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Obama: Financial Crisis is all about me.

Yesterday at Obama’s appearance before the Business Roundtable (h/t msclutterbuck in comments),

Richard Parsons, chairman of beleaguered Citigroup Inc., asked if Obama could offer some help in a national battle “between confidence and fear.”

“A smidgen of good news and suddenly everything is doing great. A little bit of bad news and ooohh , we’re down on the dumps,” Obama said. “And I am obviously an object of this constantly varying assessment. I am the object in chief of this varying assessment.”

“I don’t think things are ever as good as they say, or ever as bad as they say,” Obama added. “Things two years ago were not as good as we thought because there were a lot of underlying weaknesses in the economy. They’re not as bad as we think they are now.”

Oh really? Does Dear Leader know about the Obamavilles popping up around the country?

Tent city, Sacramento, CA

Tent city, Sacramento, CA

The sea of tents along Sacramento’s American River is growing by the day. Newcomers just pick a spot and prop up a tent.

“Anywhere from 20 to 50 people a-week are showing up out here that just became homeless,” said one resident.

Does he know that people in Elkart, IN have been reduced to begging for food handouts?

Canned tomatoes for the hungry in Elkhart

Canned tomatoes for the hungry in Elkhart

Roughly 1,600 familes picked up food and other items sent by a charity to economically distressed Elkhart, Ind., which has an unemployment rate of 18.3 percent.

The 13 semitrailers that came to Elkhart carried more than $2.1 million worth of food, enough to help sustain about 5,200 families for a week. In addition to those who picked up supplies Tuesday, Feed the Children arranged for shipments to 3,600 northern Indiana families.

So no, Barack, it really isn’t all about you.

Meanwhile, Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner is heading a staff of one and quite a few people are asking why Obama isn’t finding him any help.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is supposed to have 17 top deputies helping him run his massive department. But none have been confirmed [1].

“The secretary of the treasury is sitting there without a deputy, without any undersecretaries, without any, as far as I know, assistant secretaries responsible in substantive areas at a time of very severe crisis,” is how President Barack Obama’s economic adviser and former Fed chairman Paul Volcker put it a couple weeks ago [1]. He called it a “shameful” state of affairs.

To hear Treasury officials tell it [2], there’s no problem. Geithner hasn’t been short on new plans or new billions for the financial sector in his first weeks on the job, they say. And he still has time for his morning workout [3].

Well thank goodness Timmy can still find time for his morning workout. Maybe he and Barack should get together at the gym and come up with some names for those Treasury appointments? After all, even after they are chosen, they have to be confirmed by the Senate. And maybe they should try finding some nominees who weren’t in on causing the financial crisis in the first place–that might cut down on the vetting problems.

Frankly, I find it embarrassing that the U.S. response to the global crisis is becoming a laughing stock among financial experts. And why aren’t the phones being answered at Treasury? The Brits have been complaining about this for awhile now.

Check out this rant from Willem Buiter’s blog at the Financial Times.

Since the Obama administration took over on January 20, the US Treasury has effectively been out to lunch. As widely reported (see e.g. this account in the Financial Times), Sir Gus O’Donnell (as cabinet secretary the top UK civil servant) has attacked the “absolute madness’ of the US spoils system, where a new Federal administration replaces the entire top stratum of the civil service with new officials possessing the right political connections and leanings. Quite a few of these top officials need to be confirmed before they can start working. This can take months. Many of the new officials have no political, government or administrative experience and spend most of their first months in office trying to figure out where the washroom is instead of designing and implementing policy.

Buiter says the “spoils system” in the U.S. government which allows officials to appoint their unqualified cronies to positions that require real expertise has led to the “emasculation of US macroecononomic policy making.”

The price of the US spoils system has been high, if the quality of economic policy making in Washington DC by the Obama administration is anything to go by. The Obama administration’s handling of the financial crisis and the recession-verging-on-depression has been surprisingly fumbling and kak-handed. The economic team should have hit the ground running following a lengthy transition period and the appointment to the top positions of experienced economic policy makers like Tim Geithner, Larry Summers, Peter Orszag and Paul Volcker. But there is little evidence of coherent teamwork. Instead we are treated to repeated examples of the Unfinished Symphony (Geithner) or of A Night at the Improv (Summers).

In the US Treasury, Timothy Geithner has come up with a number of half-baked plans, under the grand umbrella of the Financial Stability Plan of February 10. These plans are not worked out to the point that they can even be evaluated properly, they are not costed properly and, except for the money left from the TARP and the funds approved by the Congress for the US$ 787 bn fiscal stimulus plan, they are not funded.

That the half-worked-out fiscal-financial rescue plans of the US government are not funded is due to a deeper flaw in the US political economy than the spoils system. It reflects the extreme polarisation of American society and of the polity. This may have started as early as the Vietnam War years, accelerated during the Reagan administrations and exploded during the George W. Bush administrations. Almost any departure from the status-quo is subject to de-facto veto from some well-organised and well-funded special interest coalition. During times of war and economic crisis, policy paralysis is costly.

But the fact that the economic plans of the administration are only half worked out is due to the fact that, except for the Treasury Secretary himself, the entire top of the Treasury is vacant. it is even possible that Geithner has to make his own coffee, a task normally delegated to a Deputy Secretary. This is an insane situation that no self-respecting country should allow to continue.

With Geithner under-supported and over-worked, Larry Summers, Director of the National Economic Council, has jumped into the macroeconomic policy fray with gusto, but not, unfortunately, with the benefit and backing of careful analysis.

Whew! That’s a scathing indictment if I ever saw one! Tim Geithner’s and Larry Summers’ ears must be burning. But I suppose if Obama read it, he’d just continue to preen and think it’s all about him. But while he’s focusing on “me, me, me,” the U.S. economy is crashing and burning. Is there anyone who can talk some sense into our narcissist in chief?

93 Responses

  1. Alfred E. Urkel and his Keystone Kops Krew, with the assistance of the Lollipop Guild of media enablers are too busy picking fights with Cramer and Limbaugh to pay attention to what they’re doing. Cramer/Stewart is all over CNN this morning. Who cares? How can the economy be headed for “catastrophe,” but, it ain’t that bad? Some buncha bodies at 1600 Penn need a reality check.

    • Hi Cinie! If you ask me, the pathological narcissist in chief needs a kick in the pants. And someone remove the mirrors from the gym and force him to look a photos of Americans in distress instead.

      • I really don’t think he has any idea what he’s going to be reading from the TelePrompTer before the cameras roll. Otherwise the whole “catastrophes ain’t bad” thing should have sent off alarm bells off in anybody’s head who was awake.

      • I did not catch this one yesterday… but its everything PUMA’s been sayin’ since the Primaries…


        wsj.com “Obama’s numbers are falling to Earth”
        by Scott Rassmussen and Douglas Schoen

    • it’s supposed to get your mind of your empty stomach and bank account

  2. Both Bush II and Obama, as so many of us have said all along, are very much alike. They always have a way of interpreting criticism as their special “God-like” burden — they never seem to have the capability of really looking at and addressing the actual problem(s).
    When, oh, when, will we once again elect mature leaders who have this capability?!

    • I don’t know, but this definitely would have been a good time for a mature, knowedgeable leader. I’m getting pretty tired of Barack’s constant complaints about what people say or supposedly think about *him.* I’m really not worried about *him* getting enough to eat or having to live outside.

  3. Obama’s attitude was pretty well expressed by Michael Scott on “The Office” last night: “I do want all the credit and none of the blame.”

  4. This poor excuse for a president needs to get over himself, and dom the job he lied and cheated to get. I don’t know about anybody else, but I would give anything to have a Clinton or two in the WH looking after things, not this man-child who appears with each passing day to have adult ADD. God help us all in the next 4 years.

  5. OT, but does anyone have suggestions about what to do for an earache?

    • bostonboomer, I think warm compresses can help. Do you have any other symptoms? If you have a cold, it might be an ear infection. Or it could be impacted ear wax.

      • I have a cold. Yesterday my sinuses were hurting all over the left side of my face and my ear hurt. This morning both ears hurt. I talked to my sister-in-law the bodyworker and she gave me some suggestions. I don’t have a fever…

        • I had that last week! Awful.
          Extra-strength guafenesin (sp) — like mucinex — with lots of water helps a bit. Thins out the mucus.
          Also ginger tea (good for whatever ails you), or chicken soup with ginger root in it.
          A long hot steamy bath.
          Hope you feel better soon.

          • SInce I am from the Appalachian mountains, we had all kinds of home remedies. The one for earaches was sweet oil. My grammy warmed it and poured it into the ear, just a few drops and the the pain was gone.

          • Thanks, votermom!

    • You can warm up a little mineral or baby oil and put a couple drops in the ear, helps a little. I have read that garlic oil is good too because of some antibiotic properties that naturally exist in garlic. Never tried the garlic though.

    • Dip a Q-tip into rubbing alcohol & place gently in ear for a few seconds to allow alcohol in; repeat process (with new Q-tip) on other ear. Will provide temporary relief.

    • I take mucinex and A LOT of water to make sure it isn’t pressure from mucus in my sinuses. (I know you have some so maybe this hasn’t worked?)

      Also a drop or two of (slightly) warm olive oil in your ear. (It tastes good too)

      • Thanks everyone! I’m already doing the mucinex and water plus neti pot, but I’ll try the other things too. I have some garlic/olive oil eardrops, but I hate the smell. I guess I’ll have to bite the bullet and put up with it.

        • boomer
          last year during allergy season my ears were plugged up and driving me crazy. my doc told me to lay off the neti pot for a few days. the result was more annoying nasal congestion but my ears did feel better.
          hope you get well soon!

      • My cure for anything that might be an infection (especially in the winter) is vitamin C (1000 to 2000mg. every few hours) until it’s better, and vitamin D is great for winter infections, for immune system, and, also has been found to prevent many types of cancer. I take a good brand of Cod Liver Oil (from health food store for all vitamins), but lots of people can’t stand the taste. (You get used to it). There are capsules, but should be in oil form, not toxic that way, and should have vitamin A, too.

        I like it too because it doesn’t just treat the symptom, but the immune system.

        These things really work, too. Probably the only reason I’m even alive , with all the stress in my life.
        Hope you feel better, bb, and really important post.

        It would be good if they could set up those tent cities outside the White House. They won’t let them, don’t want people to see them, like dead from Iraq. Disgusting.

    • Bbooer: The most likely cause (if you have no fever) is congestion behind the drum. Take a decongestant.

      • BB, and some ibuprofen or acetaminophen for discomfort. If the pain worsens significantly or does not improve over the weekend, have a doc take a look.

        Hope you feel better soon!

  6. Great post BB.
    BO says he’s the “object in chief” Well guess what, sparky, you asked for it. Suck it up.

  7. All this proves one thing. He was not ready on day one. He said he had the judgement but so far there is no proof of that. Isn’t he learning anything from his advisors or the books he is reading?

  8. I have to say, homeless people and the unemployed could, if they knew how, be the key to this whole thing. Twice in our nation’s history Tent Cities in Washington D. C. have preceded real reform. Instead of setting up camp in Sacramento, take it to DC. They can’t ignore these kinds of desperate people if they are in their faces.

    Maybe we should start a fund to provide Greyhound bus tickets to anyone willing to take their tent to DC.

  9. OT but I hope Obama doesn’t go ahead with this plan

    Senators slam plan for wounded vets to use private insurance


  10. This is what happens when you pick an inexperienced, zero-accomplishment, totally unqualified pretty boy for a job.

  11. Beleagured Citigroup, my ass! Believe me, they’re in the thick of things…

    The investments in China and Dubai, the Mexican seapot that will screw the West Coast ports….

    It’s all part of a bigger package!!

    Obama on the Border: The Language Shift & Plan to Use Executive Orders–Tying It All Together (Security, Trade, Immigration )


    Meanwhile, the little guy gets clobbered…but that’s OK, too, because then we get more “controllable”….

  12. Oh, on another blog I post at, I referred to the tent cities as Obamavilles also! Great minds, etc.

  13. Sorry OT but has anyone seen the Hillary comic book and please help me understand what MO has accomplished other than throwing poor people out of her hospital?

    Why should she be the female leader of the Female Force series comic series. Palin and Hillary have accomplishments and at least Princess Caroline is good at fundraising. No one gets you more money than her but MO. What has she done?


  14. OT. If anyone else is a Fantasy reader.
    I’m reading Busted Flush, edited by George R.R. Martin & Melinda Snodgrass, and halfway through I run across references to scathing references to Attorney General Hillary Rodham.

    I guess Mrs. Clinton did not get attacked enough last year?

    Does GRRM have Clinton Derangement Syndrome?

    I am tempted to burn my copies of his books. Damned kool-aide.

    • flippin A GRRM should NOT Be working on outside projects nor wasting his time on CDS when he owes his readers on the Ice & Fire series. Get back to work GRRM.

    • flippin A! GRRM should NOT Be working on outside projects nor wasting his time on CDS when he owes his readers on the Ice & Fire series. Get back to work GRRM.

  15. Hillary and Palin’s comice books sold out

    Here is the company site but the covers shown of the Hillary and Palin ones are awful. Palin looks so old and Hillary 🙄

  16. OT– Gaffe machines:

    For those who thought the long grammatical nightmare was over with President George W. Bush’s departure from office, and that his replacement by President Obama would spell the end of those delightful Bushisms and presidential pummeling of the poor English language, think again.

    Here are Obama’s remarks Tuesday night after meeting with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. “And this is something that the United States secretary to the United Nations, Secretary Rice, has been working on diligently,” Obama said.

    Seems he’s getting his Rices confused. There’s former secretary of state Condoleezza, and there’s Obama’s U.N. ambassador Susan.

    If Obama can’t quite match Bush, Vice President Biden looks willing and certainly able to help. Biden told state officials yesterday to make sure they spend all that stimulus money wisely.

    “I can tell you one thing,” Biden said. “My passion to make sure this is done right, it may exceed my abilities.

    “But I’m telling you this is not anything I am fooling around with, nor I expect any of you,” he said.

    • Good lord! Look at what the moron Obots (and that includes the msm) have done!

    • “My passion to make sure this is done right, it may exceed my abilities. ”

      Biden’s gaffiness seems to be a knee jerk tendency to be honest. Kind of endearing.

  17. Clean up 9:15 — do not engage so he can’t get his $5 worth of “obama bucks.”

  18. I lived in DC during the tent city times and believe me, it wasn’t pretty. I think it was called the Poor Peoples campaign in 1968. I was all of 8 years old and it was scary.

    Of course, after reading these posts, I gotta say that even the Bush fear-mongering didn’t get to me. At least not like the fear I am feeling now.

  19. Don’t worry y’all — Obama has a vacation coming up! That should make him feel all better, poor dear, so overworked!


    • this guy is unbelievable. He’s going back to Chicago for what? The kids have a playdate maybe??

      OT angienc I signed your and I’m looking forward to your articles..but that’s as far as I go. I’m not doing arm exercises or wearing a bra to bed 😈

    • obviously the reason he is not attending the annual dinner is because he knows he wont be able to take all the jokes they will make about him. and now that he threw them under his bus,i hope there are plenty. is this thing being televised? id love to see it.

  20. Hate to link to pajamamedia, but this is some seriously funny shite:


  21. Since backtrack’s selection:
    money for citigroup = largest seaport on the west coast in Mexico being funded with American taxpayer money. Major loss of American jobs.
    Sears tower renamed Willis tower for a London based insurance company.
    Embarrassment over treatment of a major ally PM Brown.
    Anyone want to add to list.
    So far the only companies that have increased business make teleprompters and the IBF things that report data into your ear during speeches


    It has not even been two months

  22. OT, but this is awful. Rihanna is setting a very bad example for young girls. Classic: Brown promised never to hit her again.

    Many Boston teens surveyed say Rihanna is at fault for assault

    Here’s a conversation starter: Nearly half of the 200 Boston teenagers interviewed for an informal poll said pop star Rihanna was responsible for the beating she allegedly took at the hands of her boyfriend, fellow music star Chris Brown, in February.


    • I heard that on NPR yesterday and it really shocked me. The teens also said that violent fights are just a normal part of relationships.

    • Sounds like the teens would blame her even if she left him. Damned if you do……….. She needs to save herself now and worry about being an example later.

    • Sickening.

    • Many Boston teens surveyed say Rihanna is at fault for assault

      There in lies the problem. Give them 4 months or two and they will break up. I think Rhianna is staying with him because of what will happen if she doesn’t. There are some that are saying it was her fault. She is in the entertainment business and so is he and it will affect her career if she just dumps him now. In two months this will be history and maybe she will leave him then.

  23. No Quarter just put up a post with FDR’s first fireside chat on the economy. It was shown on Sean Hannidy’s show.
    To the difference in a real leader in an economic crisis and the selection that we are stuck with now is enough to make you cry.



  24. Did anyone see Cramer on Jon Stewart? Looks to me like this whole financial downturn was not unforseeable. People who knew how all this works had a good indication that what was happening was not going to last. Cramer looked like a deer caught in headlights. Will we ever get just one person to look out for the average guy???

    • I feel sorry for Cramer. He’s being strung-up.

    • Well, we should start by asking our elected officials to “look out of the average guy” & NOT radio hosts & cable talking heads. Dontcha think?

      • Yes, I think it’s pathetic that a comedy show is more straight forward than our elected representatives. Couldn’t say more about our government if I tried.

  25. Fantastic post BB!!!!
    I love it when you tell things as they are.

  26. Bernanke is going to be on 60 Minutes this Sunday. I have it tivo’ed, but I am not sure I will be able to sit through the whole thing.

  27. You quote Mr Obama as saying…

    “And I am obviously an object of this constantly varying assessment. I am the object in chief of this varying assessment.”

    This is Obama’s world view. It’s all about himself. My old world Spanish grandmother used to cover all mirrors in the house come Holy Week. Maybe our narcissist in chief could try this now that we’re officially in Lent. He might actually see something beyond himself.

  28. How about those wacky Obama progressives now. They wanted the historic inauguration. They got it. Now what. Do they even have a coherent point of view on economic recovery. The credibility of the progressive voice is already gasping in the msm and will be tested on the web. The irony is that the Clinton Democrats can probably prevent the GOP from taking over in 2012, despite the discredited Obama progressives. BO will try and marginalize the Clinton Dems as a disaffected fringe rather than a deep and broad coalition that began with the 18 million. The 18 million that Hillary urged to keep going!! Whether or not BO is successful in that marginalization may be reflected in how often he invokes the term New Democrats. One thing seems clear. As the opposition to a weak and disfunctional WH, the GOP should be in the catbird seat. They just don’t have any leadership. Hard to find a Republican without a deregulatory record.

    • I hope he does keep using the title New Democrat.
      I would hate to think that for over 45 years as a democrat that this bunch represented me.
      My Old democratic party gave a damn about the people of America and tried to make things better in this country.
      This New Democratic party caused me to become an Independent and I can not ever go back as long as they are the face and power of the the democratic party.



  29. Cramer is getting the Obama treatment. He criticized The Lightbringer and now off with his head!

  30. Maybe I have to send poor Cramer an email to express my support.
    I sent one to Michael Steele this morning thanking him for saying out loud that abortion is an individual choice. Conservatives want his head.

  31. bb
    I’m in the troll-pit. what did I say-was it *rep**lic*n?*

  32. The local paper reported last week that two Food Bank trucks loaded with food for distribution to rural needy families had been stolen in Atlanta the night before delivery. Each truck contained food to be supplied to 600 families. The trucks were recovered, but the food was gone. When people are stealing from a Food Bank, you know things are bad.

  33. Is obama any different from Madoff? With either one people were screwed.

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