Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Obama Confuses Markets With 'Wall Street'

I don't think there's much doubt that the Geithner Selloff yesterday was a reaction of the financial markets as a whole to Treasury's Paulson Lite bank bailout plan. So I was disappointed to see President Obama dissembling on that subject in an interview with ABC News last night.

"Wall Street I think is hoping for an easy out on this thing and there is no easy out," Obama told ABC's "Nightline" program when asked about the markets' negative verdict to the plan.

"Essentially what you've got are a set of banks that have not been as transparent as we need to be in terms of what their books look like," the president said in excerpts of the interview.

Essentially what you've got is Obama ignoring the vehement concern about Paulson Lite from investors--and the approval of the plan by Wall Street.

As AP pointed out in an article today,

Industry groups heaped praise on the proposal, which Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner unveiled in a speech Tuesday.

"We are encouraged by the creative and wide-reaching suite of programs outlined today," Tim Ryan, chief executive of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, said in a statement that endorsed each point of Geithner's plan.

"It's big, it's bold, it's tailored, it's targeted," crowed Scott Talbott, a lobbyist with the Financial Services Roundtable.

The news media has been, I think, a bit too gentle on the Obama administration on this vital issue. When Obama misrepresents something basic like this, the media needs to call him to account.

© 2009 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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