Saturday, March 13, 2010

Credit where credit is due

John Cassidy has written what may be the one and only puff piece aspiring to respectability on Timothy Giethner that will have ever been historically conceivable.

Appearing as it does sometime before the long-term relentless rise of the real misery index threatens to become unavoidable "news" (if it ever will), but also before the crackhead mentality on Wall Street culminates in another shitstorm of future carbon credit-default swaps or something-else-backed-and-bundled-securities.

The cursory lip wagging Cassidy gives to dissenting views are even more remarkable for being followed by nothing more substantive than the sort of self-certain, vaguely dismissive ideological boiler-plate, generalities and defensive wound licking in the supposed court of public opinion we have come to expect, all while vainly wallowing in the bureaucrats lament of feeling himself fundamentally removed from such concerns, such inevitable collateral, if not realpolitik itself, altogether. In short, Geithner betrays himself as a well-intentioned, self-satisfied ideological conservative at heart. Another moderate Republican, not so much unwilling as developmentally unable to acknowledge, examine and replace the speculative-fed fantasy extortion machine that veneers the grotesque rotting foundation of our financial industry and entire economy. No news there, certainly. At least he doesn't pretend to be something he is not. A real Democrat, for instance.

So the stress tests were actually brilliant and really saved the day despite being so "tough" (8.9% unemployment, anyone?), some won-over speculators now swoon. Huh. One sentence from one article by Matt Taibbi is mentioned in passing, described as unrefined, and no explanation about *how* Goldman actually proves its "capitalized" strength "greater than international competitors" even attempted.

The article does nothing to persuade that Giethner ever was or ever will be the right person to seize what remains the only real political opportunity in half a century (to honestly confront and
change any of the institutionalized injustice, Fed subsidies, F.I. roulette, or for that matter concomitant class war now having all but killed the New Deal) historic gift now mostly squandered.

Nationalization might have worked but would have been quite difficult. No shit.

So he "saved" the financial industry (from symptoms of withdrawal, and now it's back to shooting heroin, with our blessing). Big whup. Encouraging higher unemployment and lower quality of life having been essential to the "success" of the F.I. since Reagan's handlers won their war against the unions; what matters most is larger historic context. Other signs of stability and new "growth" are not convincing at best, misleading and dangerously deluded at worst.

I'm sure Giethner's sense of being misunderappreciated is sincere, however comically out of touch and frankly, pathetic, and his actions well-thought-out and well-intentioned. His ideological sense of what's possible or ethically necessary remains thoroughly depressing, and
quite possibly without a future.

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