Financial Skigamadoo

by digby

Ok, I just heard the scariest thing I've heard all week, and that's saying something. Chris Matthews, Richard Wolf and Lynn Sweet were discussing the crisis and all seemed to agree that neither Obama or McCain are competent to make decisions about the economy and that we are very, very lucky to have Hank Paulson running things because he's a really smart guy and he'll fix it.

Matthews: I've been so impressed by Lincoln's words this week --- government of, by and for the people. It isn't government of, by and for the people. This is being decided, the biggest issue of our time, this economic crisis, the worst, according to the wall Street Journal,since the 1930s, by people so much bigger headed than most voters, than most members of congress, certainly than me. This is being decided by people like Hank Paulson.

THANK GOD this president has this secretary of treasury and not the one other ones he had before, perhaps. But Richard, the people can't vote on things like this.

Wolf: (nods sagely)

Matthews: We can't understand it. I'm one of them. I don't get it. What are all these derivatives and all this short selling and all this complicated financial ... skigamadoo or whatever you call it. What is it?

Wolf: Even the candidates have problem getting through this alphabet soup. I mean, they've both mangled the players and the key terms of those involved here. Are they talking about firing the right person when he talks about Chris Cox? Is it Fannie Mac or Freddie Mae?

Matthews: I'm just wondering if it's above our pay grade? I think Carly Fiorina may have been right. These guys can run for president but they can't be Secretary of the Treasury.

Matthews: Even elected presidents can't master this financial game. It's too complicated. Shouldn't they come out and tell us who their economic team's gonna be? ... The reason I ask is because we saw the president this week and Bush has all the native intelligence you can have. He doesn't want to touch it because for a layman to start talking about the economy right now is very dangerous. Right Lynn?

Lynn Sweet: It's tough. It's interesting because who would have thought that his treasury secretary would emerge from this crisis...

Matthews:the third secretary, two are gone...

Sweet: Right. That he would emerge from this looking as the strong person in the administration, who's pulling it together. And we'll see if the congress gives him the power to run the economy.

Matthews: Is congress willing to make him King Henry as they put on the one of the magazine covers?

Wolf: the cover of Newsweek...

Matthews: Will they let him be King Henry?

That's obviously the right question. But these villagers don't even blink at the concept --- indeed, they appear to think that the congress should let Paulson be King because he's so much more "big headed" then them. And they think this because they assume that the American people are as stupid as they are and just want daddy to fix things for them so they can go back to talking about lipstick and blow jobs, which is all they really understand.

Chris Matthews makes five million dollars a year. And he can't be bothered to read a fucking primer on the current financial crisis so that he can speak competently about it? Why is he on my television?

And the other two (although Sweet looked quite uncomfortable with this idiotic conversation, I must say) pretended that Obama soundsw just as moronic on the economy as Matthews and McCain, which it is patently untrue. Obama clearly knows what a derivative and short selling is and he knows what that Fannie Mae isn't Fannie Mac. It's nonsense. Maybe Chris Matthews is too ignorant to even know the basics of the modern financial world despite his vast wealth, but Obama isn't and he certainly doesn't need to appoint a "king" to run our country for us.

This is the thinking that led to Bush seizing the presidency in 2000. The media panicked and starting speaking in tongues and rending their garments about how all hell would break loose if the race wasn't decided immediately. It happened again with Iraq. At this point, whenever they start talking about how time is of the essence and we need to "trust them," watch your wallet.

I think Matthews very much represents the political establishment on this. THANK GOD we have a rich and successful wall street wizard in charge of guarding my investments. But their gratitude may be a bit misplaced. As Paul Krugman (another very smart guy) wrote this morning:

Some are saying that we should simply trust Mr. Paulson, because he’s a smart guy who knows what he’s doing. But that’s only half true: he is a smart guy, but what, exactly, in the experience of the past year and a half — a period during which Mr. Paulson repeatedly declared the financial crisis “contained,” and then offered a series of unsuccessful fixes — justifies the belief that he knows what he’s doing? He’s making it up as he goes along, just like the rest of us.

Sorry Tweety. There's no omniscient daddy out there who can scare away the boogeyman in your closet. And if there is one, it sure isn't the guy who's spent the last 18 months shouting drunken assurances from the living room that he told the boogeyman to go away and telling you to just go to sleep. The boogeyman is real and daddy's lying on the couch telling you to go to the kitchen and get him another beer.