Monday, February 9, 2009

The NYT turns into ridiculoustown, take II

Breaking News: The NYT gets played like a fiddle.

You really have to read between the lines whenever you pick up any newspaper, even the Times.

The first two paragraphs of the Times synopsis of today's announcement of TARP II:

The Obama administration’s new plan to bail out the nation’s banks was fashioned after a spirited internal debate that pitted the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, against some of the president’s top political hands.

In the end, Mr. Geithner largely prevailed in opposing tougher conditions on financial institutions that were sought by presidential aides, including David Axelrod, a senior adviser to the president, according to administration and Congressional officials.

In other words, what happened is that Summers knew this would be unpopular (particularly with liberals), and so he removed his fingerprints, so that Geithner gets stuck with the baggage. Of course, nothing in the Times story was false, exactly, but it is miraculous that Summers -- the decider -- was able to go unmentioned in the entire article.

Other than that, I'd say the new plan doesn't look like much of a plan, and looks bad. Looks like drift to me.

I didn't like this:

Finally, while the administration will urge banks to increase their lending, and possibly provide some incentives, it will not dictate to the banks how they should spend the billions of dollars in new money from the government.

Um. Why not? If taxpayer money is going into a bank bailout, we should get some ownership, yeah? And if we do, then we should be able to call some of the shots, including making banks lend a certain amount! Why not just say to someone like Bank of America, whose new lending is probably down something like 90%, year-on-year, you have to have new lending half of the amount in new lending you lent out last year? (I'm making up these numbers, of course, but why not do something like it? The Chinese are...)

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