Neil Barofsky who wrote the recently released book, Bailout, wrote a short review/impression of Sheila Bair’s new book, Bull By The Horns. Both books cover roughly the same time period, during the financial meltdown and its immediate aftermath. As Barofsky notes, he and Bair come from different sides of the aisle and have different experiences as public officials. But they are united in one thing- their opinion of Tim Geithner. Says Barofsky:
her observations and interactions with the Geithner-led Treasury Department and her thoroughly captured fellow regulators are strikingly similar to mine.
She too was cursed out by Geithner and subjected to many of the same dirty political tricks. She also bore the brunt of misleading media attacks. She came to the same realization that I did that large chunks of the government were far more interested in preserving the status quo of the big banks than serving the broader interests of the American people. And she similarly recognized that Treasury’s mortgage modification program was never really designed to fulfill the administration’s promise to help millions of homeowners. Bair looked at the same bailout landscape that I did and saw the same favoritism toward Wall Street and betrayal of Main Street.
The day Bair’s book was released a journalist friend emailed me that she thought that Bailout and Bull by the Horns share “the same utterly surreal quality” and that I would “like it a lot.” She’s right. It’s always nice to find out that you were not the only sane person in the asylum.
So, add this latest book to the pile, including Confidence Men by Ron Suskind, that paints Tim Geithner as the guy who refused to flip the switch or throw the big bankers off the bridge in order to save the rest of us.
Speaking of trains, the theme of Geithner being a complete bastard deserving of some nasty fate reminds me of the Murder on the Orient Express. In it, the body is discovered to have been the victim of not one suspect but all of them. Each one of the aggrieved attempts to murder the victim by stabbing, unaware that someone else had gotten there first. In Geithner’s case, he has managed to survive so far, like just another one of the vampires that the Democrats foolishly invited into the house four years ago.
But with each volume that recounts that tale from a different perspective, the personalities and actions of the players become clearer and the motives easier to understand. Tim Geithner is the hand of the financiers, sent to the malware president they installed to make sure that their interests were protected even if that meant turning the country into a broken banana republic with decaying infrastructure, a ruined technology and industrial sector and a permanent underclass. It remains to be seen which suspect will deliver the fatal stab but there’s no shortage of remaining suspects.
This is pretty bad, people. The Obama administration has been worse than we anticipated.
The attempts of the Obama campaign to scare working class women into supporting him over Romney should be seen in the light of what he has failed to accomplish for them in the last four years, largely through the machinations of Tim Geithner. Those Democratic loyalists who have been carrying the campaign’s water, spreading a steady stream of attacks on Romney, portraying him as indifferent to their plight, have been remarkably silent about what Obama has done for them. Four years ago, they might have said that the jury was still out on Obama’s performance and there was still a good possibility that he would be their Democratic champion. But in October 2012, the mystery is gone. It is a bitter triumph if the campaign’s mouthpieces have managed to convince blue collar women to ignore their lying eyes and accept a manufactured reality. The money must be really good and, you know, the health insurance premiums must be paid.
All of the lamenting about what Obama will do in his second term obscures the fact that these bloggers did absolutely nothing to challenge the party when they had a chance to make a difference. Instead, they allowed the party to use their blogs as a means of disseminating manipulative propaganda while ignoring all of the administration’s collaboration with the banks to make those women’s lives harder. It’s all crocodile tears and prostitution.
Ultimately, it is Obama who is responsible for appointing Geithner and allowing homeowners and businesses to get used by the banks. Now that we have a better picture of what went on in 2009-2010 when Obama had a political full house and many executive branch tools at his disposal, it’s impossible to deny that he served the financiers.
If you serve Obama, you are serving the banks, just like Romney will.
And here is Sheila Bair describing what she would have done to Citibank. If you were a shareholder, it was a fairly terrifying scenario but given how badly Citi was mismanaged ($800 billion?? How is it possible for an entity not a country to rack up that much money in bad assets?), ultimately necessary. Tim Geithner cut her off at the pass.