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Bobo the Economic Marriage Counselor


David Brooks’ motto is, "The less you know about something, the louder you should say it." Today, he shouts about Tim Geithner’s “stay the course” big bank bailout plan. Here are my translations of a few of his Rovian misdescriptions:

It’s no fun being a leader in a financial crisis.
How would Mr. Brooks know?

Geithner’s plan is huge but also disciplined.
Mr. Brooks, I gather, is commenting on Mr. Geithner’s plan, not his physiognomy or habits.

Geithner has been working the financial meltdown for a while.
He’s part of the problem.

But the big uncertainty is not inside the banks; it’s in the broader economic climate.
We know big banks and private equity firms are corrupt. They fund the GOP; we don’t want to change that.

[T]he government doesn’t need to go in and nationalize the banks. “It’s very important that we don’t look like there’s any intent of taking over or managing banks. Governments are terrible managers of bad assets…”
Unlike GM, Delphi, Lehman, Merrill, Citi, Enron, Global Crossing and AIG, stellar managers all.

Nor does government need to lop off the head of every C.E.O. Geithner…clearly leans against those who want a reign of terror.
Bobo equates firing criminal or incompetent and hopelessly greedy CEO’s with beheading by guillotine thousands of French aristocrats. A Freudian slip.

To rebuild goodwill, Geithner’s program is designed to be reasonably simple and transparent.
Goodwill lost by Bobo’s King George, whose plan was simple and secretive: give Wall Street the key to the Treasury and turn the lights out. Geithner is OK leaving the lights on.

As for the eventual costs, they are postponed.
Pretty much how the government buys drugs and most other things, but not Main Street. Geithner is following Bush Management Practices 101. A NonChange we can’t believe in.

The…policy is…unfolding. [I]t is designed to fit the crisis, not a prefab agenda. Geithner…at least he seems to be running against his natural instincts. If we’re going to have a finance czar, he should at least dislike the role.

Bobo’s almost Jesuitical view, apparently, is that if there must be sex, let it be between only married but divorcing couples. The odds of it being done well or respectfully are low. That it will needlessly hurt is assured.

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