Thursday, October 02, 2008

who you gonna call?

From today’s NYT:

In a hastily convened meeting in the conference room of the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, the two men presented, in the starkest terms imaginable, the outline of the $700 billion plan to Congressional leaders. “If we don’t do this,” Mr. Bernanke said, according to several participants, “we may not have an economy on Monday.”

I don’t know about you, but I find this paragraph outrageous. Ben Bernanke’s hysterical proclamation—or threat, depending on how you read it—is in quotes, and it seems to have multiple sources confirming it, so I have to believe the Chairman of the Federal Reserve actually said this—and that just blows me away!

This is the man we have entrusted with setting US monetary policy, with keeping a hand on the rudder, with backstopping our entire economy, and the best he can offer at a time of “crisis”—a crisis that any casual observer could have seen coming at least a year ago—is essentially a slightly more serious rendition of the "Dogs and Cats" speech from Ghost Busters.

Honestly, if I’m Pelosi, I consider throwing him out of my offices and telling to come back with his resignation. (I know, Pelosi can’t fire the Fed Chair—but you get my drift, right?) This is a shock doctrine holdup, plain and simple, and if you didn’t suspect it before, this scene makes it imminently obvious now.

That any competent person in Bernanke’s position wouldn’t have started conversations before it got to this point, and that he wouldn’t have come in with multiple options, well in advance of a drop-dead date, is completely unconscionable. That the Speaker, the Senate Majority Leader, the chairs of both houses’ Banking Committees, and, most of all, the President of the United States hasn’t come out and said as much is unacceptable.

And, worst of all, of course, is that the President, the Senate, and, soon, I expect, the House are all set to reward this pathetic performance.

I think all of America has been slimed.

(cross-posted on The Seminal)

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