Iceberg? What Iceberg? Oh . . . That One . . .

(noon. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

In a Bill Moyers interview with Simon Johnson, former chief economist of the IMF and now a Professor of Global Economics and Management at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, Johnson expressed a pessimistic view of those empowered to lead us out of this economic crisis.  

Jane Hamsher at FDL explains:

Johnson isn’t for “nationalization” per se, he’s for “scaled up FDIC intervention,” breaking down the “oligarchy” by pitting one faction against the other.  Based on his analysis of who is holding the financial keys at the moment, he fundamentally believes that the people in charge of determining the outcome of the situation have a vested interest in not standing up to the banking interests and doing the things that need to be done.  And that is not a comforting thought.

No.  It’s not a comforting thought.  There’s no comfort in knowing that Captain Geithner seems intent upon ramming into the same iceberg Captain Paulson rammed into, there’s no comfort in knowing only the elites will get to board the lifeboats, there’s no comfort in being trapped below decks in steerage class while all of this iceberg ramming is going on.  


BILL MOYERS: So here’s the trillion dollar question, can Geithner, “really break with the vested elite that got you into this much trouble?  Have you seen any evidence this week that he’s going to be tough with these guys?

SIMON JOHNSON: I’m trying to be positive. I’m trying to be supportive. I like the administration. I voted for the president. The answer to your question is, no, I haven’t seen anything. But you know, perhaps next week I will. But right now, as we speak, I have a bad feeling in my stomach.  My intuition, from crises, from situations that have improved, the situations that got worse, my intuition is that this is going to get a lot worse.

How much worse?  This much worse?

Titanic Pictures, Images and Photos

Like most Americans, I’m trapped down here in steerage, wondering how much worse this is going to get, wondering how fast this ship is sinking, bracing myself for more iceberg ramming as water pours through the gaping hole in that fundamentally sound hull the proud owners of the White Elephant Line told us so much about, listening to the orchestra playing “Nearer My God To Thee”, watching the fat lady singing the first stanza as the water rises up to my waist and the lights start going out and I sit here in the dark wishing I knew how to breathe underwater.  

So . . . how is your day going?

Fear not.  Defective life jackets will be going on sale soon at WalMart stores nationwide, Michael Phelps will be handing out bongs to the first 1,000 swimmers in the water, the Peanut Corporation of America will be handing out free snacks to tide us over the long swim to shore, and if most of us don’t make it, our friends at the National Funeral Directors Association will be offering discounted family rates for funerals.

Call 1-800-DISCOUNT now.  Operators are standing by.

Or . . .

Call the White House at 202-456-1111 and ask the President to have a long and serious talk with Captain Geithner.



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    • Rusty1776 on February 15, 2009 at 11:28 pm
  1. are so frisky they knocked down the electric fence again!

    • Edger on February 16, 2009 at 12:01 am

    upper management has a handle on these things and a clear vision of the future, isn’t it?


    “The Edge… There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.”

    — Hunter S. Thompson

  2. guy from the Financial Times who said on Bloomberg, ‘They are zombie banks, nothing can resuscitate them.’ The grandstanding of Congress actually made me laugh. That’s right, Barney you tell them. Geithner is a player, a crook,  a believer in the game at hand, the sacred ‘free market’, the one where spending a fortune and then some on. They all including Obama still believe the market will sort it out. The market already sorted it, they took all they could grab and now they want more. This is truly a bi-partisan agreement, after all who pays for congress’s allotments not us we only pump money into the vast flow via taxes. The taxes we pay hardly pays the vig for the debt we owe.  Who owns it where did the money go? Or did it ever exist? Shrink wrapped somewhere waiting? Bad paper may be all were left holding but somebody got the real green.    

    • sharon on February 16, 2009 at 4:27 am

    From their oped in the WaPo:

    The U.S. banking system is close to being insolvent, and unless we want to become like Japan in the 1990s — or the United States in the 1930s — the only way to save it is to nationalize it.

    As free-market economists teaching at a business school in the heart of the world’s financial capital, we feel downright blasphemous proposing an all-out government takeover of the banking system. But the U.S. financial system has reached such a dangerous tipping point that little

    choice remains. And while Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s recent plan to save it has many of the right elements, it’s basically too late.

    There’s more here:

    One item not discussed in the article is that Roubini worked with Geithner (at the Fed I believe).  Let’s hope Geithner is listening.

  3. If I understand it correctly (& I very well might not) it wasn’t running into the iceberg that caused the ship to sink.  Rather, it was that they tried to turn the Titanic & avoid the iceberg…thereby hitting it broadsides & opening up all the compartments that were supposed to render the Titanic “unsinkable.”

    If instead it had simply run headlong into the iceberg, the ship might have stayed afloat.

    I shudder at the implications this has for our economy…

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