Tuesday, September 23, 2008

David Brooks via Greenwald:
What Paulson, et al. have tried to do is reassert authority -- the sort that used to be wielded by the Mellons and Rockefellers and other rich men in private clubs.

Inspired in part by Paul Volcker, Nicholas Brady and Eugene Ludwig, and announced last week, the Paulson plan is a pure establishment play. It would assign nearly unlimited authority to a small coterie of policy makers. It does not rely on any system of checks and balances, but on the wisdom and public spiritedness of those in charge. . . .

So we have arrived at one of those moments. The global financial turmoil has pulled nearly everybody out of their normal ideological categories. The pressure of reality has compelled new thinking about the relationship between government and the economy. And lo and behold, a new center and a new establishment is emerging.

The Paulson rescue plan is one chapter. But there will be others. . . .The country will not turn to free-market supply-siders. Nor will it turn to left-wing populists. It will turn to the safe heads from the investment banks. For Republicans, people like Paulson. For Democrats, the guiding lights will be those establishment figures who advised Barack Obama last week -- including Volcker, Robert Rubin and Warren Buffett. . . . We're entering an era of the educated establishment, in which government acts to create a stable -- and often oligarchic -- framework for capitalist endeavor.

MSNBC, via Digby:
Matthews: I've been so impressed by Lincoln's words this week --- government of, by and for the people. It isn't government of, by and for the people. This is being decided, the biggest issue of our time, this economic crisis, the worst, according to the wall Street Journal,since the 1930s, by people so much bigger headed than most voters, than most members of congress, certainly than me. This is being decided by people like Hank Paulson.

THANK GOD this president has this secretary of treasury and not the one other ones he had before, perhaps. But Richard, the people can't vote on things like this.

Wolf: (nods sagely)

Matthews: We can't understand it. I'm one of them. I don't get it. What are all these derivatives and all this short selling and all this complicated financial ... skigamadoo or whatever you call it. What is it?

Wolf: Even the candidates have problem getting through this alphabet soup. I mean, they've both mangled the players and the key terms of those involved here. Are they talking about firing the right person when he talks about Chris Cox? Is it Fannie Mac or Freddie Mae?

Matthews: I'm just wondering if it's above our pay grade? I think Carly Fiorina may have been right. These guys can run for president but they can't be Secretary of the Treasury.


  1. rediscovering the concept of probity:



    Good ideas and lies
    Daniel Davies, in one of the great blog posts of this era, laid down a key principle:

    "Good ideas do not need lots of lies told about them in order to gain public acceptance."

    He was talking about the selling of the Iraq war, but it applies more generally.

    So, this morning Hank Paulson told a whopper:

    "We gave you a simple, three-page legislative outline and I thought it would have been presumptuous for us on that outline to come up with an oversight mechanism. That’s the role of Congress, that’s something we’re going to work on together. So if any of you felt that I didn’t believe that we needed oversight: I believe we need oversight. We need oversight."

    What the proposal actually did, of course, was explicitly rule out any oversight, plus grant immunity from future review:

    "Sec. 8. Review.
    Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency."

    I’m not playing gotcha here. This is telling: if Paulson can’t be honest about what he himself sent to Congress — if he not only made an incredible power grab, but is now engaged in black-is-white claims that he didn’t — there is no reason to trust him on anything related to his bailout plan.

    its the first time i think in eight years anyone near the nytimes has applied basic ideas about trustworthiness, deviousness and scamartistry - 'if they tried this, you know they are up to no good' - to anyone near the white house. and it took something this big and directed at well heeled elites.

  2. (he looks like daddy warbucks in that photo)

  3. kenoma10:33 AM