Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Was Geithner Bailout Conflict A Ruse?

Presidential adviser David Axelrod is looking as weak as his pudgy chin after today's front page article the New York Times. "Geithner Said To Have Prevailed on the Bailout" says it all.

It's no surprise the banker who presided, maybe even coddled Wall Street as the President of the Federal Reserve of New York, would prescribe business as usual, but it is surprising he was able to convince the President during a time of populist revolt over the banking industry.

The Times piece said, "Mr. Geithner also expressed concern that too many government controls would discourage private investors from participating." It was unclear exactly what those restrictions would entail, though.

Former Time columnist Matthew Cooper reported on his blog for Talking Points Memo that few in the meetings with Geithner were in favor of the kind of punitive action many in the country would like to see.

My nugget to add to this is that no one on the economic team, so far as I can tell, was pushing for the kind of showy, punitive measures that might have made today's ugly roll out of the new bailout plan at least more appealing to those who want to see banks punished.

So which portrayal is accurate? Geithner continuing to enable Wall Street, Axelrod and other fighting with a populist sword or the cynical view: Axelrod's accounting of the dispute is a ruse.

No comments: