The Geithner Treasury plan for rescuing the banking system (more here) is getting panned on both sides of the aisle for being excessively vague.
Tim Geithner reveals that the Treasury has a plan to fix the problems in our broken capital markets by . . . er . . . fixing them.
The Wall Street Journal adds that “critical details of the plan remained unanswered, despite the weeks of planning leading up to Tuesday’s announcement.” Plan? That’s not a plan, it’s a fervent wish.
An old joke from my younger days: What do you get when you cross a Godfather with a deconstructionist? Someone who makes you an offer you can’t understand.
I found myself remembering that joke when trying to make sense of the Geithner financial rescue plan. It’s really not clear what the plan means; there’s an interpretation that makes it not too bad, but it’s not clear if that’s the right interpretation.
The whole thing reminds me of a quip from Luc Ferry and Alain Renault who said that, “the greatest achievement of the thinkers of the Sixties was to convince their audience that incomprehensibility was the sign of greatness.” (I think it was from La Pensee 68, but someone correct me if I am wrong.)
If you are a post-modern literarture professor, deliberate obscurity might be asset, but this man is the Secretary of the Treasury for Heaven’s sake! One would think that someone of political acumen in the Obama administration might have informed Geithner that the public wants explicit details. After 8 years of the Bush administration saying, “We’ve got it under control,” when they manifestly didn’t, we want you to explain in minute detail what you intend to do.
One also hopes that this plan isn’t based on the vain hope that private organizations will buy bad securities from the goodness of their hearts.
This sort of vague allusion isn’t going to cut it, and I hope they rectify it sooner rather than later.
Hat-tip: Marginal Revolution