides by being such a sycophant for his sophomoric band of boobs. I kid about the “revolt” but you all do as your heart tells you.

hawkdriver on March 11, 2009 at 12:41 PM

hawkdriver on March 11, 2009 at 12:41 PM

I’m with you man, mostly.

I beg them to ban him. What’s the point of letting somebody post graffiti in your house? If you don’t clean it up right away, the entire gang comes and tags your whole place.

Ban the teenage graffiti artist, getalife.

Hail Obama.

JiangxiDad on March 11, 2009 at 12:46 PM

Far as I know a public school is required to provide educational assistance as well as full access to extra curricular activities to home schoolers. This includes music & sports & other activities like science club, etc.
Demand it.

Badger40 on March 11, 2009 at 12:41 PM

It depends on the state – for instance, that’s the law in Maine, but not in Georgia. “Demanding it” is an exercise in futility. Been there, done that, it doesn’t work.

Buy Danish on March 11, 2009 at 12:47 PM

Been there, done that, it doesn’t work.

Buy Danish on March 11, 2009 at 12:47 PM

Well I know in ND they have to.
*SIGH*
Guess you need to move. :(

Badger40 on March 11, 2009 at 12:49 PM

We will come out of this recession stonger because our new President is investing in our country’s future.
getalife on March 11, 2009 at 12:36 PM

*SHUDDER*
I seem to remember similar sentiments being murmured during Stalin’s time in public office.
Ask any living Gulag former detainee how that plan worked out.

Badger40 on March 11, 2009 at 12:51 PM

hawkdriver on March 11, 2009 at 12:41 PM

Im with you. Theres a big difference between debate and spam.

He offers nothing of value: no facts, no honesty, no thought and no wit. Every other dissenting opinion on HotAir at least has 1 of the 4.

Chuck Schick on March 11, 2009 at 12:52 PM

hawkdriver on March 11, 2009 at 12:41 PM

I wish you well in your tour of duty but I will never ask for you to be silenced.

I am a strong believer in American freedom.

Anyways, good luck and stay safe.

I will take some time off here so you can enjoy your freedom before you deploy to keep your spirits high.

God bless you and the troops and God bless America.

getalife on March 11, 2009 at 12:52 PM

I wish you well in your tour of duty but I will never ask for you to be silenced.

Fairness Doctrine? Media complicity in covering up obama’s stumbles? Daily media coordination with WH? Attacks on private citizens (JTP).

All you want is for dissent to be silenced.

-Hail obama-

JiangxiDad on March 11, 2009 at 12:57 PM

I will take some time off here

What s/n should we look for you under now?

…our new President is investing in our country’s future.
getalife on March 11, 2009 at 12:36 PM

-Hail Obama-

JiangxiDad on March 11, 2009 at 12:59 PM

hawkdriver on March 11, 2009 at 12:41 PM

Amen to that. By engaging with these idiots, they think they win in their own sick little minds.

Keep America safe, don’t feed the trolls. If you ignore them long enough, like any child, they eventually get bored and disappear.

Knucklehead on March 11, 2009 at 1:00 PM

We are where we are for many reasons, and the government did its fair share of stupid things. However, the credit market problems are primarily the fault of the leverage levels that the banks took on. The deleveraging and increased default risk that began in July of 2007 has turned this from a standard recession into a threat to the financial and political systems in the West.

The government didn’t demand leverage levels of over 30x. In fact the SEC used to have a rule against it, until the bankers asked for it to be lifted in 2004. One of the bank CEO’s recently said before congress, roughly “leverage can help profitability in good times, but it can create real problems when prices fall”. He must have been paging his copy of “Bank Management for Dummies” on his ride down to DC.

If I were to blame a government official, I’d start with Alan Greenspan.

dedalus on March 11, 2009 at 12:00 PM

Which is exactly my point. In a free market, if you increase the risk by asking for leverage levels of over 30x, then you must suffer the consequences of it when it fails.

King of the Britons on March 11, 2009 at 1:04 PM

And this may have been the most helpful/smooth turnover of government in modern history and the Obama team took full advantage if it with their president-elect show. Since Obama apparently saw a need for continuity in the DOD and CIA by keeping on Bush people, maybe he should have done the same for Treasury. Or to be sarcastic, maybe he should have kept the entire cabinet and under secretaries of Bush since it was filled with adults who had been successfully vetted.

amr on March 11, 2009 at 1:06 PM

I can imagine what their automated phone system menu must be like:

Press 1 for english

Press 2 if you’re looking for TARP money

Press 3 if you have any economic/financial experience what so ever and would like to join the treasury team as we are really in way over our heads and the idiot in charge doesn’t have a clue, hell he couldn’t even do his own taxes right!

Liberty or Death on March 11, 2009 at 1:20 PM

our new President is investing in bankrupting our country’s future.
getalife on March 11, 2009 at 12:36 PM

Perhaps this waxes more poetic.

Badger40 on March 11, 2009 at 1:24 PM

“Excuse me, can someone please put down their fork-full of Wagyu steak and answer that phone?”

“No?”

“No takers?”

“Well, ok, can’t blame you, this steak is deelish!”

Montana on March 11, 2009 at 1:27 PM

Liberty or Death on March 11, 2009 at 1:20 PM

Knowing this administration, I’d expect:

Press 4 if you’re using a rotary phone

Snowed In on March 11, 2009 at 1:28 PM

Hilarious!!! It always a little twisted to enjoy seeing the cat play with a mouse. But here I am grinning ear to ear.

EyesOpen on March 11, 2009 at 1:35 PM

This guy can’t take a 3 PM call, much less a 3 AM call.

Another shining moment of glory for Great Leader’s pratfall into history.

NoDonkey on March 11, 2009 at 1:49 PM

I am not a major economic guy, but I do understand some of the basics what rockmom and flyfisher are talking about. Please correct me if I am wrong in my hypothesis.

I do not believe we can do anything with those toxic assets. My understanding is that most of them are from sub-prime mortgages that belong to property that was extremely over priced. Since it is inconceivable for property values to get anywhere near where they used to be than those assets can only lose money.

Also from what I read, these securities are all bundled together, so you might have solid mortgages mixed in with the flotsam. Someone would have to go through all of the securities and find out if any of the loans are even solvent. You could probably sell those mortgages again if they were lumped with other good ones, but I would highly doubt you could sell them at a profit.

The toxic assets and economy are in a giant hole, and their is no pain free way of getting out of it. What I would suggest, and I could be wrong, would be that we should split all of the mega banks to be more regional. If we did that then we could isolate the areas that are having serious problems from the rest of the country. Then we could go ahead and either let the bank fail so only one region is affected or the money that you inject into the bank is much more targeted.

txaggie on March 11, 2009 at 1:51 PM

This is like a soap opera! As the Whitehouse turns… The G20 can’t co-ordinate and Obama attends his 500s party of worshipers.

Is this what all Apple computer people are like?

petunia on March 11, 2009 at 2:50 PM

We will come out of this recession stonger because our new President is investing in our country’s future.
getalife on March 11, 2009 at 12:36 PM
*SHUDDER*
I seem to remember similar sentiments being murmured during Stalin’s time in public office.
Ask any living Gulag former detainee how that plan worked out.

Badger40 on March 11, 2009 at 12:51 PM

\

Oh my gosh. That is exactly the excuse for the hardships of Soviet Russia and the disappearence of dissenters. This does get scary sometimes.

petunia on March 11, 2009 at 2:55 PM

I’m sure they won’t have a hard time finding a receptionist or two.

Oink on March 11, 2009 at 10:11 AM

The application part is easy. It’s convincing them to drink the Kool-Aid that is the hard part.

bluelightbrigade on March 11, 2009 at 3:40 PM

Press 4 if you’re using a rotary phone

Snowed In on March 11, 2009 at 1:28 PM

+1

bluelightbrigade on March 11, 2009 at 3:42 PM

rockmom on March 11, 2009 at 11:10 AM

I prefer to think of it as all those he’s tossed under the bus have finally not only jammed the wheels up into their wells, but have outright clogged the powertrain. “Thump thump thump” has turned into “click-click-click-click.”

Blacksmith on March 11, 2009 at 3:42 PM

The phrase ‘slow motion train wreck’ comes to mind…

Which begs the question, how long do you think it will continue? another month? a year? all four years?

Onus on March 11, 2009 at 4:39 PM

The phrase ’slow motion train wreck’ comes to mind…

Which begs the question, how long do you think it will continue? another month? a year? all four years?

Onus on March 11, 2009 at 4:39 PM

Nov 2010 looks good for being the bottom. It’s all uphill after that.

BobMbx on March 11, 2009 at 4:58 PM

Not answering the phone is a way of hiding from the bill collector… “China calling on line 1″.

RalphyBoy on March 11, 2009 at 5:37 PM

Thanks for the compliments. I try to help people understand what has happened here since I worked the last 15 years in the mortgage industry at a pretty high level.

Lots of blame to go around. Bottom line is everyone trusted the bankers to know what they were doing. They didn’t.

rockmom on March 11, 2009 at 11:26 AM

Okay since you are a resident expert explain mark to mark or mark to model, What ever it is called to a layman.

Kevin in Southern Illinois on March 11, 2009 at 5:46 PM

Direct the unemployemnt lines to the Treasury department….

Problem solved….

Constitution1st on March 11, 2009 at 6:58 PM

No wonder President TelePrompter’s senior staffers including his Budget Director, were on the Sunday News shows saying “It’s going to take time to get the economy back on tract”…..

Wow. Can’t even answer the phones. At Treasury. In the midst of an ‘economic crisis’.

Barack Hussein Obama: Historical Failure

TN Mom on March 11, 2009 at 11:15 PM

there are 500 million Americans….and Barry cant fill 25 or so positions…now thats sad…

alexraye on March 11, 2009 at 11:28 PM

Not answering the phone is a way of hiding from the bill collector… “China calling on line 1″.

RalphyBoy on March 11, 2009 at 5:37 PM

yep. and once we depend on China for everything as its getting to be, we’ll have to kiss every square inch of their butts to keep us in clothes, shoes, furniture, electronics, repair parts, etc. . Ask yourself, how many China made things do I use everyday? China’s Auto sales reportedly went up. Did ours? nope. Its all to make China a prosperus and powerful country. Nice for them huh? Look at it. Its been going on for several decades and its one of the first places Hillary ran off to under her new office.
What does China depend on us for? How could we ever have political leverage on them when they get out of line? Say hello to your new owners.

johnnyU on March 12, 2009 at 4:22 AM

Growth depends on credit. The banks are the main source of allocating credit into the economy. The government can’t effectively replace them with their own program and smaller banks would take years to build up the infrastructure of the bigger banks.

If financial institutions fail suddenly they can take counter-parties down with them, which is why more than $100B has been put up to manage the AIG mess.

dedalus on March 11, 2009 at 11:11 AM

While I don’t necessarily agree with what you say, let’s assume it to be true. The unintended consequences of these actions are worse then letting the banks fail in the first place. We are where we are largely because the government has continually interfered in the free market. Incompetence must be allowed to fail. Risk is the great counterbalance of the market and must be allowed to function or the free market system cannot work. We are at that point in our country now.

King of the Britons on March 11, 2009 at 11:35 AM

It would be cheaper, and more financially sound to let the failed banks fail, and give the remaining well managed banks loans to allow them to give credit at levels sufficient for growth, but at an interest rate that only allows profit if the “consumer” loans are sound.

darktood on March 12, 2009 at 6:35 AM

Banks arent allowed to fail because if they DID, people would actually find out the democrats engineered the social justice mortgage system that got us here.

Dont get me wrong, bankers and lenders are culpable too, especially in terms of making them into securities and poisoning the entire market but lets be fair, CRA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac started us down this crap strewn path of economic comprehension failure.

Opportunity Costs on March 12, 2009 at 6:47 AM

Banks aren’t doing anything but raising their criteria for lending, just ask anyone in a small business that had a line of credit. They are cancelling them or refusing to extend them. Wachovia is the worst.

workingforpigs on March 12, 2009 at 1:59 PM

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