Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Not Different Enough

I don't like Ezra, so no surprise I don't like his latest.

The cool kid mostly glosses over TARP and "too big to fail" whereas I think it was kind of notable that Bush and congress wrote a basically blank check to bail out the banks, with no oversight and nearly no discussion. TARP/TBTF was then pinned entirely on the Kenyan Usurper (who admittedly was for it), and: OMG soshumalism! We now know it didn't end up costing what the stimulus did, but we thought it was going to be $700 billion at the time. He also doesn't discuss how easy that was to do, where the blame has been placed for it, and the backlash it caused. After that, try to get any sort of real stimulus passed. Good luck. I'm fairly amazed they got what they did.

He doesn't discuss what might have been if use of "too big to fail" funds would have been spent or controlled differently, perhaps they could've been tied to some real reform or items that might actually stimulate the economy rather than just being sure that some 1%ers could afford a third yacht. A discussion of how some of those items could've changed the initial debate of the stimulus, or even if anybody in DC had thought about any of that stuff would've been nice. You know, some stuff a beltway insider might've been able to get access to.

Teh coolest kid in DC also seems rather obsessed about OMG BIGGEST $TImULOUS EVAR!!one! like that means anything. Not mentioned: the 1.3 trillion we've spent in Afghanistan and Iraq so far, and the money we'll spend on everlasting war and "defense" this year, and next year, and next year... And no, sssh, we can't talk about that.

The stimulus should have been a lot bigger, but at least we got what we did at the time, as meager and misdirected (yay moar tax cuts!) as that was.

Could it have been different? Could you ask a dumber or more open ended question next time, Ezra?


  1. EZ$ is a pretty easy mark to harsh on, but IMO, this piece isn't teh one to do it with. Gloss over TARP? Yes. Sympathetic to banks? Yes. No mention of teh Defense budget? Yes.

    But the point of the article has nothing to do with those. It's about teh EPIC mis-read of teh economy back in ought eight and teh snowballing from there. And it does a pretty good job of it. Maybe he could have discussed teh delusions about everything be a "confidence" problem (moar liek confidence game problem, amirite!) and teh difference between illiquidity and insolvency at teh big banks - but it really does nail teh big issue - everyone that anyone listened was saying that teh situation wasn't really all that bad. IMHO, anyways.

  2. Good points. I guess I just was focusing more on the whole title and conclusion of his post: could it have been different?

    If the premise of the article was to ask and answer that stupid and open-ended question, he could've done a way better job of it.

    And I in no way want to imply that I approve of the administration's blundering on the issue, they fucked it up and shouldn't have. Lots of smart people knew, and told them, this was a big deal, and they ignored them.

    I just happen to think that even if they had listened to the smart people, the outcome wouldn't have been much different -- the teatards and blue-dog "democrats" would've scuttled anything better. That's just me and I'm not a highly paid DC insider with access to all these people. What do I know?

  3. with no oversight and nearly no discussion

    Yeah, that "blank check" thing was stupid and unethical.


By commenting here you're legally bound to buy me lots of yummy beer.