Geithner The Incompetent

Via Atrios, Mike Konczal writes a good piece on the failures of the Obama Administration's economic team. The link to this February 2011 Pro Publica piece reminds us how Geithner failed on the homeowner crisis:

Congressional Democrats [. . .] thought cramdowns would serve as a stick, pushing banks to make modifications on their own. [. . .] Privately, administration officials were ambivalent about the idea. At a Democratic caucus meeting weeks before the House voted on a bill that included cramdown, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner “was really dismissive as to the utility of it,” said Rep. Lofgren. Larry Summers, then the president’s chief economic adviser, also expressed doubts in private meetings, she said. “He was not supportive of this.”

Fast forward to today's mess. Konczal writes:

President Barack Obama’s administration seems to be struggling with the question of whether foreclosures are a good thing or bad thing for the economy. The industry and some policy-makers contend that the housing sector has so many foreclosures to get through that the quicker we get through them, the better. If borrowers got mortgages that they didn’t deserve and couldn’t afford, the quicker these mortgages are dispensed with, the faster recovery will come. In this view, as long as the foreclosures are spaced out enough to keep pressure off the banks, letting foreclosures happen ultimately gets us back to a better economy.

But this thinking is perverse. Foreclosures have huge social costs and put pressures on an already weak market. They put disinflationary pressures on an economy that is resorting to unorthodox monetary policy to keep prices steady. Foreclosures reduce the value of neighboring properties, causing uncertainty and retrenchment by neighbors.

As properties remain abandoned, blight and crime enter. The costs of a foreclosure to a municipality, which one study estimates is around $20,000 per event if the property is abandoned, put pressure on already weak local budgets. At that rate, two foreclosures is close to a teacher’s salary. The decision not to seek a comprehensive solution to the foreclosure crisis will likely be remembered by history as being as disastrous as Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon’s infamous call to “purge the rottenness out of the system” through mass liquidation during the Great Depression.

This failure by Geithner and the entire Obama economic team is of historic proportions. Geithner's incompetence is truly the one major risk to Obama's reelection.

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    Ewwww (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 10:41:49 AM EST
    If borrowers got mortgages that they didn't deserve

    So sayeth the oligarchy.  This notion completely ignores the fact that many people were swindled into thinking they COULD afford these mortgages.  I know one case where the people were actually TOLD one payment by their lender, and then found out later that "a mistake was made".  Of course, all was after the signing, the sealing and the delivering.  Now they're in foreclosure, of course.

    Oh, (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 10:42:11 AM EST
    And this was all after investing their life savings in the down payment, of course.

    You would think, all those people (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by nycstray on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 10:58:38 AM EST
    were already "dispensed with" and those losing homes now are due to the economy being in the tank as long as it has been. Do they really think all those public employees are going to magically be able to pay their mortgage on reduced pay/unemployment?

    That's the thing... (5.00 / 4) (#14)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 12:34:57 PM EST
    We know that a lot of people are losing their homes due to unemployment and or reduced income in this economy.  We also know that every house that is abandoned in a foreclosure is a house that is not being kept up and employing various and sundry folks like plumbers, electricians, handymen, gardeners - that houses that are not being maintained are not sucking up WalMart's screws, nails, drill bits, glue, household cleaning products, etc.  The ripple effect of the housing crisis is far greater than the effects to local governments and the neighbors in the community.

    It is criminal stupidity to think that a foreclosure storm of this proportion would not seriously threaten the economy on numerous levels.


    Oh and also - this all from the (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 12:36:20 PM EST
    same rocket scientists who also thought it was prudent to ignore the unemployment crisis and "let the market take care of the problem".

    These people are fools of epic proportion.


    I can pay my mortgage on less money (1.00 / 1) (#35)
    by igotacomment on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 02:46:27 PM EST
    I work for private industry and am making less money now than before.   I still pay my mortgage and bills.  I do with less than before but I make it.

    No movies, eating out, no mag subscriptions, all those little things that eat into your mortgage payment.

    It's hard, I'd have to say impossible if you LOST your job.  These people didn't ask for this.

    When are we going to learn that the age of having everything is gone for several more years, if not forever.  The government needs to stop financing every porkbarrel project that comes along.

    A new Social Security system has to be instituted for the young aged citizen.  There will be no money for their future retirement health needs.

    No more handouts to unions.  They can pay their own retirements.  Teachers should get xxx number of dollars that they invest.  I do not need to be supporting anyone during their retirement.


    This is pure (5.00 / 4) (#53)
    by Warren Terrer on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 03:15:56 PM EST
    teabaggery. Bleh.

    and what is your position (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by Amiss on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 04:32:58 PM EST
    on the extreme retirement our "lawmakers" are receiving? and the "double dippers"? I just see teachers mentioned in your post. Would all of these incompetents be willing to give up their retirement?

    Not to mention (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by ruffian on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 01:43:14 PM EST
    that the price was inflated because everyone involved except the borrower made more money off of high risk, high dollar loans.

    I wouldn't think (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Edger on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 10:52:45 AM EST
    that any Wall Street CEO would think Geithner is incompetent, would they?

    Interestingly, I was reading that (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 12:37:39 PM EST
    companies like WalMart are getting nervous because their customers are "running out of money".  They might not all think that this plan to destroy the middle and working class was such a good idea in the end.

    Ha!... (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by kdog on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 01:08:01 PM EST
    No sh*t Waltons...look at what you pay your "associates", they qualify for food stamps.  This is news to Walmart?

    Never underestimate the power of greed I guess...our oligarchs are slaying their golden geese one after another.  Unfortunately, we shall suffer to the umpteenth power before the oligarchs feel it in the slightest.  

    On the plus side, we're used to being broke and are better equipped to survive it...the oligarchs will start jumping off skyscrapers when their net is only 10x our gross...or they'll try to bring back slavery to maintain their bloated lifestyles.


    Killing the golden goose - (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 01:13:43 PM EST
    whatever the motivation - many people are capable of such stupidity unfortunately.

    Indeed... (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by kdog on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 01:32:29 PM EST
    I call the phenomenon "smart enough to be that stupid".

    Often it is just "powerful enough". (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 03:05:13 PM EST
    No smarts required on Wall Street - not in any absolute sense - the reality is that much of what they do is dependent on luck - gambling instincts - not necessarily actual information or intellectual strategizing.  Just pure dumb luck.

    If you do (none / 0) (#34)
    by Zorba on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 02:46:25 PM EST
    get into trouble, kdog, come on down to Western Maryland.  We have a farm, all paid for, lots of wood and a wood stove, a big garden, tons of home- canned and frozen food, and we can hunt and fish.  You won't go hungry or get cold, at least.   ;-)

    Don't worry about me... (5.00 / 0) (#39)
    by kdog on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 02:51:02 PM EST
    dear Zoeba, I'm a survivor, and I won't balk at "stealing bread from the mouth of decadence", if push comes to shove.  I know where the supermarket distribution warehouses are:)

    "I just can't feed on the powerless, when my cup's already overfilled."


    I know (none / 0) (#42)
    by Zorba on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 02:52:37 PM EST
    that you're a survivor, Dog.

    You're too kind... (5.00 / 0) (#54)
    by kdog on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 03:17:13 PM EST
    and sorry I typo'd your moniker.

    Sounds like a nice sanctuary to ride out the new world order though Z, don't be surprised if I stop by...I'd earn my keep:)


    slaves to the IRS now (none / 0) (#40)
    by igotacomment on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 02:51:37 PM EST
    We're slaves to the IRS now.  Every year the day you stop paying the government and start paying yourself moves further and further to mid year.

    No argument here... (none / 0) (#49)
    by kdog on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 03:03:20 PM EST
    we're gettin' screwed on both ends, "public" and "private".

    A national mortgage strike should be coupled with a national tax revolt...remind both sets of economic rapists who butters the bread around here.


    I love (none / 0) (#58)
    by Warren Terrer on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 03:37:42 PM EST
    the truthiness of your comment.

    Oh hell no (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 04:42:44 PM EST
    He's your best friend right now.  He is the best friend any of them will ever have for the rest of their lives.  If only you and I had friends like him.

    I think I'd rather have (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by Edger on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 08:04:49 PM EST
    the friends I do have. They don't carry knives, and when they're broke they help feed each other.

    BTD, I ask you respectfully, (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by NYShooter on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 11:15:00 AM EST
     Geithner's a department store manager, like housewares at Walmart. Barack Obama's the CEO of the corporation. Unless you think Obama is a feeble minded dimwit, led around by his Machiavellian underlings, which I don't believe for a second, and I'm sure you don't either, why do you think he's not breaking some heads in the cabinet?

    In R. Rubin's memoirs he tells of the time Bill Clinton called him into the oval office and ordered him to "teach me everything I need to know about the economy." That was when he learned the famous, "bonds rule everything" meme. In any event, Rubin was incredulous at how fast and how thoroughly Clinton learned the details. And That's when, Rubin claims, Clinton took over, ran the show completely, and Rubin was relegated to assist only when needed. It was obvious Rubin was in awe of Clinton's grasp of the minutia.

    So, my point is, even if Obama's knowledge doesn't come up to Clinton's, the idea that a brilliant guy like Obama isn't in firm control, I find doubtful. And now he finds himself, probably beyond the point of no return.

    We've heard all the snark and amateur analysis a million times, What we haven't heard is, What the ef is going on?

    Are corporate profits up? (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by MO Blue on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 11:48:03 AM EST
    Are CEOs making huge salaries and bonuses? Do Congresscritters investments continue to outperformed those of the average investor by wide margins?

    The economy is working just fine for the Masters of the Universe who run the country and for those who Obama wants to invest $1 billion in his reelection.


    Here's the deal (5.00 / 5) (#19)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 01:05:48 PM EST
    the excuses about Obama's economic team remind me of the GOP talking about how W. was "mislead" by his foreign policy advisors. It's the same in both cases: the buck stops with the president whether his last name is Bush or Obama.

    Where are the signs, the whispers, (5.00 / 7) (#7)
    by Anne on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 11:45:43 AM EST
    the leaks, the rumors that Obama is displeased or dissatisfied with Geithner's stewardship of Treasury?  

    There aren't any.  None.  These two are members of the Great Minds Think Alike Club, for heaven's sake - have been since before Obama nominated Geithner for the position - that's how they knew they had a total mind-meld on the economy.  So, if you believe Geithner is incompetent, you have to believe Obama is, too.  And if "incompetent" isn't quite the right word - because it appears Geithner is doing -and doing well - what Obama wants him to do, then maybe the word you're looking for is "dangerous," because both of them have, in my opinion, done more to harm the economy - and negatively affect more lives than have been positively affected by their decisions.

    Whether he's dangerous, or wrong-headed, or elitist, or committing malpractice on the economy, Geithner's not the president - he works for Obama - so the person at whom the criticism needs to be directed is the one at the top.

    Buck's gotta stop somewhere, or so I've heard.

    Again (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 12:01:06 PM EST
    Just because I point to a specific member of the OBAMA Administration does not exonerate Obama.

    It is, after all, the OBAMA Administration.


    The buck stops with the little guy, (none / 0) (#18)
    by observed on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 01:04:18 PM EST
    or didn't you hear?

    It stops before the little guy (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 01:09:24 PM EST
    can get to it - it is floating up there  - promises of it trickling down someday soon are all the rage - but so far it is cycling continuously up amongst the super rich without coming near the little guy's grasp.

    Didn't we already (none / 0) (#37)
    by Zorba on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 02:48:25 PM EST
    go through the whole "trickle down" BS with Reagan?  You'd think that they would learn, but they never do.

    Well, the lessoned learned for (5.00 / 0) (#47)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 03:02:42 PM EST
    some are viewed through a different lens by others in some cases.  If you think that people at the top are at all disappointed that nothing of significance has actually materialized in the hands of the working and middle classes - think again!  They are thrilled that the money is staying up at the top.  Although, as I noted, some are now seeing that that cycle of keeping the money swirling at the very top is starting to threaten outfits like WalMart - because they seem to have noticed that little people have to have money in order to spend it at their stores.

    This is what I have never (none / 0) (#62)
    by Zorba on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 03:58:53 PM EST
    understood about businesses and why so many of them seem to have bought into the whole "trickle down," lower taxes, less government meme.  They're almost all selling something tangible, or they're selling services.  If people have no jobs, or cr@ppy jobs, and no money, who is going to buy the company products?    

    Well, it is always about skating right (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 04:14:58 PM EST
    at the edge of the line.  When WalMart decided to drive wages down at their stores, they probably counted on other people paying other workers wages that would support their business.  Now that everybody is driving wages down and more and more workers are being paid poorly if at all, WalMart is going to be one of the first to feel the pain.

    Henry Ford had the good sense at least to pay his workers the kind of wages that would allow them to trade in their horses and instead adopt the automobile.


    Who? nobody, of course (5.00 / 0) (#68)
    by NYShooter on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 04:17:51 PM EST
    and that's why the market dumped 300 points yesterday.

    But, as they say, "there's two sides to every story." You'll be very glad to learn, I'm sure, that a certain W.S. slug, a Mr. tepper just bought a house in the hamptons. And not just any house, but the most expensive house sold there, evah...a cool 46 mil.

    But, before you say, wow, wish I could do that, guess what. He's having it razed to the ground and building a house twice as big.

    makes your little heart go a-flutter, I bet,  that some folks, through the sweat of their brow, I'm sure, managed to side-step the Geithner economic knife through the heart.

    there ya go, Obama...saving lives one at a time.  


    Are these filthy ... (none / 0) (#93)
    by Nemi on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 06:15:48 AM EST
    ... rich guys in some sort of mutual competition!?

    Hedge Funder's $43.5M Hamptons House Is A Tear Down

    Ron Baron's new house out East is slated to be around 28,000 square feet, Ira Rennert's is an absurd 110,000 square feet, and so on. Tepper is predictably building a house that will be twice the original size.
    But hey! Mr. Tepper is actually a modest guy - or at least he used to be. [Snort]
    He raised his kids in a relatively modest home and even (gasp) enrolled his offspring in the public school system.

    It is such an attractive theory (none / 0) (#41)
    by ruffian on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 02:52:10 PM EST
    for people that love to think that the rich can just take everything and really it will be good for everyone that it has to be re-debunked every generation.

    Sounds like (none / 0) (#43)
    by Zorba on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 02:53:58 PM EST
    plutocracy to me.

    Mugsy Bogues is in the house? (none / 0) (#21)
    by Dadler on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 01:09:12 PM EST
    Obscure NBA reference of the day.  Sorry for the OT, Tent.

    But I bet Mugs would do a better job at treasury, and I'm sadly not joking.


    You only think as Geithner/Obama does... (5.00 / 4) (#9)
    by Dadler on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 12:00:02 PM EST
    ...if you are PROFOUNDLY out of touch with the everyday lives of working people -- so out of touch you lack even the humane inclination to attempt to understand. In other words, in the context of undeserving billionaires thieving an entire economy remaining untouched, you'd have to be a wretch to think a few undeserving homeowners are a problem.  You'd have to be a pathological liar, as well.

    Like Anne said, this is what Obama wants because this is what Obama thinks is best.  And THAT, on its own, is enough evidence that Obama doesn't deserve a second term.  But he'll get it, because, well, as I've been told, we just can't possibly do any better, and if we hold Obama to the fire, shoot, we'll be committing national suicide.

    As if we aren't already.

    It's not (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 01:02:13 PM EST
    just Geither's incompetence it's Obama's incompetence on the economy too. After all, Geither isn't going to be facing reelection and he serves at the pleasure of Obama.

    Well this is all we need to know, isn't it? (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by ruffian on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 01:40:50 PM EST
    In this view, as long as the foreclosures are spaced out enough to keep pressure off the banks, letting foreclosures happen ultimately gets us back to a better economy.

    to hell with the rest of the economy for the next 10 years, as long as the banks are doing well now now now!

    And to hell with the family... (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by kdog on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 01:43:06 PM EST
    on the curb with their furniture.

    In fact, the grifter set can place a bet on that awful event and make mo' money, mo' money, mo' money.


    bet is such an ugly word (none / 0) (#28)
    by ruffian on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 02:00:05 PM EST
    surely you mean 'financial product'.

    Financial product... (none / 0) (#29)
    by kdog on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 02:12:50 PM EST
    is a much uglier term...the sleaze just oozes off of it.  

    There is such a thing as an honest bet, an honest "financial product" I've yet to see.  What kind of bullsh*t newspeak term is that?

    Kind of an oxymoron really...product to me implies something tangible, with a purpose or use...a tv set, a baseball mitt, rolling papers...if it is "financial", it ain't no "product"...it's a scam.


    looking up (none / 0) (#65)
    by NYShooter on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 04:05:52 PM EST
    Justice dept about to hand down indictments vs Goldman sachs

    I will be curious to know (none / 0) (#73)
    by Amiss on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 04:44:20 PM EST
    how many are actually handed down and what others get indicted, that were involved in this mess, might as well start at the top, the very top, those that let them get away with the crimes committed. Never happen.

    This is a different paradigm (none / 0) (#77)
    by NYShooter on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 05:01:16 PM EST
    You don't get out of a criminal indictment by writing a check.

    They started with the bottom feeders, inside traders, now the  Penthouse boys. A lot of backing and filling in between.

    Obama may not be able to fix the economy, but as we saw with Bin Laden, Ole Barry always has a rabbit ready to pull out.

    (not that getting OBL was a bad thing)


    Well, I don't mean to belittle (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by observed on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 02:17:19 PM EST
    the very real problems of homeowners, but I for one would be glad if the paving over of America's arable land and wildlife areas ground to a screeching halt.
    Look, government spending in the form of housing loans and construction of roads made the suburban housing expansion possible: why not use government money to re-urbanize America---in a liveable way, in cities with open spaces and parks. Tax the rich to make it happen.

    Problem is (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 02:39:55 PM EST
    Not everyone wants to live on top of other people in high rise apartment buildings with no yards.  Ugh - who would want to live with 30 million people in New York City?

    Right...no one goes there (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by ruffian on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 02:47:51 PM EST
    It's too crowded.

    I didn't say "No one goes there" (none / 0) (#55)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 03:22:54 PM EST
    But there's 330 million people in this country -we don't all want to live like that.  

    But there's 330 million people (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by brodie on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 03:32:54 PM EST
    in this country, and we all can't live in the house with a yard.

    House and a yard has been vastly oversold in this country as it is, much as home ownership has.  

    You get the house and yard, then have to water, mow, trim, weed, etc, -- much more of a hassle and drain on energy and money than it looked originally.  

    And in areas of the country undergoing drought -- as in many parts of the west and CA, that lawn especially looks like a loser.


    Sure, but the government doesn't have (none / 0) (#81)
    by observed on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 05:54:22 PM EST
    to subsidize the alternative, the way it has done since WWII.

    No but you were wondering who would want to (none / 0) (#89)
    by ruffian on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 08:08:24 PM EST
    live there. Apparently pretty darn many or it would not be so crowded or expensive.

    I think a lot more people would live (5.00 / 3) (#56)
    by observed on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 03:27:08 PM EST
    in NYC if it were affordable. I would be there in a flash.

    I think many more people (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by brodie on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 03:41:19 PM EST
    are attracted to the idea of living in a concentrated area, where much of day-to-day living and the necessities and extras are available either through a short walk or easy mass transit.  

    Live in suburbia, you're stuck having to own a car and to drive everywhere -- often with no real mass transit option -- in addition to all the other inefficiencies.  It's also a lifestyle which tends to further isolate people from each other and doesn't foster a sense of community.

    Humans being social animals, I think instinctively they prefer to be in good social settings.  Suburbia was set up to take people out of the too-intense, too-problem plagued big cities.  But now people are realizing it's not the ideal answer either.  


    always attack, don't you watch the movies?
    Sorry, it's been a long day, couldn't help myself.

    Me. (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by oculus on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 03:51:42 PM EST
    Not me. (none / 0) (#63)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 04:01:30 PM EST
    I live in a 4 story apartment building now - that's enough.  But I dream of the day when I don't have to share walls with 4 sets of neighbors, when I don't have to hear doors slamming right outside my bedroom, or dogs running above my head. I dream of being able to open the windows because my building is not right on the street, or being able to survive without having to go to the store every other day because I have to only buy what I can carry, being able to go out in my own backyard to sit in some privacy and enjoy the fresh air, being able to leave the city behind at the end of the day - ahhhhhhhh.

    Sure, everyone likes that, but (none / 0) (#64)
    by observed on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 04:02:09 PM EST
    there's a tragedy of the commons if everyone gets it.

    You might not want to hear this... (none / 0) (#31)
    by ruffian on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 02:22:58 PM EST
    But here in Orlando, ground zero of this whole mess, with so many foreclosed homes sitting empty for years.....developers are starting to build NEW houses. According to friends in the construction industry, seems that the few people actually buying houses in this area want new houses, not the blighted ones with trashed yards and stolen copper and appliances that have been empty for so long.

    Watched them wipe out a little treed area on my way to work for the last month or so and start building model homes.


    Makes sense actually... (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by kdog on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 02:41:50 PM EST
    we threw away perfectly good used cars to encourage the wasteful purchase of shiny new ones...this is how we do.

    Insult to injury, I bet the new construction homes are using cheaper plastic pex piping for domestic water...nothing for the hard up to suburban copper mine when they sit there unsold:)


    I was wondering what happens to the houses (none / 0) (#38)
    by ruffian on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 02:49:21 PM EST
    that never get resold. Will they get demolished eventually? Maybe a little park will be created for the neighborhood?

    Stripped of all valuable scrap... (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by kdog on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 02:57:19 PM EST
    and fixtures first...then maybe some squatters move in and rebuild it.  If not, the area gets condemned as a blight and then gets bulldozed, more likely to see a new prison than a park though...priorities.

    I often dream of what would happen if the commoners ever got past our petty squabbles and stood united against the oligarchs...a national mortgage payment strike.  That's what it is gonna take, remind the bastards who pays for the yacht.  Voting sure doesn't work, and like PJ O'Rourke says, it only encourages the bastards.


    Detroit is razing houses and buildings at a (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by caseyOR on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 05:58:51 PM EST
    pretty fair clip. And in doing that, the city is creating some great green space. Urban farms, as well as backyard gardens, are starting up. Urban parks are rising out of the ruins of abandoned houses. And the ugliness of abandoned and falling down buildings is becoming a thing of the past for the Motor City.

    Detroit is far from being an ideal city. It still has a lot of problems. That said, the city's leaders and it's residents are working hard to design a Detroit that thrives.


    I read about Detroit (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by Madeline on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 10:09:27 PM EST
    and what people are doing.  It appears to a real community effort. In fact there have been a few good articles about what's going on in Detroit. Nice to read.

    Tear down (none / 0) (#74)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 04:48:03 PM EST
    There are 6 properties being torn down in my little berg! The property tax reverts to vacant property rather than improved.

    If I were in the market for a home, (none / 0) (#45)
    by Anne on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 02:59:05 PM EST
    I don't think I would want to buy an existing home with a questionable title - and I sure wouldn't want to buy one that someone else might have been fraudulently foreclosed out of; this is happening more and more, and it's just heartbreaking.

    The questions about title are going to haunt the market for a long time.


    Title insurance would handle that first problem. (none / 0) (#51)
    by tigercourse on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 03:05:37 PM EST
    People in general hate buying houses that (none / 0) (#48)
    by tigercourse on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 03:02:47 PM EST
    require any work whatsoever. Buyers want absolute move in condition. Newer houses tend to be pretty poorly built, but they still consider them better then older homes which require even the least little bit of repair.

    Surburban and rural houses are indeed (none / 0) (#52)
    by tigercourse on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 03:12:58 PM EST
    on a whole much more wastefull then urban dwellings. But one of the ecological benefits that are often overlooked for suburban and rural homes is the possibility to power these buildings using renewable systems (mainly solar) that cannot be utilized in a 30 story apartment building. You can run load up a house with enough panels to be a power producer. You cannot do the same with urban structures.

    Utilizing solar/wind power in dense urban settings (none / 0) (#79)
    by jawbone on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 05:42:40 PM EST
    requires government involvement to develop the infrastructure, zoning, negotiations for rooftop sites, coordination with existing companies, legislation to establish ground rules, etc.

    I've mentioned this previously, but an environmental scientist appearing on WNYC, NYC's public radion station, on The Leonard Lopate Show, said that if all the usable solar rooftops in NYC were utilized for solar collection that even with the less efficient photovoltaics of a few years sgo the city could supply all the electricity it needs and could also supply the surrounding metropolitan areas.

    BTW,if anyone heard this program or has any articles on this, I'd really appreciate getting a link, hard copy reference to this.

    I know I heard it; it really is so doable, albeit some Uberwealthies will want the rooftop in their buldings for gardening and patios, but, still, it's so possible.

    At the time, Bush/Cheney were in office and would not dream of aiding the little people that way. I dreamed of a Democratic president with a Democratic congress which would put these programs into action....

    Now, instead, we're facing the nightmare of runaway global warming effrects and economic stagnation where it affects the little people.

    Why, oh, why didn't we elect real Democrats!


    I'm really surprised by that scientists claim. (none / 0) (#86)
    by tigercourse on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 07:57:14 PM EST
    I tend to doubt it, but if true, that's amazing.

    Obama and Geithner have been doing what their (5.00 / 3) (#46)
    by jawbone on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 03:01:36 PM EST
    donors and benefactors have wanted the to do. It may look like failure (EPIC FAIL) from the point of view of the non-Uberwealthy, especially those who thought getting rid of Bush/Cheney and electing a Democratic president and Congress would mean they would get some help.

    But Obama does not work for us; he works for his Uberwealthy and Corporate Masters.

    And he is our finest example to date of the Neolib, Corporatist, Free-Market Loving member of the non-Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

    Interesting post from Robert Cruickshank on that:

    The bigger problem is that it is very difficult to successfully maintain a coalition in today's Democratic Party. Michael Gerson has identified something I have been arguing for some time - that the Democratic Party is actually two parties artificially melded together. I wrote about this in the California context last fall - today's Democratic Party has two wings to it. One wing is progressive, anti-corporate, and distrusts the free market. The other wing is neoliberal, pro-corporate, and trusts the free market.

    These two wings have antithetical views on many, many things. Neoliberals believe that privatization of public schools is a good idea. Progressives vow to fight that with every bone in their body. Neoliberals believe that less regulation means a healthier economy. Progressives believe that we are in a severe recession right now precisely because of less regulation. Neoliberals believe that corporate power is just fine, progressives see it as a threat to democracy.

    I know it is a good piece (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 04:35:36 PM EST
    But I can only make it halfway through right now because he keeps saying that the Obama administration is all for moral hazard and he names two economists who have good write ups talking about the good that an economic crisis does in the end.  Sure it does, it is called a correction.  They can be really painful yet beneficial, but none of this is a true correction because we bailed out one side of balance sheet and we continue to do that.

    In the old days, we could each negotiate with a bank when things were not going smoothly for us.  When I was 23, someone that I was dating way back then negotiated with his two brothers to maintain the right to clear up the back debt on one of their grandfathers ranches.  He had a couple, but he sort of lost it before he passed away and everything was in foreclosure.  He left everything to them.

    They got together and realized there was no way to save it all so they chose the one ranch with the best prospects and started negotiating with the bank to include lawyers who were slowing down the foreclosure process because of the mental state their grandfather passed in.  They did save their ranch, they got it running in the black, paid back all the back payments and whatever fees were agreed upon, ran it for a few years after that, sold it for 13 million when they wanted to do something separate with their lives for a change.

    You can't do that anymore.  It isn't a level playing field, there is no negotiating.  The banks are vampires now and nothing more.  I'll finish reading the rest later.  I feel like I'm going to have a stroke reading it though because the arguments about moral hazard are intellectually dishonest as hell.  There is only moral hazard for one side of all these deals and it is the serfs.....that's it.

    To gain fans and followers (5.00 / 0) (#78)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 05:03:55 PM EST
    You never walk into the room and declare everyone McSuckers.  I learned this from BTD :)  Now say three nice things about everyone here so they can hear you :)

    We'll have a completely different economic team (none / 0) (#5)
    by Farmboy on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 11:14:32 AM EST
    come mid January of 2013. Obama can't win re-election with the current unemployment figures.

    You're both 100% correct. (none / 0) (#10)
    by NYShooter on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 12:00:49 PM EST
    But that's old news, we know that.

    But I can't believe that where we find ourselves today, the day after a 300 point drop on the Dow and another down day today, hasn't got them scared. They were too good with their sadistic policies, and even economists learned about Marie Antoinette in college.

    You remember when they set off the first atomic bomb in the Utah (I think) desert? They were afraid the fission they started wouldn't stop, and they'd blow up the world.

    You get the analogy. What worked so far isn't working anymore.

    Mark it down... (none / 0) (#12)
    by Buckeye on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 12:10:06 PM EST
    If the economy is in the same shape or worse this time next year, and the Republican nominee is Pawlenty, Romney, or Huntsman, Obama loses.  

    Nobody will save Obama, not even Paul Ryan.

    And why isn't (5.00 / 0) (#13)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 12:18:52 PM EST
    Hilda Solis more visible?  Jobs, jobs, jobs should be the mantra, so one would think the Labor Secretary would also be front and center (but I forgot - we are talking about Rep. Weiner's, uh, wiener).

    Stuff like this isn't good...

    Psssh. That's the sound of the air being sucked out of the job recovery.

    All eyes in the financial world are on the government's monthly labor report due Friday, hoping to see that the job market continued to grow in May.

    But after several indicators pointed to a recent slowdown in job growth, the glass is now looking closer to empty than full.

    "You could call it a soft patch, but it's the second or third soft patch we've seen in the recovery," said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist with Capital Economics. "For a recovery that is less than two years old, it's troubling to say the least."

    While the job recovery has -- let's face it -- been far from robust, it had at least shown some improvement earlier this year. For three months straight, the U.S. economy has added more than 200,000 jobs per month.

    But more recent data, including two labor reports released Wednesday, show that momentum has since slowed.

    This fellow is such a handy (none / 0) (#61)
    by oculus on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 03:52:33 PM EST
    punching bag.  

    He deserves every punch (none / 0) (#71)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 04:37:41 PM EST
    Makes me so pissed (none / 0) (#75)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 04:48:20 PM EST
    I just want to be a squatter in this house.  Geithner can piss off.  My husband is guaranteed his retirement now, my dad was a contractor, I'm no expert but by God I can figure it out I've had enough exposure.  I'll build my own damned house from the ground and I won't owe a damned dime on it.  I hate these people.  They are wicked.  They are evil.

    Hhhmmm -- 1937 is when FDR decided to follow the (none / 0) (#80)
    by jawbone on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 05:50:21 PM EST
    advice of the banksters and work to pay off the debt instead of pay to rebuild the economy. That led the 1938 big dip, when the economy went back into depression.

    FDR realized that and began to again fund the stimuls and programs to rebuild the economy.

    Obama never even started to do what FDR did; Obama will not realize his mistake, now in 2011 or 2012.

    So, Obama may be getting his downturn, a second dip in the long recession/depression, during 2012.

    FDR had time to rebuild public confidence once he saw the error of his going to austerity too soon; Obama won't have that time or inclination.  The voters knew what FDR had done for them and he had tremendous goodwill from the public (if not his own class who viewed him as a Traitor to His Class); Obama...has voters who think he's somewhat less bad than most Republicans....

    Ought to be an interesting election year.

    Obama should have the same (none / 0) (#84)
    by brodie on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 06:58:11 PM EST
    time in 2011-2, roughly, that FDR had in 37-8, to right the ship.  Roosevelt had it for the reasons you state, plus the public probably being disinclined so soon after Hoover to go back to discredited Republican rule and policies.  Today the public still remembers Obama inherited this mess just as FDR did from the GOP, and public polls suggest they are not eager to embrace the Republican plan of cutting taxes for the rich and corporations as the simple solution to a complicated problem.

    So, in the vein of history rhyming rather than repeating itself, I see Obama currently stuck in FDR 1937 mode -- seeming to be uncertain what to do, being advised by some in his inner circle to stay the course and allow market forces to work, or even take a tougher budget-cutting approach, with a few advocating for a return to his first-term aggressive spending.  FDR, we should note, actually took a long time -- many months in 1937, and longer -- to recognize what was happening and return to "Keynesian" deficit spending.  He seemed reluctant and hesitated to act boldly -- much as Obama appears to many as puzzlingly stuck and almost indifferent to what is going on.  But he may just be flummoxed, or caught betwixt and between competing sets of advisers or competing inner instincts, as Roosevelt was.

    It may well be we see a sort of rhyme this year of the 1937-8 recession w/n a depression with a double-dip Obama recession.  FDR didn't fully come to his economic senses until the spring of 1938, as  he faced the sobering prospect of even worse economic news if he did nothing.  But we're also a full 6 months before the start of primary voting for the other party, and that's plenty of time for Obama to wake up and begin to boldly use the powers of his office to jump-start the job situation, or at least advocate for same.  

    He probably has even a few more months after that to do the right thing.  Being as politically ambitious as he is, I suspect he'll finally act before it's too late.  Meanwhile, as for his GOP opponent ... well, take a look at their field .. the ones currently running or even the ones being lobbied to run.  Obama has a history of being lucky with his opponents, and next year is shaping up to be no different.


    You (none / 0) (#87)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 08:01:18 PM EST
    seem to have a lot more faith in Obama than most people. I haven't seen anything that Obama has done economically as really positive. The stimulus being much too short and too tax cut heavy has allowed the GOP to start screaming that it's a failure and you know as well as I do that there will not be another one.

    If it's faith it's not (none / 0) (#91)
    by brodie on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 10:20:13 PM EST
    of the Obama kool aid drinking type, but a more narrow slightly cynical one, which I noted above:  that is, a faith that he's an ambitious pol who is inclined -- whatever his views might be about economics and the Chicago School and free markets, etc -- is likely to be highly motivated to do what is necessary to get re-elected.  And he's easily smart enough to know that an economy still in the doldrums by this time a year from now will seriously put in jeopardy his chances in November.

    As for his economic moves to date, there's no disagreement that it's been too inadequate, too half-measured and cautious to do the job.

    I just suspect however that eventually, like FDR who spent months seeming like a deer stuck in the headlights, Obama will feel the political pressure and change course.  Perhaps that's the partisan Dem in me speaking, and he'll finish out passively allowing the economy and GOP to dictate his political destiny.  I doubt it however.


    Well (none / 0) (#92)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 04:35:34 AM EST
    time is getting short for that. There is going to have to be something that creates a heck of a lot of jobs in the next 18 months for Obama to get reelected.

    remember John McCain (none / 0) (#83)
    by loveed on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 06:15:21 PM EST
     wanted to buy up all the toxic home loans at the price of 300 billions.
      He was ignored,

    Getting off cheap back then (none / 0) (#85)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 07:16:18 PM EST
    But then the people would have been much safer, and Wall Street would have still been screwed and crashing wildly, blindly, jonesing.  We couldn't have THAT moral hazard.