Helicopter Ben -- and I know this will surprise you -- says Hank Paulson's golfing buddies need even more money, on top of the over two trillion we spent, which went gawd only knows where (except for their own big salaries, that is).
As the economic outlook continues to worsen even after the Treasury’s injection of about $250 billion into the banking sector, Mr. Bernanke said more capital injections and guarantees might become necessary.
Mr. Bernanke reiterated the need for “stronger supervisory and regulatory systems” while being careful not to introduce rules that would “forfeit economic benefits of financial innovation and market discipline.”
(Hilarity ensures at the mention of the "benefits" of "financial innovation." You've got a job, Ben? A house? Fuel? Food? Good. I'm glad things worked out for you. Personally, I think we should find all the financial "innovators" and chop off their mouse hands so they can't build any more computerized models to lie at math with). Hey, just kidding!
Meanwhile, in another part of the forest, Times person Jackie Calmes burbles:
Assuming Timothy F. Geithner gets confirmed as Treasury secretary – and his Senate confirmation hearing has not yet been scheduled – he plans to bring along as a counselor Gene B. Sperling, adding another well-known veteran of the Clinton administration to the incoming Obama administration.
Mr. Sperling, who worked on Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign and for all eight years in his White House, will have a new position that Mr. Geithner has created. He will advise on fiscal policy, including issues related to the annual budget, taxes and the domestic entitlement programs – Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – whose growth is driving projections of long-term deficits.
My point here is not Sperling's views on so-called entitlements* like Social Security, but the remarkable, or not, incongruity between the two quotes. Surely handing two trillion dollars of taxpayer dollars over to Big Money drives the projections of long-term deficits? Of course it does. But not a word from Jackie Calmes. That's because it's an article of faith in the Village that the "entitlements" of the little people must be destroyed. Why are they entitled to anything? Give us more money NOW NOW NOW NOW!
NOTE Obama put Social Security in play during the primaries, and now-openly disgraced Goldman Sachs weasel Bob Rubin opened the question explicitly right before election day, as did Obama, in typically oblique, "thoughtful" fashion, afterwards. Whether Sperling is a stalking horse for privatizing efforts, as Kellifer might be, we don't know. For example, Sperling's fascinating article on Bob Ball ends with this weasel wording:
Yet, if we care about tackling some of our most important and difficult challenges, all concerned must strive to find those opportunities where both sides can feel they are involved in honorable compromise and not abandonment of principle.
And this article, from Sperling in 2001
For however sound are the arguments that the Social Security trust fund has real assets that can keep the system solvent until 2038, if the administration seeks to point to the financial trade-offs encountered in 2016 as a means to spur our nation to increase national savings and act quickly to prevent a more serious financial crisis, I am a potential convert. But for the administration to convince anyone that using the date 2016 is a serious call to action—and not just a scare tactic for privatization—it needs to show that it is serious about increasing national savings now.
Which -- Bush administration? Scare tactics? Who knew? -- gives Bush entirely too much credit (just as "honorable" does above). I don't like to see the cast of mind that accepts a truthy date, 2016, as A-OK, just because a higher good is being served; truthiness rots everything. Is the only difference between Republicans and Democrats that the Democrats use lube? Time will tell...