Disclaimer: Warning! This post contains negative comments about some current and former members of the Bush administration. My criticism of their clearly demonstrated ineptitude should in no way be taken to mean that I am even considering voting for the current nominee of the democrat party. Politics is not an either/or proposition. I hate the fact that I even have to say this, but there it is.
With the financial crisis taking new twists and turns everyday, our economy seems more like a mass casualty drill than the collective commercial enterprise of the wealthiest nation in human history.
Yesterday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was heard to shout "Charge to 200. Clear!" then he unleashed his latest version of the monetary defibrillator and announced the Fed would start buying commercial paper. These are those short term unsecured loans that many companies use to finance day to day operations. It is hoped that this will help to increase lending and get money flowing throughout the economy again. Many are hopeful it will help, but let's face it Bernanke is no George Clooney.
Bernanke's curious partner in all of this is of course, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. It's widely reported that Paulson made his name, and his fortune, at Goldman Sachs. His real break came when he starred in American Gothic:
The reality of it is both of these men seem deliberative, intelligent and thoughtful. What has been lacking up to this point has been a clear vision and the necessary communication skillsto lead an enormous and unwieldy country out of the economic wilderness. Hopefully they are up to the task, but that remains to be seen.
The sober tone of their now common public pronouncements have me longing for the days when Don Rumsfeld ruled a podium at the Pentagon as if it were the turret of a castle. Every attempt to scale its wall with pesky questions was repulsed with his own rhetorical versions of boiling pitch poured out on the invaders with press credentials gathered below. You have to love bits like this (please ignore the slide at the very end):
One of my all time favorites though, has to be the Vases Of Iraq bit. Here is the quote from the Guardian newspapers website:
"The images you are seeing on television you are seeing over, and over, and over, and it's the same picture of some person walking out of some building with a vase, and you see it 20 times, and you think, 'My goodness, were there that many vases? Is it possible that there were that many vases in the whole country?' "
Just think if he was at Treasury now:
...it was just one CEO walking out of some NY headquarters and you see it 20 times, were there that many golden parachutes....
...it was just one bailout and you are seeing it over, and over, and over. Is it possible there were that many credit default swaps...
...my goodness, were there that many subprime mortgages...
I'm actually surprised Cheney hasn't emerged to announce that what we are witnessing are the "last throes of the crisis" and there are "nothing left but a few dead-enders". Perhaps Paul Wolfowitz could predict the ability of the financial sector to fund its own recovery.
On second thought, maybe we should just take our chances with stoic Hank and gentle Ben and leave verbal sparring with reporters the coaches of the NFL (click here!).