Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, December 14, 2009

Pretty Please With TARP Funds On Top

Larry Summers, the director of the White House’s National Economic Council and President Obama's top economic adviser, appeared on ABC's This Week to explain how the administration plans to get banks lending money again.

They're going to beg them by saying "Please lend money, please, please, please!!!!"

Mr. Summers, Secretary of the Treasury at the end of the Clinton administration, said that “it doesn’t cost anything to encourage banks, as the president will be doing, to meet their responsibilities and expand the flow of credit to small business.” He said the president will remind the bankers of what the federal government did to bail out banks when they were in trouble, “that no major bank would be intact, would be in a position to pay bonuses, if that extraordinary support had not been provided.”

The president, he said, “will be talking with them about what they can do to support enhanced lending to customers across the country.”

”We were there for them and the banks need to do everything they can to be sure they’re there for customers across this country,” he said.

Seriously - that's the plan. We were there for you banksters, now you better be there for us by opening up the coffers and lending to consumers and small businesses again.

Gee, that should work.

Never mind that this administration has done everything in it's power to make sure that the banksters (those politically connected ones, at any rate) got 100 cents to the dollar "owed" to them by AIG, that they have bent over backwards to keep Ben Bernanke printing the money presses at the Federal Reserve night and day to provide liquidity for the big banks, that they have kept "Too Big To Fail" institutions like Citigroup and Bank of America and AIG on life support after they speculated on high risk investments, the best they can do to get banks lending again is to beg them.

No wonder the financial institution people treat Obama with contempt and scorn. If that's the best he can do to them after near financial collapse and trillion dollar bailouts last year, then he deserves to be treated with contempt and scorn.

Now compare how Obama and his merry men treat incompetent banksters and failed financial institutions with how they treat schools they declare "failing" and teachers they say are "bad."

What we hear from President Accountability and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is that failing schools need to be closed, never mind that the causes behind these supposed "failures" may have nothing to do with how good the teachers and administrators in those schools are but stem from larger socio-economic problems like entrenched generational poverty and family dysfunctions like alcoholism and addiction or more mundane problems like large class sizes and few resources.

We also hear from Obama and Duncan how bad teachers need to be fired, never mind that these teachers may have been doing just fine a few years ago before their schools were handed hundreds of "at risk" students with low test scores and troubling graduation rates from other schools that have been closed.

I guess Obama and company suffer from the same fetish so many in America suffer from - that is, the businessman fetish. No matter what happens, the businessman must always be listened to, the businessman always knows best, because he's a, you know, businessman.

Years ago, I used to listen to WFAN, the all-talk radio station, and at least a dozen times a day some know-nothing loud mouth from Jersey or Queens would call to say this is what the Yankees or Mets need to do with the line-up or the pitching staff or whatever. And when the host would say, "What you're saying is stupid and idiotic and makes no practical sense," the callers would say "Hey, I know what I'm talking about. I'm a businessman who runs a __________ business and what works in my place will work for the Yankees. What do you know, you're just a radio DJ!!! I'm a businessman!!!!"

So now some of these same idiots who call sports radio to offer their "business expertise" to their favorite teams are now telling professional educators with actual experience with actual students (usually about 340 a year) in an actual classroom how to educate children. And the rest of us, rather than pointing out the dismal record of business and businessmen in general the past 15 years (think Tech Bubble, think Enron, think Housing Bubble, think 2008 financial collapse, think Bernie Madoff) and noting how they ought to clean up their own messes before creating more of them in other areas of the public sphere, allow these know-nothing loud mouths and their allies in government and the press to call public education "failed."

And of course so much of it starts at the top, where President Accountability lectures teachers about what a bad job they're doing while he rewards the failed financial institutions and the incompetent and/or corrupt banksters who run them by handing them trillions and then begging them to lend some of it out.


  1. Excellent post.

    It should also be pointed out that Obama never attended public school, nor does he send his daughters to them. Duncan sends his kids to the schools in Arlington, Virginia. I guess it's OK to laud Michelle Rhee while sending other people's children to the schools she's energetically destroying, but not your own.

    Then again, what should we expect from someone who taught at the University of Chicago, ideological home of privatization?

  2. Thanks, Michael. Great points about where Duncan and Obama send their kids to school. Great point too about where Obama attended school himself as well. Where does Rhee send her kids (she's got two, I believe)?