Julian Delasantellis on Stress Testing
The witty Delasantellis offers his thoughts. Nice to read in conjuction with our post on Bill Black today:
Perhaps a cool hand
by Julian Delasantellis
February 17th, 2008
It wasn’t the planet-killing asteroid from 1998′s Armageddon that you heard slamming into Earth with a deafening thud last week, but the consequences of what it was may be just about as serious. It was but the latest attempt, the Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner plan, to pull the US financial system out of the deep hole it so aggressively and enthusiastically threw itself into during the great credit boom early in this decade.
How bad was it? Well, as Wall Street secretary pretending to be investment banker Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith), in 1988′s Working Girl, observed on her attempt to pitch a corporate buyout seemingly going badly, “They don’t exactly have bouncers atthese things, they’re a little more subtle than that.”
Geithner should be thankful for that as well. If not, he would have been grabbed by his collar and thrown out into the gutter on Pennsylvania Avenue, beneath the statue of Alexander Hamilton, his country’s first Treasury secretary, realizing that, on the basis of the tax problems and this dubious financial system rescue plan that have essentially become the coming-out party for the Treasury debutante, he has a long way to go to even match up to the standards of Ogden Livingston Mills, Herbert Hoover’s second Treasury secretary, let alone the giants in the office such as Hamilton.
The basic complaint about the Geithner plan was that it was vague. At a time as dire as this, the press, and, it turns out, the markets, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping over 350 points just as Geithner was speaking, wanted something a bit more substantial than just the Treasury secretary playing coy and batting his baby-blue eyes before the entire world.