Monday, March 23, 2009

Land Of Confusion

I’ve said this before . I think my exact words were “I don’t know what to believe about this AIG mess.” And today, I’m even more confused.

Last time I checked, the Dow Jones had jumped over 300 points on news of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s plan to unfreeze the credit markets. Meanwhile, folks with a lot more knowledge of economics than me are calling this the worst plan since Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy.

To be more precise: Paul Krugman despairs that the whole thing is “recycled Bush Administration policy,” while Atrios says the whole thing reminds him “of the Bush Administration.”


Meanwhile, Salon’s War Room blog summarizes the solution as "some wildly speculative trading” to cure a problem caused by wildly speculative trading.


Thankfully, Andrew Leonard at Salon looks at this strange scenario and concludes the only thing worse than being an AIG executive right now would be to have Tim Geithner’s job.

Leonard writes:
If the stock market goes down, right-wing critics declare that Geithner (and by extension, the Obama presidency) is a failure because "the market" has lost confidence in the administration. But if the stock market goes up, the left-wing suspects that's only due to the unfair funneling of taxpayer money to Wall Street. If one constituency is satisfied, the other is bound to be distraught.

Geithner can’t win for losing.

Meanwhile, what is an average schlub such as myself to think about all of this? I’m thrilled that the stock market is soaring; if the rally is sustained, consumer confidence will also soar, prompting people to dig a little cash out of the mattress cushions and maybe splurge on a dinner out or a new coat of paint for the old house.

Then again, why would anyone want to buy “toxic assets” -- they’re, you know, toxic. And if they’re really all that toxic, why would the government want to give people the money to buy them? How are taxpayers supposed to get their money back? How is this not just pushing the problem off down the road?

One thing we’ve learned: Obama isn't dumb. He’s also been president for all of three months. It took me a lot longer than three months to give up on George W. Bush, so I’m going to ask everyone on the left to take a big honkin’ chill pill and relax. Let’s give the president a little more time to prove he knows what he’s doing.