Monday, March 31, 2008

Deconstructing rhetoric

AP Photo

Marcy Wheeler cuts through the crap for us:
I'm no financial whiz (though I understand the general concept of the shitpile), so I can't really judge the content of Paulson's "new" plan to save our economy. But I do have a credential or two in deconstructing rhetoric--and on that level the executive summary is a fascinating document. The summary, after all, is a Bush Treasury plan to stave off any additional regulation in exchange for our recent and ongoing bailout of the financial industry. As such, it's imperative for the summary to appear to be putting consumers' interests at the forefront. It's imperative for the document to downplay the panic which would justify real regulation. And it's imperative to create the appearance of a reasoned response to a massive bailout while actually calling for diminished regulation. [Emphasis mine]
She does a nice job of contrasting Secretary of the Treasury Paulson's version of the Treasury's mission ("Critical to this mission is a sound and competitive financial services industry") with its actual mission (regarding the overall "safety, soundness, and security of the U.S. and international financial systems"). [Emphasis mine]

I hope you appreciate the shift from financial systems to financial services industry. I know I'm some kind of starry-eyed fool, but I like to think that the financial services industry functions in a subsidiary manner to the system. Oh, I'm also old-fashioned enough to remember when the word "service" meant something and was not newspeak for "rape and insult you."

Paul Krugman had some comments today:
And if financial players like Bear are going to receive the kind of rescue previously limited to deposit-taking banks, the implication seems obvious: they should be regulated like banks, too.

The Bush administration, however, has spent the last seven years trying to do away with government oversight of the financial industry. In fact, the new plan was originally conceived of as "promoting a competitive financial services sector leading the world and supporting continued economic innovation." That's banker-speak for getting rid of regulations that annoy big financial operators.

To reverse course now, and seek expanded regulation, the administration would have to back down on its free-market ideology - and it would also have to face up to the fact that it was wrong. And this administration never, ever, admits that it made a mistake.
h/t to truthout for the Krugman link

Business Week's chief economist Mike Mandel has some comments that I came across in Spiegel Online:
Let’s see. In the middle of perhaps the greatest financial upheaval since the Great Depression, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson is proposing a change in financial regulations which basically amounts to a big wink to Wall Street. His plan will go nowhere, both for political and practical reasons. In fact, it does not even meet the minimum standard of improving transparency, which would reduce the possibility of a similar crisis in the future.
Ouch.

--the BB

2 comments:

FranIAm said...

Um, basically- we are screwed. I think.

Paul said...

A comment I echo on almost every possible topic related to Bush and team.