Maybe they don't get it

March 4, 2009 in Politics

Thomas Friedman's opinion in today's NYTimes (Obama's Ball and Chain) contains the following two paragraphs:

I’m worried. We’ve just elected a talented young president with many good instincts about how to propel our country forward, extend health care to more people, make our tax code fairer and launch a green industrial revolution. But do you know what I fear? I fear that his whole first term could be eaten by Citigroup, A.I.G., Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and the whole housing/subprime credit bubble we inflated these past 20 years.

I hope my fears are exaggerated. But ask yourself this: Why couldn’t former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson solve this problem? And why does it seem as though his successor, Tim Geithner, won’t even look us in the eye and spell out his strategy? Is it because they don’t get it? No. It is because they know — like Roy Scheider in the movie “Jaws,” when he first saw the great white shark — that “we’re gonna need a bigger boat,” and they’re too afraid to tell us just how big.

Many good points, but why is it so hard to think that maybe, just maybe, they really don't get it? A lot of commentators have started making statements like this - the administration knows exactly what the problem is, they just can't tell us what to do about it yet because it might scare us - despite evidence to the contrary.  It's a lot like those who argue that certain banks are "too big too fail" as if that were self-evident.  It's not. If they know what to do, let's hear it.  Otherwise, their blind fumbling will continue to result in us being bled to death by dying institutions on bailout life support.

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