Drew Westen does the takedown:
We have seen the same pattern of pretty speeches followed by empty exhortations on issue after issue. The president has, on more than one occasion, gone to Wall Street or called in its titans (who have often [well, twice, which is at least one time too many] just ignored him and failed to show up) to exhort them to be nice to the people they're foreclosing at record rates, yet he has done virtually nothing for those people. His key program for preventing foreclosures is helping 4 percent of those "lucky" enough to get into it, not the 75 percent he promised, and many of the others are having their homes auctioned out from right under them because of some provisions in the fine print. One in four homeowners is under water and one in six is in danger of foreclosure. Why we're giving money to banks instead of two-year loans -- using the model of student loans -- to homeowners to pay their mortgages (on which they don't have to pay interest or principal for two years, while requiring their banks to renegotiate their interest rates in return for saving the banks from "toxic assets") is something the average person doesn't understand.* And frankly, I don't understand it, either. I thought I voted Democratic in the last election.
Same with the credit card companies. Great speech about the fine print. Then the rates tripled.
The president has exhorted the banks, who are getting zero-interest money, to give more of it to small businesses. But they have no incentives to do that. There are too many high-yield, reasonably low risk investments to make with zero-interest federal loans. I wouldn't mind a few billion to play around with right now myself, and I can't say I'd start with some guy who wants to start his own heating and air company, or an existing small business owner who is hanging on by his fingernails in tough economic times. I'd put my money in something like emerging markets, or maybe Canada. (Have you noticed how well Canadian equities are doing lately?) Or perhaps Chinese wind turbines. (Oh, we're investing there already with stimulus funds.)
We're investing stimulus funds in China? How did I miss that one? Readers, especially you manufacturing geeks, what's up with that?
NOTE * Because that would be HOLC. And it would work. So it's off the table, just like single payer and everything else that works. That is, "works" in the public interest.