Holy effin' sh!t. This is extremely bad, as Bill Quick notes. This is a tacit admission that our banking system isn't simply teetering on the brink, but that it has fallen over the edge.
Meanwhile, the Obama Administration continues to piss around with side issues. To wit, Obama continued with more of his Management Seminar Presidency, today's topic being health care. Apparently his aides are thrilled to be working on the easy topic of health care reform. Read the whole article, but here's the part that struck me:
"You know what makes everything so hard?" [the unnamed Obama economic aide] asked me [David Corn]. Before I could answer, he stepped closer to me.Notice that the unnamed official keeps offering the poor state of the economy as the reason the Administration can't fix this problem or that, but neither he nor the Administration seem to recognize that the economy is the real problem. Instead Obama & Co. get bounced from crisis to crisis, ignoring fundamental issues (Where's the bank reform, Geithner?) while expending effort on non-essential issues. The economy hasn't tanked because we haven't built enough bridges. The economy hasn't tanked because we don't have enough wind mills. The economy hasn't tanked because of rising medical costs. The economy has tanked because of crappy financial decision making, crappy governmental policies, and because greed made the nation (in whole and in parts) take leave of its senses. NONE of Obama's major initiatives address these issues, save perhaps as palliatives.
"It's the economy," he remarked. "We could deal with any of this"—referring to the assorted financial crises underway—"if the economy wasn't so bad. You have one big insurance company that goes bad? Okay, you can go out and find other companies that will buy up parts of it. You can work something out. That's not difficult to do. But now there's no one out there to buy. You have a home foreclosure crisis. You can put together a plan. But there's no plan that's going to work if the guy who's foreclosed on loses his job and can't make a house payment. You have a major auto company go bust? You can prop it up, throw it some capital. But if no one is buying cars, it doesn't matter. Look at Toyota. It's one of the best run companies in the world. And it can't make it these days."
As he said this, he shook his head slowly. He looked deeply perturbed.
"We can come up with all sorts of solutions," he said. "But it's the economy." He noted that he and other administration aides are working around the clock, that every day he jumps from one crisis to another, and that he feels that he and other administration policymakers have plenty of latitude to craft innovative responses to the assorted economic problems. Yet he said that he and his comrades cannot change the economic environment within which these policies are to be implemented.
Obama doesn't grasp that circumstances have changed. The issues he choose to campaign on in 2006 must, in 2009, take a back seat to larger issues. Back in November I wrote, "Neither [Presidential candidate] has shown any ability to adjust their policy goals to meet current conditions – that is what the financial crisis has taught us." Recent events have confirmed my speculation.
Furthermore Obama is trying to do everything at once. (Except actually address the underlying economic problems.) Whenever he speaks about any topic he exhorts us thus, "We cannot delay this discussion any longer," or "We have to act and act now." He never modulates his tone, nor does he prioritize the tasks at hand. The lack of modulation demonstrates poor leadership, while the inability to prioritize illustrates poor management skills. Not being able to identify the key problems shows that Obama has no insight.
It's gonna be a long, dismal Presidency.
NOTE: Sorry Kim, I couldn'd resist. But I'm going to bed now! Or at least to the couch. I'm going to stay out here a while to keep an eye on Spats & the heating pad.