When David Gregory suggested Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has had a "bumpy ride" on Meet The Press, it seemed to be somewhat of an understatement.
However, while the president declared on Jay Leno that he thought Geithner was doing an "outstanding job" others have called for his head. Of course this is to be expected, however a deeper concern is that while commentators such as Paul Krugman have highlighted the similarities in Geithner's plan to his predecessors what few have really examined is to what extent there is no strategic overview based on a comprehensive outline with clear objectives and understanding.
This is because, it seems, nobody seems to really understand what is going on. It may well be that there are "no quick fixes" as President Obama has argued, however we seem to be lacking coherent political clarity and the entire discussion is illustrative of the degeneration of analysis in economics and history.
In the Age of TINA (There Is No Alternative) to the market, as Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan reminded us, the resultant paucity of creative suggestions and innovative thinking about how we deal with our economic situation is astonishing.
When Gregory asked Geithner why now everybody was declaring how angry they were, but surely someone could have said something -- or done something -- earlier, Geithner looked like a naughty school boy whose only refrain was to respond "how could anybody not be angry?"-- and then say that there were "no good choices".
Many have blamed bankers and the commercial world recently -- yet politicians have not been held accountable for their lack of leadership. But blaming the bankers is superficial and misses the point. We need a discussion about how the western economies have been transformed to manufacturers in to a credit driven society -- and simply attempting to "resuscitate" credit is not in any way adequate.
Senator McCain came on after Geithner to talk about "generational debt" while Geithner said we need a "sustainable recovery" that would lead us to be able to prevent these boom and bust cycles from happening again. This is a fallacy as it ignores the history of the market and speaks volumes about the ignorance of how it works.
We are facing serious problems that are severely impacting ordinary people's lives around the world and empty platitudes will never be sufficient to resolve anything. What we need is an honest debate about how we can understand the reality of what we are faced with, which is the precondition for any real change. This is a debate that citizens need to be involved with and a part of.
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