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You are right that the Geithner plan is more stage management than sound financial management. Yet before we condemn Obama, let's see how he reacts to the probable failure of the private capital injections to shore up the banks with failing stress test grades.

Obama has shown himself to be masterful at political arts, and there is substantial opposition in Congress to nationalizing big banks. Obama's way is not to bludgeon his opponents but to lay out his case carefully. That does not mean he will stick with a failing program long after it's obvious it's a loser.

I think it is likely that Obama will follow Geithner's rose-colored glasses path until it becomes clear that all it's doing is launching an era of zombie banking, à la Japan in the 1990s. As Simon Johnson pointed out in his brilliant piece in the May issue of Vanity Fair, at some point Obama will be forced to nationalize some big banks that are hopelessly underwater and rapidly becoming bottomless pits into which taxpayer money is disappearing at an alarming rate. At that point we'll know whether Obama has really grasped the problem he faces. I think the odds are pretty good that he will have.

Bob Carmody

Manhasset, NY

May 19 2009 - 4:00pm

Web Letter

"Thorn" is probably too nice of a term. The economic conditions for growing millions are in fact catastrophic.

Workers in Europe are storming corporate headquarters. Social Democrats and Greens have been elected to the national government in Iceland. Workers in Argentina are occupying and running factories.

But here? The anger (at least at this point) is still confined to a smattering of local protests and lots of press releases and editorials. When a few million workers (employed and unemployed), thousands of students losing their loans, ripped-off credit card holders, foreclosed former homeowners all get together and take it loudly to Washington, then maybe someone will listen.

We are all paying the bitter price of corporate occupied politics (Republican and Democrat), millions allocated for the express purpose of keeping real reform (economic, healthcare, foreign policy) from surfacing.

"Your old road is/Rapidly agin'/Please get out of the new one/If you can't lend your hand"... hopefully, the times will be a-changin'.


Ed Bortz

Pittsburgh, PA

May 18 2009 - 1:00pm

Web Letter

"White House economists can cherry-pick the numbers, but premature optimism could swiftly undermine the president's credibility." How can he lose credibility that he never established?

John D. Froelich

Upper Darby, PA

May 16 2009 - 8:09am