When The American People AND James Baker Are To The Left of "The Left Flank"

Think Progress:

The [Newsweek] poll also contains the interesting and “somewhat surprising” finding that a majority of the American public supports nationalizing the banks:

Temporary nationalization is another way for the federal government to deal with large banks in danger of failing. This is where the government takes over a failing bank, cleans its balance sheets, and then quickly sells it off. In general, which do YOU think is the better way to deal with failing banks…

29 Government financial aid WITHOUT any government control of the bank, OR
56 Nationalization, where the government takes temporary control?
11 Neither/Other (VOL.)
4 (DO NOT READ) Don’t know

More . . .

Faiz Shakir of Think Progress continues:

[I]n addition to the American public, the noteworthy list of those who are advocating nationalization is bipartisan and growing. It includes Paul Krugman, Alan Greenspan, Nouriel Roubini, Lindsey Graham, James Baker, and now Thomas Hoenig. Hoenig is the Kansas City Fed President, and in remarks yesterday, he criticized the Treasury Department for moving forward with nationalization in a “piecemeal” rather than a comprehensive manner.

It is amazing at this point that much of the Left blogs are now to the right of James Baker and Alan Greenspan on this issue. What could explain it?

Speaking for me only

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    Bottom line, until (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by SOS on Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 05:43:10 PM EST
    we start coming forth with a new class of manufacturing and innovation all the rest is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

    have read (none / 0) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 05:46:22 PM EST
    that before from you.

    Whether it is valid or not, I begin to find it a bit tiresome to read it in response to every post on the economy.

    Of course you have every right to write that comment as often as you like but I thought you might want to know how at least one reader of the comment is reacting to it.


    Glad you noticed (none / 0) (#5)
    by SOS on Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 05:58:21 PM EST
    At least someone did.

    like Obama wanting to push (none / 0) (#25)
    by of1000Kings on Sun Mar 08, 2009 at 09:41:28 PM EST
    green technology?

    I know there can't be any free-market people left after the last year or so of failure...


    I'm frustrated. (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by lilburro on Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 06:40:37 PM EST
    The FDR model - "now make me do it" - is not evident in the Obama administration.  Maybe this is just the way they are going about nationalization - being absolutely sure it is supported by the public before they do it.  

    But for the most part I'm getting from them "triangulation" more than "make me do it."  We know Obama is a powerful speaker, and he could give people a vision of this bank nationalization process if he wanted to.  He could try, but that's not the game being played now.  He's not out there giving FDR speeches.  Though he is able.

    Instead of new solutions, Geithner is constantly out there reassuring us not much will change, capitalism is wonderful, private hands are wonderful, etc.  We could have someone open to new ideas, but now it looks like Geithner is either going to be upheld or slip under a bus.  Triangulation model, no?

    Triangulation for sure (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by lambert on Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 07:29:36 PM EST
    Quelle surprise.

    All that means is that we've got to pull as hard on our apex of the triangle as possible.


    Labeling troubles (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Donna Z on Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 07:29:00 PM EST
    We have a "right" that is rarely if ever right. And then we have what the teevee tells me is the left. Except in many cases those currently being labeled "left" actually get things right.

    I would like to see a move to change those labels to "people who have a record of being right" and "people who consistently get things wrong." Why are we hearing so much yapping from that damn Tom Delay? And why aren't we hearing and empowering the people who get things right...the first time? Why ask the very people who created this mess what to do now? That goes for Timmeh too.

    Telling Main Street you can't wait to help them, when you left your heart on Wall Street, makes for a conflict of interests.

    The Best Argument Against Nationalization (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by kidneystones on Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 08:24:29 PM EST
    came from someone who supported HRC in the primary and Obama in the election. He claims that no matter the merits of the argument, the political class of the centre-right in both parties will resist nationalization for any number of reasons.

    I support nationalization (temporary) if only to ensure that forensic accountants can get hold of the relevant data. That doesn't mean the capitalist class has to stand still. But it does mean that all new business is conducted under newer, more stringent regulations.

    The new administration had a brief window to bring about real substantive change. That window is closing and the more Dems work to ensure stability, the more Dem policies look like more of the same.

    Roll back the Bush tax cuts right away. Pull two combat brigades out of Iraq and inform China, Iran, India, Israel, and the PA that human rights matter. There's no reason Dems can't still make meaningful positive change. But clapping for bi-partisanship is simply something Dems and Americans can't afford to indulge in.

    It's time for a divider.

    Who is this person? T/U n/t (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by jawbone on Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 10:44:09 PM EST
    An interested spectator (none / 0) (#23)
    by kidneystones on Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 11:43:49 PM EST
    from north of the border. Plenty of folks outside America did not, dare it be said, cheer the victory of hope over experience.

    I'd prefer not to elaborate beyond that other than to say neither of us are interested in seeing America sink any lower in the eyes of the world or down the socio-economic totem pole.

    He makes a good case for the left's reflexive defense of the Obama plan and attacks the Repulican conservative right.

    We differ in that I believe the Republican conservative right, which I myself supported during the last election, was crushed with the implosion of McCain.

    Victory belonged, as it were, to the left. I waited to post anywhere until after the new President took office and make my critiques of his policies where I see them. I remain unconvinced he possesses the mettle, the intelligence, or the imagination and am eager to be proven wrong.

    I've privately made exactly the case BTD makes here, that the left are actually more confused and nut-less with Dems in office. Obama won and won with the support of the left. Indeed, without the left HRC would be President now.

    The cost of high-speed rail, energy, health, and education reform will be significantly higher than the current stimulus package allows. To their credit some Obama folks acknowledge as much.

    The problem is bipartisanship. This package should have been beefed-up to include nationalization and rammed down Republican's throats while they were still on the mat.

    With them back in the game, and Republicans at the grass-roots level looking much sparkier than their bone-headed leaders, Dems are going to face opposition from Republicans running against big government and bail-outs of both the big and small defaulter.

    Most of my American friends voted for this president and we all have money in the game. I'd like to see the administration succeed, but there's little cause for optimism so far.


    Thnx for the clarification you were able to give. (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by jawbone on Sun Mar 08, 2009 at 03:55:58 PM EST
    I don't understand (none / 0) (#26)
    by of1000Kings on Sun Mar 08, 2009 at 09:55:01 PM EST
    why republicans don't like the bailout, when in fact it is the upper tier of our society that has benefited most, or at least has been the top priority (worrying about shareholders...I know I know...401Ks and pensions and such, but these aren't the people who own large percentages of companies)...
    even if not many have benefited...

    Since I was just curious (none / 0) (#3)
    by Steve M on Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 05:52:21 PM EST
    here is the best summary of the arguments against nationalization that I have been able to find.

    The first paragraph of the article... (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by santarita on Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 08:24:11 PM EST
    that you linked to says it all.  The Feds will partially nationalize and call it something else.  In fact Bernanke, in essence, said that last week to the Senate Banking Committee.  They don't need to nationalize in order to gain effective control of the big banks.  The question is whether or not the feds are exerting that control now and if not, why not.

    Did you find that convincing? (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 05:56:21 PM EST
    Even assuming its accuracy, which I believe is quite dubious (Sheila Bair is not a lawyer), it really is not even an economic or financial argument against nationalization.

    It is a "we can't do it under current law" argument. I think she is wrong personally, but even if she is right, that is not even an argument against nationalization, it is an argument that if we want to do it, we need new laws.


    I saw it (none / 0) (#6)
    by Steve M on Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 06:06:03 PM EST
    as less of a normative argument than an explanation of why it is not happening.

    I think the logistics make for a formidable challenge, though.  Let's assume we need new laws and a new appropriation of funds in order for a nationalization of major banks to take place.

    Announcing "we want the legal authority to nationalize certain banks, I call upon Congress to pass a bill" would ratchet up the uncertainty in the financial markets by several orders of magnitude.  We would see the sort of runs on the banks that we have desperately been trying to avoid.

    Announcing "we want the authority to nationalize banks X, Y, and Z" might not be much prettier, although it seems preferable.  There's a reason why the FDIC just shows up on Friday afternoon, after all, and doesn't publicize its plans in advance.

    But is there any alternative?  It seems impossible to negotiate a bill of this magnitude in secret.  If it's not something that Treasury can do within its existing authority, getting the additional authority requires a mustering of political will that isn't going to happen easily.

    I suppose they could do like Lincoln suspending habeas corpus - just do what needs to be done, and get Congress to sign onto it later.  But wow, now we're really thinking big.


    Your assumptions seem incorrect to me (none / 0) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 06:08:33 PM EST
    But you write "a new appropriation of funds" as if only nationalization will require it.

    I do have a question for you and Sheila Bair - how did we become 80% owners of AIG?


    80% Owners? (none / 0) (#10)
    by SOS on Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 06:24:06 PM EST
    More like bag holders I suspect you already know that.

    Basically the big players are trying to transfer as much of the debt and liability on our backs as possible.


    Well (none / 0) (#11)
    by Steve M on Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 06:24:25 PM EST
    "in a negotiated transaction" is I think the answer you are looking for.

    One of the reasons AIG is "easier" than a bank nationalization is that, by and large, AIG and its personnel are still running their own affairs.  But I really shouldn't talk any more about AIG.


    I'll leave you be (none / 0) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 06:26:18 PM EST
    but if the issue is just "negotiation," well bailout money is a pretty good negotiating chip.

    Sheila Bair Has A Slug of... (none / 0) (#21)
    by santarita on Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 10:20:08 PM EST
    attorneys working at the FDIC.  If she is speaking publicly on a matter involving FDIC, she'd better be right.  If she is making this stuff up then she should be fired.

    What could explain it? (none / 0) (#7)
    by SOS on Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 06:07:46 PM EST
    They've internalized the process so thoroughly they do not even know they are mere mindless cogs in a larger and ominous corporate/state machine at this point?

    About all I can think of.

    Don't forget (none / 0) (#9)
    by SOS on Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 06:19:13 PM EST
    there are people in this country going into foreclosure that have gotten certified letters from as many as a dozen banks all claiming to own their mortgage.

    It is the biggest mess that has ever been created.

    Marcy Kaptur said... (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by lambert on Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 07:28:20 PM EST
    ... "show me the paper."

    She's right. Since all the looters also messed up their documentation, no doubt entirely by accident.


    exactly, show me the paper (none / 0) (#27)
    by of1000Kings on Sun Mar 08, 2009 at 10:10:30 PM EST
    show me the authentic documentation with my signature on it, and then we'll talk...

    I used to say the same thing to debt collectors..


    A woman came to the apt complex (none / 0) (#13)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 06:30:22 PM EST
    where I live to get an apt for her family. She got foreclosed on because she was making her mortgage payments where she was told to, but then another bank claimed they owned her mortgage, she was in arrears there, of course, and they foreclosed on her. Astonishing. I'm sure she'll be tied up in the process of getting this resolved for years.

    Another story (none / 0) (#15)
    by Donna Z on Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 07:19:24 PM EST
    A friend of mine wanted an equity loan to pay for a new heating sytem given the price of heating oil. He called his credit union where the original loan was made. Of course this call lead to another and another as he tried to track down the current holder of his mortgage. Now for the rub...the mortage holder told him that they are in the business of collecting money not loaning money.

    BTW, his house is not under water and his payments have always been paid on time. Yes, the house has built up equity, but there's no getting it now.

    He and his wife did solve the heating problem, but this was certainly a curious case.