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January 22, 2009 5:39 PM   Subscribe

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank gave a bank, whose capital ratio equaled only 1.88% of assets at the bank, versus a desired level of about 6%, TARP money after heavy lobbying. Frank inserted into the bill a provision to give special consideration to banks that had less than $1 billion of assets, had been well-capitalized as of June 30, served low- and moderate-income areas, and had taken a capital hit in the federal seizure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (WSJ link)

In other news, Merrill disclosed compensation and benefits expenses of $15 billion for 2008, down 6 percent from 2007. That number includes salaries, benefits, retirement payments, commissions for financial advisers and severance for laid-off employees.

Bank of America, which has four times as many employees, reported $18.4 billion in personnel expenses in 2008, down slightly from 2007.
~ Charlotte Observer

Merrill, through John Thain, former CEO of Merrill and who recently resigned from BofA (this morning), paid this bonus to his employees in December as opposed to January (a highly unorthodox move), just prior to the deal's consummation (as he was still CEO). Meanwhile, BofA, in a memo earlier this month, Lewis said the bank has “significantly reduced the targets for yearend compensation,” with higher-ranking employees taking the bigger reductions. Lewis has recommended that he and his top reports not receive bonuses for 2008.

In other news, regional banks, once thought to be spared from the worst credit losses, have shown mixed results.
posted by SeizeTheDay (92 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Bacon, bringing it home.
posted by caddis at 5:54 PM on January 22, 2009


This illustrates why nationalization of anything is wrong. Not because it is economically unsound, but because it will immediately be subject to corruption and cronyism. The TARP program is barely 3 months old and already it is corrupt. The criteria of which banks live and die is based on who in Washington they know. It should be obvious to anyone, for example, that Goldman Sachs is protected.

And recall that the purpose of TARP was to buy the loans, not the banks. The moment no one stood up to complain about using the money to buy the banks themselves, they people in charge naturally assumed that the money was theirs to do with as they please.

This will be an interesting test of the new Treasury Secretary (and President).
posted by Pastabagel at 5:58 PM on January 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


Well, look at the good side: Just as Mr. Paulson said, by giving money to these guys the credit crisis was contained and didn't spread to other parts of the economy, we completely avoided a recession, and the economy is booming again!
posted by qvantamon at 6:04 PM on January 22, 2009


Everyone jeers at Ayn Rand [see thread downpage] but her portrait of government draining the last economic blood from the country to feed its corporate parasites at the end of Atlas Shrugged seems uncannily similar to what we're seeing now.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:13 PM on January 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


This illustrates why nationalization of anything is wrong. Not because it is economically unsound, but because it will immediately be subject to corruption and cronyism.

If only it was possible to somehow place rules, regulation, and oversight on how that money was used!

If only.
posted by absalom at 6:28 PM on January 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


And recall that the purpose of TARP was to buy the loans, not the banks.

I also recall many people being howling mad about that, and demanding that the taxpayers get something other than melted down assets for their dumptrucks full of money.
posted by absalom at 6:30 PM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Isn't a TARP what serial killers put down so that the blood doesn't get on the furniture and floor? Because I'm starting to think the country is what's bleeding.
posted by The World Famous at 6:35 PM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Everyone jeers at Ayn Rand [see thread downpage] but her portrait of government draining the last economic blood from the country to feed its corporate parasites at the end of Atlas Shrugged seems uncannily similar to what we're seeing now.

Except in the real world version the supposed "capitalist heroes" are the ones lobbying for government money.
posted by Saxon Kane at 6:35 PM on January 22, 2009 [24 favorites]


It's kind of like... unspecific-financial-news-where-everyone's-guilty filter.
posted by markkraft at 6:39 PM on January 22, 2009


Didn't Sweden buy all their banks to save themselves from a housing bubble that collapsed? I think they then re-privatized the banks after the calamity had passed and made oodles of profit for their taxpayers on the deal. I was sorta hoping that's what we'd do here too, because, well, oodles of profit for the taxpayers sounds kinda nice. But I guess we're just gonna buy bad paper instead. Somehow I doubt that works out as well.
posted by jamstigator at 6:47 PM on January 22, 2009


unspecific-financial-news-where-everyone's-guilty filter.

Oddly, I spent the entire day glass-eyed, wandering through the hallways thinking exactly that.

I just felt sick to my stomach, knowing that EVERYONE is in on it.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 6:48 PM on January 22, 2009


In both articles, they specifically state that OneUnited had enough assets before the Federal Government seized Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. I don't see what the outcry is about rescuing a bank that was specifically hurt by earlier financial bailout attempts. It's one thing to criticize OneUnited for being greedy, but it's another to blast Frank as corrupt and a crony. The amendment Frank inserted seems perfectly reasonable way to compensate for banks that had been negatively affected by earlier efforts.
posted by herda05 at 7:17 PM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Coincidentally, I just finished reading an intruiging profile of Barney Frank recently published in The New Yorker. It'll make you fall in love with the guy too, if you haven't already. I particularly liked this passage:
Frank allows his colleagues to speak briefly before a hearing, and, on October 21st, Scott Garrett, a conservative Republican from New Jersey, used his time to attack Frank—in particular, his claim that he had anticipated the crisis.

“Before we are able to go forward with new and important changes to the over-all regulatory structure for our financial-services industry, I do believe that it is essential that we better understand just how we got into this problem,” Garrett said. “Now, one of the main parts of the problem was poor regulation in the past, specifically in the area of Fannie and Freddie.” According to Garrett, “our distinguished chairman” had no right “to claim the mantle of being a champion of reform with Fannie and Freddie.” On the contrary, Garrett argued, he and other Republicans had wanted to “raise the capital levels, to reduce the retained portfolios, to lower the conforming loan limits.”

At the hearing, Frank responded testily to Garrett. “The purpose of this hearing was to be forward-looking,” he began. “And I had hoped we could focus on that. But, after the gentleman from New Jersey’s comments in having decried partisanship, he then practiced it. It does seem to me to be important to set the record clearly before us.” Frank pointed out that when Garrett had attempted to tighten regulations on Fannie and Freddie, Republicans had controlled the House. “Had a Republican majority been in favor of passing that bill, they would have done it,” Frank said. “Now he has claimed that it was we Democrats—myself—who blocked things. The number of occasions on which either Newt Gingrich or Tom DeLay consulted me about the specifics of legislation are far fewer than the gentleman from New Jersey seems to think.

“I will acknowledge that during the twelve years of Republican rule I was unable to stop them from impeaching Bill Clinton,” Frank went on. “I was unable to stop them from interfering in Terri Schiavo’s husband’s affairs. I was unable to stop their irresponsible tax cuts, the war in Iraq, and a Patriot Act that did not include civil liberties.” In other words, Frank insisted, if the Republicans had wanted to try to prevent the mortgage crisis, they would have had plenty of opportunities to do so.
Not everyone's hands are dirty.

This reminds me that I need to check on Iceland, though. How far into savagery have they descended since October?
posted by cirocco at 7:24 PM on January 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


I just felt sick to my stomach, knowing that EVERYONE is in on it.

oh, spare me the false equivalence. shorter your post: OMG A SHOPLIFTER TOOK SOME CANDY (more inside) also, fort knox was robbed of all its gold.
posted by Hat Maui at 7:26 PM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


This illustrates why nationalization of anything is wrong. Not because it is economically unsound, but because it will immediately be subject to corruption and cronyism.

No, this is why secrets are wrong.

The asshole who spent 1.2 million redecorating his office while his bank went bankrupt got away with it because it was a secret. The assholes who took TARP money and paid it out in bonuses to failed executives got away with it because it was a secret.

One of my few hopes for your next government is that it is run openly. Privacy begins where the money becomes private. When it is paid out to a worker or a privately-owned business. If you are taking money from the government, your corporate accounts become a wholly open book. You don't spend a dollar without citizens knowing how it was spent. That way you don't have a company spend 25% of its debt on paying bonuses!

I believe stockholders should probably demand the same real-time transparency. Douchebag redecorated his office before TARP funds were around, so the public->private transparency rule wouldn't have applied. But if his stockholders had known that he was pissing millions on a fancy wooden-legged commode, they'd have had his balls for breakfast.

About 90% of us are being completely fucked over and it is time that we realized that we do have the numbers to force change. The new aristocracy can be killed in its infancy.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:29 PM on January 22, 2009 [11 favorites]


It's worth noting that OneUnited is an African-American owned bank, of which there are few, and that it was not particularly exposed to the same liabilities as most of the banks receiving TARP funds. Indeed, instead of being in too deep with mortgage-backed securities and other derivatives, it got hammered when Fannie and Freddie fell. One could argue that letting them fall is like robbing the grasshopper to bail out the ant. Specifically the black grasshopper to bail out the overwhelmingly white ants. Doesn't excuse their compensation problems, but again, when Merrill Lynch's CEO spends $1.22 million to renovate his office while losing $15 million in a quarter, it's hard to get mad over a Porsche.

But hey, don't let the facts get in the way of hating on a gay congressman.
posted by allen.spaulding at 7:32 PM on January 22, 2009


The FPP is incorrect. Barney Frank didn't give any specific bank TARP funds. Only the Sec of Treasury can give out TARP funds. He can ask for consideration, he can lobby for banks in his home state and district, but he has no power to grant TARP funds. To say he did is factually incorrect and merely trying to spin.
Furthermore, I would think that we'd want to make sure that the TARP funds helped out community banks that provided services to poor / moderate income areas and were killed by the Fannie/Freddie collapse; rather than simply pouring money into the larger institutions.
Finally, so the bank president got to roll around in the company Porsche and condo in Santa Monica, big deal. That is a venial sin at best and conflating it with the 3 billion dollar plundering of Merrill Lynch is simple sophistry. There is no evidence that Frank knew about the regulatory issues at the bank or intervened in any way other than to try to help out what appeared on the surface to be an innocent bystander and constituent.
posted by humanfont at 7:32 PM on January 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


wait, I got the ant and the grasshopper wrong. damnit. It's like robbing the ant to bail out the grasshopper.
posted by allen.spaulding at 7:32 PM on January 22, 2009


I'm not sure if there's supposed to be a guilt-by-association thing going with the FPP. I sorta fell that the poster wants me to be outraged that Barney Frank made a special provision for what appears to have been a competent bank. One of the banks that got taken out by shrapnel, not one of the banks that was a bomb.

I'd want to know a lot more before making a judgement on Frank's actions. It does seem to me that at the face of it, helping good banks is better than helping bad banks, and thus this is an appropriate use of TARP money, even if the means to accomplishing it seems two-faced or unsavory.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:35 PM on January 22, 2009


five fresh fish - this is just a hatchet job on a competent congressman almost certainly motivated by some combination of extreme ignorance, homophobia, and misplaced anger. DTMFFPP.
posted by allen.spaulding at 7:42 PM on January 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


herda05, I'm really not sure how you could think that Frank's hands are clean here. The Journal's story was pretty explicit:

OneUnited had seen most of its capital evaporate. Moreover, it was under attack from its regulators for allegations of poor lending practices and executive-pay abuses, including owning a Porsche for its executives' use.

...

And later, he acknowledges, he spoke to regulators urging that OneUnited be considered for a cash injection.

...

The moves left OneUnited's capital badly depleted. A measure called "Tier 1 risk-based capital" equaled only 1.88% of assets at the bank, versus a desired level of about 6%.


Bottom line was: this was a failed bank. The program was never designed to support failing institutions. It was meant to inject capital into healthy banks. Further, Frank abused his authority by not publicly disclosing this influence (as he basically single-handedly saved this bank).

I don't see what the outcry is about rescuing a bank that was specifically hurt by earlier financial bailout attempts.

Fannie and Freddie were undercapitalized, virtually failed institutions. Had the Fed let both GSEs go bankrupt, the preferred shares would have been worthless anyway. Frank knows that. Most people in the business know that. On a capital structure, preferred are second from the bottom, and given Fannie and Freddie's losses, sub debt (which is ahead of preferreds) would've been lucky to recover par.

But hey, don't let the facts get in the way of hating on a gay congressman.
...
this is just a hatchet job on a competent congressman almost certainly motivated by some combination of extreme ignorance, homophobia, and misplaced anger.


Calling me a homophobe is below the belt, and WAY off.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 7:45 PM on January 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


You're putting the rabbit into the hat when you say this was a "failed" bank. Citibank and JP Morgan "failed" too and they got $25 billion. See how I did that?. Everyone knew that Fannie and Freddy they were implicitly backed by the government and the idea that the preferred shares would have been worthless seems to be a stretch. You think OneUnited was the only bank to believe in this federal backing? You don't think many of the hundreds of banks above them on the list had shares too? The way the government bailed out Fannie and Freddie was merely one policy choice among many and it benefited certain banks and the expense of others. Remedying some of that harm, especially when those hurt are small African-American banks which did engage in risky lending, hardly seems like it's worth the scorn.

Call it what you will, but there's no straightforward excuse in justifying this attack on Frank.
posted by allen.spaulding at 7:51 PM on January 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


*did not. I'm full of win today.
posted by allen.spaulding at 7:53 PM on January 22, 2009


Please. Fuck Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the members of the House and Senate who voted for this farce. That our representatives can be so easily pushed into signing this crap legislation is beyond sad, it's pathetic. Finance put a gun to the government's head (multiple times over last year), and without even reading or understanding any of it, our elected members of government sign away our right to know what our money is being spent on.

I'm not purposely picking on the Dems above for any other reason apart from the fact that they were the loudest voices during the "debate" that took place last September/October over TARP.

Our elected officials have really screwed up big this time folks, and the finger pointing and blaming is going to reach crazed proportions (hell, myself included in that 'crazed' part).

And yes, as someone else said above, it's all eerily like out of Atlas Shrugged, these past few months. Sad.
posted by tgrundke at 7:56 PM on January 22, 2009


it's all eerily like out of Atlas Shrugged, these past few months. Sad.

So Atlas Shrugged is about how greedy capitalists screw up the whole country and then dump the whole mess on the government to solve?
posted by octothorpe at 8:01 PM on January 22, 2009 [8 favorites]


A large section of the book is dedicated to stories about how greedy, lazy capitalists fuck up their companies and turn to the government for help, a government who, inevitably fucks things up even more.

That's what's happening now. Everything government has done to date has made the situation significantly worse because they have failed to understand that the fundamental issue at play here is that we are in a debt/solvency crisis that cannot be fixed by pushing on the string of added liquidity. So long as government continues along this course of action the pain will be longer and more profound than it otherwise could be if we'd just drain the damned debt swamp.

The question isn't if we can avoid pain - it's whether we take a lot of pain now or a shitload of pain later. We are clearly moving along the latter path.
posted by tgrundke at 8:05 PM on January 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


The only relevance here is that this illustrates the uneven administration of TARP to date. It certainly doesn't show any pay-for-play deal by Frank. The wording may have circumscribed OneUnited, but must also describe other banks. It was required to raise 66% more money from its shareholders than it got from TARP, and it did. There are some hinky savings-and-loan type of management practices, apparently, but that doesn't seem to be a beach house or a Porsche for Barney Frank. That's more like how Madoff's Ponzi scheme was uncovered by the credit crunch, to the extent anything was actually illegal.

The fact that the bank was poorly regulated reflects on the regulatory climate of the last eight years, not Barney Frank. The fact that the bank received money from TARP reflects on the opacity of the administration of that program, not Barney Frank.

Maybe Frank should be more careful for whom he lobbies, but this is really more about TARP than about OneUnited or Frank.
posted by dhartung at 8:08 PM on January 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Dear everyone, do your fucking job already.
posted by nola at 8:12 PM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's worth noting that OneUnited is an African-American owned bank

What the goddamned fuck does that have to do with anything?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:19 PM on January 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh it's worth it, say no more, say no more, know whatahmean, nudge nudge?
posted by nola at 8:26 PM on January 22, 2009


A nod's as good as a wink to a blind bat!
posted by nola at 8:26 PM on January 22, 2009


This illustrates why nationalization of anything is wrong. Not because it is economically unsound, but because it will immediately be subject to corruption and cronyism. The TARP program is barely 3 months old and already it is corrupt. The criteria of which banks live and die is based on who in Washington they know. It should be obvious to anyone, for example, that Goldman Sachs is protected.

The problem with TARP is that it does not go far enough: it does not really nationalize the banking system at all. Krugman recently articulated why TARP remains half-ass, ineffectual, and seemingly designed to fail.

We ought to be more like the Swedes on this one.

TARP is corrupt because it was a patchwork/crazy quilt and reactive way of dealing with the crisis: it was thrown together reactively and ad hoc by a corrupt administration in its waning days. It's even possible it was never designed to work.

The conclusion is not that nationalization does not work: rather, it is that Wall Street and the banking industry attempting to have their cake and eat it too does not work.
posted by ornate insect at 8:34 PM on January 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


dhartung, the problem is, Frank's connection to GSE preferreds goes way, way back. Here's one of the most (in)famous quotes of his back in 2003:

''These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis,'' said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ''The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.'' ~ NYTimes

He was basically the defacto spokesman for Fannie and Freddie becoming as large as they are now back then. So of course he feels guilty that a minority owned home state bank was about to go belly up. His own lack of oversight helped cause their ultimate demise.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 8:42 PM on January 22, 2009


An even more recent article (than the one I linked to above) on what Sweden's example might show us: Sweden’s Fix for Banks: Nationalize Them
posted by ornate insect at 8:43 PM on January 22, 2009


A large section of the book is dedicated to stories about how greedy, lazy capitalists fuck up their companies and turn to the government for help, a government who, inevitably fucks things up even more.

Your use of profanity adds nothing to your argument and demonstrates your emotional rather than rational understanding of this problem.

Everything government has done to date has made the situation significantly worse

A statement not supported by facts on the ground. As objective fact that things have not been made "significantly worse" I point to the loosening of short term credit markets. Significantly worse would have been immediate 20% unemployment, and/or a run on the banks. These were both real possibilities last fall, but we seem to have at least temporarily avoided them for now. This may happen, but we can avoid it with the right government intervention. It will require a lot of money and probably nationalizing Citi, Well Fargo, and BoA. In the long run we may face additional consequences for actions to avoid short term collapse, but then we all die in the long run anyway even Ayn Rand.
posted by humanfont at 8:55 PM on January 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


To say he did is factually incorrect and merely trying to spin.

Which is why this post should be flagged off the front page. I encourage others to do the same.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:59 PM on January 22, 2009


What the fuck is with the accusations of homophobia? Where do you see that at all? Or does Frank have a magical cloak of TEH GHEY that absorbs all other criticism directed toward him because you're a fucking retarded social liberal?

That said, there's much less here than is worth an FPP—while I have no problem keeping politicians' feet to the fire, this is agendafilter bullshit.

Finally, the TARP reminds me of nothing so much as the Iraq War—something I could grudgingly get behind in theory, but dreaded the incompetent implementation by the fucktards running the country.
posted by klangklangston at 9:18 PM on January 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


SeizeTheDay, I think allan.spaulding summed up where I was going pretty well. OneUnited wasn't failed until the Government stepped in and made the stock it held in Freddie and Fannie essentially worthless. I think TARP should compensate for that.

Lobbying isn't always nefarious and evil. It's simply a tool used to get a constituencies' point across. The problem is it doesn't scale well. Deeper pockets get more access, shutting out maybe more deserved interests. In this case, Frank could have written an amendment that said "give OneUnited a bailout". He instead inserted language to help banks in that same particular circumstance. He did lobby to help OneUnited as well, but that's not worse than any other Congressman as far as I can see, and part of his mandate as a Congressman.

Nor am I saying that Frank is guiltless in the economic meltdown, as that's another issue altogether. He definitely put this amendment in there and I think the amendment was a good one.

I also agree with the assessment that the FPP is definitely written in a way to make what Frank did appear shadier than it is. But, like I said, I think the amendment was a good thing...
posted by herda05 at 9:24 PM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Look I understand the debate over the way this post was framed, but seriously the homophobia accusations and "this post should be flagged off the front page" are censorious bullshit. Frank's an exceptionally smart congressman but he's far from immune to corruption or bad decisions. Much of the criticism seems less about whether what's being said is correct than trying to get Frank's back.
posted by Heminator at 9:33 PM on January 22, 2009


What the fuck is with the accusations of homophobia

Spare me the false sanctimony. This is a hit piece on one of three openly-gay congresspeople, defending an overwhelmingly noncontroversial distribution of $12m to the oldest African-American bank in the country, while the other $192b donated to 257 historically white banks by 532 straight (or at least not openly gay) congresspeople is not mentioned.

The far right has hated Barney Frank for having the gall to be effective, clever, and gay. Mostly the latter. This post is just a rehashing of right-wing hate speech masked as talking points without any substance. Frank is hardly blameless and I'm not a big fan of TARP, but if you think this is the kind of nonsense that counts as analytic criticism of the program, you might want to take a deep breath. Why do you think people single out Frank so often? Why was 12m out of roughly 200b already distributed worthy of this kind of attention?
posted by allen.spaulding at 9:35 PM on January 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


Oh, and this stuff about "well, this is small potatoes next to Merrill Lynch" is ridiculous. Wrong is wrong. Just because Merrill Lynch got away with it doesn't mean everyone else gets a free pass now.
posted by Heminator at 9:35 PM on January 22, 2009


This is an awesome thread.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 9:40 PM on January 22, 2009


Herminator - I agree. So why can't I find a ton of ink spilled over all the congressmen responsible for Merill Lynch's problems? Why isn't the WSJ writing about them? The choice of a scapegoat is hardly neutral here.
posted by allen.spaulding at 9:40 PM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Allen I am sure if you plowed through the WSJ's archives you could find plenty on Merrill's political influence. And Frank isn't just "one of three openly gay congressmen" -- he happens to be the head of the House Financial Services committee, so who he helps out is bound to get more scrutiny.

You shouldn't go around flinging words like "hate speech" with abandon, when occam's razor conveniently explains why the press is puts Frank under a bigger microscope.
posted by Heminator at 9:47 PM on January 22, 2009


...occam's razor conveniently explains why the press is puts Frank under a bigger microscope.

Because he's the most powerful gay in congress, and one of the most powerful more-Liberal-than-most Democrats. Period.
posted by wendell at 9:51 PM on January 22, 2009


You don't need to lecture me on Frank, I spoke with him on Monday and made clear some of my discomfort there. I don't claim to be unbiased here (nor am I a huge fan of how he has acted on TARP) but Christ, the anger directed towards him by the right is vastly disproportionate to what is deserved or what others get. Point to me one other congressman who the WSJ or Rush Limbaugh has routinely singled out. We're talking about $12 million out of $200 billion here. To the only black-owned bank getting TARP funds. For fairly above-the-board reasons. While there is massive malfeasance occurring before our eyes. Only a deep and irrational hatred could lead people to continue to harp on Frank for this, while the public coffers are being raided without comment.

Those of us on the Left who don't like him know how to contextualize. This post is as warranted as a discussion on the outrage of my jaywalking earlier. Just because others commit vehicular manslaughter doesn't mean it's ok!
posted by allen.spaulding at 9:52 PM on January 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


allen.spaulding : almost certainly motivated by some combination of extreme ignorance, homophobia,

FAIL - I would ban you for a week for that crap; luckily the mods are sleepy.
posted by caddis at 10:39 PM on January 22, 2009


Be more shouty, everyone! That will solve the economy!
posted by ook at 10:44 PM on January 22, 2009


to be fair, caddis, I think allen.spaulding is referring to the linked material, not any mefite.
posted by boo_radley at 11:25 PM on January 22, 2009


almost certainly motivated by some combination of extreme ignorance, homophobia, and misplaced anger

I don't see a damn thing about Frank's sexuality brought up before the rather non-sequitur accusations of homophobia, and that kind of casual sloppy accusation isn't just unfounded, it erodes discussion of credible instances of discrimination and threats, and overall makes it look quite a bit like right wing nuts could be correct about political correctness or gay people wanting special rights. It also makes the people throwing the accusation around look stupid, hypersensitive, or both.

Frank's heading the banking committee in a time when unprecedented public resources are being funneled into private enterprise to dubious ends. Gay, straight, bi, baa, tri, whatever, if he can't handle a little extra scrutiny and maybe even some stern accusations during this time, maybe he ought to hang it up.

If SeizeTheDay is wrong about some of the accusations, this thread's a great place to clear things up, unless it gets messed by some bullshit homophobia derail.
posted by namespan at 12:08 AM on January 23, 2009


Point to me one other congressman who the WSJ or Rush Limbaugh has routinely singled out.... Only a deep and irrational hatred could lead people to continue to harp on Frank for this

Point me to one other congressman who's on record defending FM/FM in the same way and is heading the house banking committee.
posted by namespan at 12:09 AM on January 23, 2009


This is an awesome thread.

In related news, I've trained a parakeet to scream tu quoque at its reflection.
posted by kid ichorous at 3:23 AM on January 23, 2009


TARP disbursals by bank (USA Today)
posted by kid ichorous at 3:29 AM on January 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is a hit piece on one of three openly-gay congresspeople, defending an overwhelmingly noncontroversial distribution of $12m to the oldest African-American bank in the country, while the other $192b donated to 257 historically white banks by 532 straight (or at least not openly gay) congresspeople is not mentioned.

I really wish this surprised me.

And yes, axegrindfilter.
posted by mek at 4:32 AM on January 23, 2009


The defense of Frank by people on the left because he's gay - and therefore he is hated by people on the right - strikes me as similar to how people on the right defend Sarah Palin - simply because she's hated by people on the left. The only time teh gaynezz was brought up in this thread was when someone needed to blow up an argument against Frank by saying, "leave Barney aloooone! He's super smart and awesome and the right hates that because he's a gay!" Just like during the election when people would criticize Palin and say that she's an idiot with half a brain and has the emotional maturity of a 12-year old, and all the Republicans would go, "leave Sarah alone! You just hate her cause she's hot and you're really secretly scared of her and you can't handle a powerful woman!" And everyone would just sort of shake their heads and go, "no, actually, she really is stupid." Sometimes when people are critical of Barney Frank, it has nothing to do with homophobia or catering to the fears of the far right, but simply because he did something wrong or inappropriate.
posted by billysumday at 5:26 AM on January 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


The point here is that he hasn't done anything wrong or inappropriate in proportion to the rest of Congress. Yes, the bailout has been a fiasco. Yes, we have problems. Yes, Congress as a whole is not working out the way we'd like.

However, Barney Frank is being singled out for a small bit of help he's sending to a smaller bank, and it's pretty clear that it's because he's a high-profile, easily-hated Liberal Democrat. Why is he so easily hated? Because he is openly gay. Most people aren't saying that Frank is blameless here, but rather that he's taking the heat because he's being targetted, rather than because he's been disproportionately incompetent.

Let's be frank here, people are full of hate in America. They'll lay it on thick against Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Barney Frank in a way that they'll never do to Ted Kennedy or John Kerry. People still haven't gotten over their biases, and women, homosexuals, and minorities suffer a disproportionate amount of scrutiny and criticism.

I've flagged this post, but since it's still up after 12 hours, I'm assuming it'll be staying up. It's a shame though, because it's poorly written and manipulative in such a way to make Barney Frank look like a villain and responsible for all that follows, when it's just not the case.
posted by explosion at 6:00 AM on January 23, 2009


However, Barney Frank is being singled out for a small bit of help he's sending to a smaller bank, and it's pretty clear that it's because he's a high-profile, easily-hated Liberal Democrat.

Or it could be that he's the head of the House Financial Services Committee. That might be one reason why he's under attack. Cause he's the head of the committee responsible for doling out these funds. But you're right, all this ado over where the money is going and whether or not it's appropriate and responsible and diligent is really just a smokescreen for people's homophobia.
posted by billysumday at 6:06 AM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


The defense of Frank by people on the left because he's gay - and therefore he is hated by people on the right - strikes me as similar to how people on the right defend Sarah Palin - simply because she's hated by people on the left.

Yeah, that's what this thread is missing, a Palin discussion. Thanks.
posted by mek at 6:09 AM on January 23, 2009


How to read financial posts on metafilter:

1. Go to thread
2. Click Ctrl + F
3. Type Mutant
4. Profit???
posted by spicynuts at 6:35 AM on January 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Cause he's the head of the committee responsible for doling out these funds.

Like much of this FPP and many of the comments here, this is demonstrable false. Only the secretary of the treasury can give out funds. What Frank did was propose a largely sensible amendment that affected a number of small banks. There's a long history of singling him out and I can't act surprised that a Murdoch-owned paper would throw in a jab at one of the only black-owned banks in the country while completely overlooking all the other issues at play. Christ, this is like making a giant furor over the sous-chef on the Titanic who oversalted the soup. This is not the corruption you're looking for.
posted by allen.spaulding at 6:49 AM on January 23, 2009


allen.spaulding, let me put it another way.

Ever since the implosion of the housing market and our economy at the end of last year, Republicans and conservatives have pretty consistently gone after four distinct Democratic legislators - Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd. Now, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi attract the ire of the right because they are the leaders of their respective chambers. So, why do you think the right also chose Frank and Dodd to pick on? I'll give you a hint - it's not because they're both gay.
posted by billysumday at 7:00 AM on January 23, 2009


Point me to one other congressman who's on record defending FM/FM in the same way and is heading the house banking committee.

Why shouldn't members of congress defend institutions they established that have the Federal government's implicit backing in the first place? Congress under FDR established Fannie in its current form to expand the availability of capital for home loans. For a member of congress to attack a legislatively established and supported entity on ideological grounds is reckless and irresponsible. Again, Freddie and Fannie were established by congress--they are not just ordinary "banks" as so many breathless media accounts would have you believe. They are part of the government's mechanisms for regulating the housing market and maintaining the flow of lending capital.

The only reason these institutions ran into trouble (after more than 70 years of functioning exactly as intended) is that the Democrats overextended their original function in an effort to accommodate Republicans demands that policies meant to provide for low-income housing be market-oriented: So instead of funding additional public housing programs, Clinton pressured Freddie and Fannie's to relax their lending standards in an attempt to offer a market-based approach to expanding low-income home ownership since, god knows, if you can't find a way for banks to make money off of something, it's not worth doing.

The Republicans, however, immediately saw this as an opportunity to make political hay for the Democrats. So the Republican leadership in California and Florida (the two biggest states affected by the subprime loan failures) and elsewhere relaxed state lending standards to an unprecedented degree, knowing that Freddie and Fannie would be on the hook for the eventual failure of the bad loans. In Florida alone, in a break with the regulatory requirements of the past, over 100,000 new unlicensed "loan originators" were allowed to begin making loans under Jeb Bush--of these, it's since come to light that thousands were known criminals with previous Federal fraud convictions. The Republicans wanted to embarass the Democrats for meddling in the markets to achieve their do-gooder goals of expanding low-income home ownership (all the more ironic for the fact that it was only at the Republicans insistence that the Dems had been forced to take a market-oriented approach, undermining the integrity of Freddie and Fannie in the process by lowering their previous lending standards).

Do not make the mistake of oversimplifying. These are complex, complex issues, with political ideologies, partisanship, greed and all sorts of other factors coming into play in various ways. Everyone is not equally at fault, but those who actually do deserve the brunt of the blame would sorely like to perpetuate the impression that everyone played an equal hand.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:09 AM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


why do you think the right also chose Frank and Dodd to pick on

This is a false equivalence. Here are the top six results of a Google Blog search for Frank:

YID With LID: Barney Frank The "Teflon Congressman"
ChicagoRay: Feds Must Prosecute Barney Frank (aka C. Ben Dover) NOW
TaxingTennessee: Bailout begins descent into corruption: Barney Frank
Shocker: Barney Frank Uses Bailout Money To Help Supporters ...
What On Earth Is Barney Frank Smoking? | Crooks and Liars
Barney Frank: Still A Big Fat Crook « Jane Q. Republican

Here is the same for Dodd:
Instapundit » Blog Archive » CHRIS DODD UPDATE: He’s getting flak ...
The Irony That Is Chris Dodd - CTVoter2010’s blog - RedState
Chris Dodd: A Day to Serve
Remind me again how much Chris Dodd collected from his banking ...
Chris Dodd's Open House for Those Coming From CT to DC - Stan Simpson
ChooseTheHero.com » Blog Archive » Dodd Gives Lecture On Moral ...

I know this is the least scientific way to show my point, but the vitriol directed at Frank is not only vastly disproportionate to just about anyone else, but it's not based in fact or reason. And saulgoodman is right, it seems like everyone is just buying the right-wing talking points on why Fannie and Freddie failed. This is complicated but the anger directed at Frank is not.
posted by allen.spaulding at 7:14 AM on January 23, 2009


Well, here's one bright spot for TARP transparency, at least: the inspector general for the TARP program has signaled his intention to impose new requirements forcing TARP fund recipients to track and report on what they do with any TARP funding they receive.

(Incredibly, there were no such tracking or reporting requirements at all within the plan as originally implemented under Bush.)
posted by saulgoodman at 7:41 AM on January 23, 2009


Allen, seriously -- give it up. Dodd in particular engaged in bit of obvious corruption trading his influence for a favorable mortgage. People are pissed off at congress right now, period, over the bailout. That they would be more pissed off at those currently controlling the reins of the financial legislation is perfectly understandable. There's nothing disproportionate about it.

Another way to look at it that might appease your liberal mindset is that people like Dodd and Frank are being targeted is because they are especially effective.

And again, wrong is wrong. You can argue that people need to have a more nuanced understanding about who's to blame -- but that's a separate question than whether what Frank or Dodd did in individual circumstances was correct.
posted by Heminator at 7:42 AM on January 23, 2009


The point here is that he hasn't done anything wrong or inappropriate in proportion to the rest of Congress.

This strikes at the heart of the non-derail portion of the thread. Do we judge Barney relatively or absolutely?

I think it is possible to judge him absolutely as having done a right thing. I do not see it as overly generous to interpret the caveat he wove into this as trying to help smaller banks who are failing as a result of collateral damage. From a relative perspective, sure. It's a drop in the bucket.

That is how I'd like to frame this thread so the discussion is educating us, and we can focus through the noise.
posted by butterstick at 8:08 AM on January 23, 2009


A little more background on the guy who just offered us his considered and erudite opinion.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:56 AM on January 23 [+] [!]


I don't know if that or this will get deleted or not but damn.
posted by chugg at 8:10 AM on January 23, 2009


woah there saul. I think that's a little line-crossy, in addition to being a pure ad hominem attack. Even if he puts his name in his account (assuming it's him) there's no need to make such a connection. Let him bloviate pseudononymously, there's no need to bring in Glenn Greenwald to attack his non-points.

And butterstick - there isn't much discussion here. Those who understand what's going on and what's going wrong with TARP know that One United is a non-issue. This is a very troubling mountain being made out of a much hated molehill. People like Heminator are trying to accuse the unfounded attack by claiming that it's not based in hatred. So be it, my original point was that it's either extreme ignorance or homophobia. If Heminator wants to plead to the first, he's free to go ahead.

Notice how nobody has even tried to defend the original post? These articles contain nothing more than factual inaccuracies married to wildly disproportionate responses with a very specific agenda motivating the entire process.
posted by allen.spaulding at 8:37 AM on January 23, 2009


And let me go on on record since Saul is being a prick, that Greenwald took an unfortunate joke I made way out of context. I never in million years would have gone after someone on the basis of their sexuality (I wasn't even aware of the rumors about Souter) and believe me had I thought about it for more than two seconds I certainly would have said something different to make the same point.

All that is totally irrelevant to what I've said in the thread.
posted by Heminator at 8:45 AM on January 23, 2009


Further, while my politics don't exactly match the Metafilter left-and-lefter standard, I haven't been unafraid to speak out about Republican corruption either.

With all due respect, Metafilter could use more fruitful discussions from varied perspectives without all the ad hominem. There are several people on this thread that agree with me though I doubt our politics match. I've comported myself with civility and yet this is what happens.

I don't deserve this, anyone who cares about the kind of place Metafilter should be would recognize that.
posted by Heminator at 9:01 AM on January 23, 2009


I don't see why it's crossing the line to point up the already publicly acknowledged identity of a person making a particular comment, especially not when that person is accusing others of having a left-leaning bias.

I mean, respectfully, the guy literally writes for a journal with an unapologetic right-wing slant. I wouldn't be ashamed of my identity being called out in like fashion. And if it so happened that I wrote for a magazine known for its extreme pro-left wing slant, and then went around disparaging others on the basis of their right-wing bias, it wouldn't be ad hominem if someone pointed that out to put my remarks in context.

It would be ad hominem, on the other hand, if someone said I was a flabby-ass, doughy-cheeked girly-man who only pretends to be a tough guy because he feels so shamefully inadequate as a man. Now to say something like that would be ad hominem line-crossing. But I didn't say that. I just put Heminator's aspersions about the "liberal mindset" into their proper context.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:29 AM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Saul -- I don't think that I've necessarily hidden my identity or my politics on Metafilter. Hell, there's been an FPP announcing I write for The Weekly Standard for crying out loud. And when I referred to Allen's "liberal mindset" I was simply being honest about where I was coming from.

But hey, good to see that you're repeating the same charges about me supposedly being "shamefully inadequate as a man" -- coming from Greenwald, someone who's ideas about manly virtue include using sock puppets to anonymously puff up his ego on random blogs. Or your own cowardly "But I didn't say that!" defense you your own ad hominem charges. (I see what you did there!)

Anyone who actually knows me from something other than a photograph or Greenwald's histrionics could instantly tell you why I am not at all worried about your insult flinging.
posted by Heminator at 9:42 AM on January 23, 2009


er, that should read Then there's your own cowardly...
posted by Heminator at 9:44 AM on January 23, 2009


"This is a hit piece on one of three openly-gay congresspeople, defending an overwhelmingly noncontroversial distribution of $12m to the oldest African-American bank in the country, while the other $192b donated to 257 historically white banks by 532 straight (or at least not openly gay) congresspeople is not mentioned."

Ad hominem reasoning.

Again, you're granting Frank a magic cloak of homodom which protects him from legitimate criticism, and you're arguing that the criticism is coming because he's gay. Not because he's the chairman of a committee who, despite your characterization, did author a pretty controversial amendment in order to give cash money to a constituent. That shit is pork-barrel and it's stealing from all of us.

Unless he was getting his cock sucked for this amendment, his sexuality has nothing to do with it.

So spare me YOUR sanctimony.

"I don't claim to be unbiased here (nor am I a huge fan of how he has acted on TARP) but Christ, the anger directed towards him by the right is vastly disproportionate to what is deserved or what others get."

And that's tu quoque fallacious reasoning.
posted by klangklangston at 10:00 AM on January 23, 2009


Okay, now this is getting ad hominem. My original point was just this: don't trust Heminator to be an objective judge of "liberal bias" because he has a well-known bias of his own that makes his judgments highly suspect. I should have left it at that.

As for my defense being "cowardly," I'm not exactly sure how you arrive at that particular characterization of it--you might fairly argue it was intellectually dishonest (though I don't believe it was), but as for being cowardly, I'd say it was a pretty bold line of defense. I can only think that, yet again, you're making an emotional appeal to the reader's attitudes about masculinity, rather than arguing any real point. But trust me, pal, you don't want to get in a masculinity pissing match with me.

Not because he's the chairman of a committee who, despite your characterization, did author a pretty controversial amendment in order to give cash money to a constituent.

No, as has been pointed out elsewhere upthread, Frank did no such thing: He only recommended that the money be given to institutions having characteristics like those of a constituent. The authority to grant the funding lay solely with the Treasury.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:07 AM on January 23, 2009


Why shouldn't members of congress defend institutions they established that have the Federal government's implicit backing in the first place?

It might not be so much the defense of the idea of GSEs as it was the specific quote ''These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis." Although it might be the idea of GSEs too.

There is a psy ops war going on right now over what people believe are the causes of the recent financial disaster. It doesn't matter that quote needs a 2003 context, it doesn't matter that if Frank made a mistake about this it's no different than the mistake hundreds and thousands of others of leaders in the public and vaunted private sector made about the system, it doesn't matter that the GSEs are two of many, many other companies that did things that led to the collapse, and it doesn't matter who Frank likes to have sex with. He's (a) the Democratic leader on the House banking committee, and he's (b) caught on record saying Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the boogieman of choice, along with CRA) are just fine. Given how badly the right wing market fundamentalist ideologues need the financial crisis to be about something else other than sheer private irresponsibility and markets run awry, not to mention how much the Republican party needs it to be the responsibility of the Democrats rather than their own, there's several planetary masses of more than enough motivation to tar Frank before you even get within an astronomical unit of the topic of his sexuality. Which is why bringing up his sexuality as a matter of defense first, let alone at all, looks completely idiotic and oversensitive.

I don't see anything special about the attacks on Frank or Feinstein or Pelosi, contrary to some assertions in the thread. If anything, they're getting treatment that has parity with Reid, Clinton, Carter (and yes, Ted Kennedy does indeed get hated on) and lots of other straight white male Democrats. Maybe this is a milestone. In any case, Frank defends himself with a lot more sense and style than the homophobia whiners in this thread.

I do buy to some extent the argument that the problem here is TARP itself and the uneven administration involved rather than Frank. The Democrats are going to have to do something about both the quality of administration of the program and the perception, or they're going to get stuck with an albatross that sprang from the fine minds of the Bush administration.
posted by namespan at 10:07 AM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Notice how nobody has even tried to defend the original post?

Notice how your response out of the gate was to make a wild accusation about homophobia rather than discuss the factual errors of the post?

Look at dhartung's post if you want an example of how to do right what you utterly fucked up.
posted by namespan at 10:09 AM on January 23, 2009


[Comment removed. Let's really not get into dragging offsite personal-identifier-zing shit here, and back off the accusations in general; this thread has been kind of a crap display of mefi civility so far, and it'd be great to see that turn around here.]
posted by cortex at 10:11 AM on January 23, 2009


Notice how your response out of the gate was to make a wild accusation about homophobia rather than discuss the factual errors of the post?

Untrue. My first response was to point out the inadequacies of the post and make it clear I thought the entire idea argument was so ludicrous that the only reason it makes sense is that it's part of a multi-year campaign to attack Frank specifically and independently from all the reasons why the right-wing media is trying to blame the crisis on democrats. If you really think these pieces warrants a thoughtful response, than I don't know what to tell you. This is the functional equivalence of a stormfront post that tries to blame Jew bankers and the Jew media. Seriously. If this doesn't screen crackpot upon the first read, then Murdoch may have already won.

There is no content here worth addressing. If you think there are other reasons than hatred to explain the obsessive need to attack Frank without any factual basis, then you and I can agree to disagree. There's a context in which these attacks are occuring. I know as well as you do why the form of the attack is taking what it does, why the myth of that one quotation has become a talking point to blame the whole crisis on overregulating Democrats (ha!). But as far as I can tell, why you're right about the substance of the attack, the target and venom of the attack is exogenous to the financial crisis and are better explained by the far-right's homophobia.

I haven't been explicitly accusing MeFites of homophobia. I've accused them of repeating the empty talking points of homophobes and it's entirely possible that they are too ignorant to know that's what they're doing.
posted by allen.spaulding at 10:22 AM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


wow, typos, subject-verb issues, and all sorts of confusion. cortex is right. This is truly the best of MeFi.
posted by allen.spaulding at 10:24 AM on January 23, 2009


Okay, now this is getting ad hominem. My original point was just this: don't trust Heminator to be an objective judge of "liberal bias" because he has a well-known bias of his own that makes his judgments highly suspect. I should have left it at that.

Damn right you should have. I don't think I would have had a problem with you pointing that out, though it is irrelevant as to what I've written. I'm basically on the same page Klangklangston and others whom I doubt I agree with much politically.

As for you're decision to again bring up Greenwald's patently ad hominem aspersions based on a photograph, and then creep up to the precipice before falling back on "but I didn't say that," well, sorry, that's still specious and unfair. It would be honorable and yes, manly, to admit as much. For example, when the Greenwald incident came up, I immediately made a note of my regrets. You're still digging in.

But trust me, pal, you don't want to get in a masculinity pissing match with me.

Again, you don't know me.
posted by Heminator at 10:24 AM on January 23, 2009


allen.spaulding, it would have been a good idea to be more explicit and sooner about the whole "I'm not calling SeizeThe Day a homophobe" thing, because your comment here is pretty badly ambiguous and comes off pretty damned badly as a result. If folks are meant to give you the benefit of the doubt on that front, you can lay the groundwork for that by doing the same yourself in the first place.

If whether-this-post-should-be-here is a topic that merits further discussion, you all know where Metatalk is, and frankly it probably should have gone there a while ago. But it didn't, and here we are, and please see my previous comment.
posted by cortex at 10:30 AM on January 23, 2009


Indeed, I probably should have said "this pair of articles" in that comment. It's still unclear to me that this warranted a MeTa post. I think this thread is a good place for a frank (har) discussion of what's going on behind-the-scenes of that WSJ article, why it's factually baseless, whether or not there's something else motivating these attacks, and so on. I don't see that as a derail.
posted by allen.spaulding at 10:32 AM on January 23, 2009


okay, heminator. get over it already. i didn't mean to make you cry.

i actually agree in part with you, klang and namespan: the issue is not frank's homosexuality. and frank shouldn't be immune to criticism on that basis or any other. but the real issue here is just good old fashioned partisanship and hypocrisy.

in the partisan world, paulson's crew can direct the vast majority of the bailout money in such a way as to benefit his own former company goldman sachs and not a word is spoken in opposition, but for a democratic congressmen to appeal to the treasury for emergency funding on behalf of a small bank in his constituency that might actually need financial assistance--well, that's just treason!
posted by saulgoodman at 10:34 AM on January 23, 2009


Apology accepted? Look I basically have issues with the whole bailout, if somebody wants to FPP something about how Republicans (or others aside from Frank) are to blame, I'll be right there with you.
posted by Heminator at 10:44 AM on January 23, 2009


"unspecific-financial-news-where-everyone's-guilty filter."

"Oddly, I spent the entire day glass-eyed, wandering through the hallways thinking exactly that."

You also were trying to be semi-polite while actually thinking that your post really kinda sucked?!
posted by markkraft at 10:53 AM on January 23, 2009


yeah--the whole program has been a disgrace since day one. i think everyone can agree on that. a comprehensive fpp plumbing the full depths of what a cf it's been so far would be nice to see.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:54 AM on January 23, 2009


As long as small-potatoes financial news stories like the FPP eat up our attention and devolve into these partisan and/or personal pissing contests, the perpetrators and beneficiaries of the financial crisis will continue to fly under the radar and make out like bandits.

Scuse me, I'm stepping out to buy more bank stock.
posted by Artful Codger at 11:06 AM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


but the real issue here is just good old fashioned partisanship and hypocrisy.

Oh, I'm down with that. As cirocco quotes Frank eloquently saying, the Republicans had charge of all three branches of the federal government during the most important years while this was going down, and somehow they still have the audacity to argue this is still all the Democrats fault. The party of personal responsibility apparently isn't the party of political accountability.

the whole program has been a disgrace since day one. i think everyone can agree on that.

Yep. Maybe doing nothing would have been worse, but maybe not, and given that there were well-known less tortured alternative suggestions that have worked in other contexts it's pretty frustrating that we ended up with a last minute treasury raid on the order of the costs of the Iraq war that's apparently going to banks and bankers with an overinflated sense of their own abilities and entitlement, plus an apparent apathy about whether their business practices

Right now we have lots of the problems of nationalization and few of the benefits. Maybe we should go whole hog. It'd avoid the moral hazard and giving the overentitled world of private financial enterprise the kind of real scare that might make them think twice the next time the devil whispers in their ear.

(Or there's actual vigilante justice. But while I would find it somewhat darkly satisfying to read in the paper tomorrow that a dozen insanely compensated men in positions of responsibility during the recent insanity were severely beaten, it's really not civilized, and since I haven't even heard so much as a single piece of banker-killing hip-hop yet, it's probably not really in the zeitgeist.)

(I'm ranting now. I should shut up.)
posted by namespan at 1:50 PM on January 23, 2009


an apparent apathy about whether their business practices

Don't leave me hanging. There are so many great ways to end that.
posted by oaf at 2:14 PM on January 23, 2009


something like "yield any public benefit while they're propped up on public funds." No idea where that part went.
posted by namespan at 2:41 PM on January 23, 2009


Look I basically have issues with the whole bailout, if somebody wants to FPP something about how Republicans (or others aside from Frank) are to blame, I'll be right there with you.

Why even focus on Congressman Frank at all? He didn't propose the TARP program. He didn't administer the TARP program. The Senate version of the bill which was negotiated by McConnell and Reid in the middle of the night and rammed down the house after the Senate adjourned, is the bill that ultimately became law. Just explain to us why you think Barney Frank is an appropriate target here?
posted by humanfont at 3:19 PM on January 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


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