Guest Post: Captain Obvious (S&P) vs. Captain Oblivious (Tim Geithner)

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Nomi Prins

Captain Obvious (S&P) vs. Captain Oblivious (Tim Geithner)

Last week, President Obama
driveled on about nothing of consequence in his budget speech. Yeah, he
said he’d push to roll back tax cuts for the wealthy and close some
off-shore corporate tax loopholes, but he’s said both (many times)
before and neither happened, so in terms of revenue enhancement, it’s a

Today, S&P – that beacon of toxic
asset rating foresight (which has yet to be slapped with any monetary
accountability for its collusive role in bringing down our economy) came
to the astonishing conclusion that
the United States has a debt problem, and tagged the country with a
'negative watch' label. The S&P report proceeded to highlight fiscal
spending issues, related political debating, and our ridiculously high
debt vs. GDP percentage, which is only a few points below 100, as points
of main contention. It paid minor lip service to the ‘financial crisis’
as being a factor. It surprisingly (not) shied away from blaming
ongoing and potentially further devastating fallout from the
overleveraged mortgage related assets still clogging the books of the
Fed, housing agencies and financial firms as the banking system
maintains the appearance of solvency only through federally supported
accounting gimmickry and an exceedingly generous and ‘easy’ Federal
Reserve keeping assets bid and rates low in the face of inflation it
chooses to ignore.

Meanwhile, the media and Washington have been laser focused on $38 billion worth of budget cuts,
a whopping 1 percent of the entire budget, which as slight as it is in
the scheme of things, disproportionately chops public good buckets.
Rather than the excruciating time sink and mind-numbing arguments, it
might have been best to just lop 1% off the top of everything
proportionately, but that would have been too easy, and not political
enough. Maybe then we could have shifted focus to the real cause of our
budget woes – which is that our economy continues to deteriorate and the
people with the power to do something about it are lying about its very
cause and thus its remedies.

The flashing fuchsia elephant at the
core of our economic, and thus budget problems – remains the response to
the financial homicide imparted by the big-banks and abetted by the
Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department. There was a choice to be
made in Washington in the fall of 2008 - smack Wall Street into place,
do a good-ole free-market – you fail if you deserve to fail, we’ll
protect consumer assets and that’s it maneuver - and deal with possibly
intense, but definable fall-out for a short period.  Or - lavish bailout
upon guarantee upon subsidy upon asset purchase upon the lowest rates
in our nation’s history on Wall Street, and wring the very possibility
of a recovery out of the general economy from the get-go. Of course, the
brilliant minds of our exceedingly-privileged, out-of-touch, economic
leadership decided on the former, and are acting their asses off to
pretend that that decision, in itself, wasn’t the cause of the economic
problems that followed, from Main Street anemia, to commodity inflation
to international disdain and a weak currency that has no right to even
have the purchasing capacity it still does.

And, yet Tim Geithner had the audacity
of job-security to take his debt ceiling ‘plea’, on the Sunday Morning
talk show circuit – really, we will be in crisis and other countries
will think poorly of our ability to pay our debts if we don’t raise the
ceiling and increase our debt. In truth, it is Tim Geithner’s ego on the
line, while his boss, through staggering absence of mention, is fine
with assuaging it. Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke remained
silent about the topic, not least because between the Fed and the
Treasury department, more debt has been racked up and issued in the past
two years than ever before.  Of course, the debt cap will get raised,
just as it got raised under Treasury Secretaries Paul O’Neil, John Snow
and Hank Paulson.

When Geithner got elevated from the NY
Federal Reserve head position of aiding Wall Street in its time of need
to the Treasury Department, from where he could rubber stamp the entire
bailout notion as being essential to our survival as a nation, the
amount of Treasury Security debt outstanding was $5.7 trillion (in
tradable securities, and $591 billion in nonmarketable ones.)  In August
2008, just before the most powerful banks sucked the soul out of the
country in every manner possible, Treasury debt outstanding was  $4.9 trillion.

Today, outstanding Treasury debt stands at $9.1 trillion,
an increase of $4.2 trillion since the big bailout began, most of which
occurred under Geithner, though it started under Hank Paulson, who in
2007 and recently on Tim's behalf,
has used all of Geithner's current arsenal of reasons to request a
sizeable debt cap increase. All of it, allegedly to avoid a Depression
and propel us to what has been deemed a slow recovery by none other than
the Treasury Department, the White House and the Federal Reserve.

Geithner can (and will) keep pretending
that this seismic debt increase was a requirement to fix our main
economy, even though the actual fiscal stimulus package of the Obama
administration accounts for only 18% of this increase, so the numbers
just don’t fly.  Indeed, they only make sense if you take into
consideration other diversions, like the $1.37 trillion of
Treasuries, about a trillion of which is in excess bank reserves, and
the nearly $1 trillion of mortgage-related securities parked at the Fed,
the $142 billion of mortgage-related assets at the Treasury deparment,
and various remaining FDIC guaranteed bank debt hangover from the
bailout period, and sundries like JPM Chase’s ongoing Fed backing for
its Bear Stearns’s acquisition.

Meanwhile, our debt interest will be more than $430 billion this year,
or more than ten times the amount being quibbled about by the elected
partisan politicians that are debating it, as the value of our debt and
debt-worthiness diminishes.

Anyone can make promises that at some
time in the future, some of any budget will be more in check, or even
that unicorns will overtake the oval office and do a better job running
the economy, but the fact remains – misguided, larcenous policies
created a boatload of debt to float a financial system that continues to
suck us dry (near zero borrowing costs from non-zero lending through
mortgage, personal loans, credit cars, or whatever), and until this fact
is given even an iota of a percentage of the time that the smaller
bantering is given, we will continue to sink further into a financial
abyss of the Fed’s, Treasury department’s, bi-partisan Congress’ and
executive leadership’s making, no matter who’s in charge. For now, there
are those excess reserves at the Fed - just saying.

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Stares straight ahead's picture

I hope they can't sleep at night, at least...

Rainman's picture

Gubmints most "brilliant" minds thought we were in a transitory cyclical recession. Yeah, right. We'll work it like the last one, and the one before, and the one before that. Educated idiots are the absolute worst !

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

OK, OK, I see her points re banksters.

I still think that the CORE PROBLEM is that we vote in .gov public servants who spend more than they take in.

Government spending is the No. 1 problem.  And we all share blame for that by electing them...

topcallingtroll's picture

Agreed, you fucking selfish babyboomer, but you guys caused this damn mess.

Hey dochen

What's up?

Long time no see.

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Fcukin' selfish boomer Bearing took a cruise with his wife and her parents (their 65th Anniversary this year, our gift to them) for a week.

Nyaah, nyaah!

Oh, one last thing: it was the YOUNG PEOPLE who ensured that Obama won.  Hope and Change.

Nyaah, nyaah!

(but, your point is valid that we boomers caused a lot of this, shh, don't tell anyone I am agreeing with you...)



velobabe's picture

Do, i remember you were traveling this time last year, over in italia w/wifey. you are a lucky do.

4:20, coming up^

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

velo, every day I realize I am the luckiest guy in the world.  Or would that be the luckiest bearing?

Landrew's picture

Govt. spending is the problem?

If you cut everything except WAR ,social security, interest on the debt there is nothing left to cut! So you are saying no national parks? No center for disease control, no NASA, no highway, no coast guard, no education, no energy research, no oversight of nuclear power, no oversight of oil industry etc.?

Why not just move to Mexico or China? So you think the states can handle Tornado's without help? Why is a REPUBLICAN'T governor BEGGING to the FEDERAL government for funds?After the bullshit that comes from that state, I would make them come hat in hand and I mean hat in hand!

FEMA that's crap right? Maybe we all go it alone? Your country isn't a country, my country grows together to build a better future. Your country is sold to the highest bidder. I would rather move to Argentina where at least the cost of living is less. 

sun tzu's picture

The IRS collects $2.2 trillion in taxes. The government spends $3.7 trillion. Your solution is to raise taxes by over 50%? Even if you confiscated every last cent from the Forbes 400 richest Americans, you are still short well over $1 trillion a year. 

Somehow we managed to have national parks, FEMA, NASA, roads, schools etc prior to your Holy Messiah being elected by the idiotic masses and increasing the budget from $2.8 trillion to $3.7 trillion.

You're a dope I can't believe in

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

@ Landrew,

Hey, I'm good to cut war, defense and entitlements as well.  We have to cut spending one way or another.

I have a feeling that interest on the national debt will be cut, defaulted on or inflated.

There is plenty we can cut, war and entitlements are OK with me, and I am 55.  No, I will not be collecting Social Security nor Medicare.  As you probably well know, defense and entitlements are the two Big Enchiladas...

Feel better?

Agent 440's picture

meh. Think of all the savings if we get this loser and all the rest one way tickets to the socialist paradise of their choice. Problem solved.

Al Gorerhythm's picture

Meh. From Utopia to Shangrila.

What does it all mean's picture

I have to say... I try to not to be elite-ist about qualifications and only evaluate people on their innate ability..  But Tim G. is so underqualified for his job that I think it is the only reason that he is still there.  (Can't get a better one elsewhere / less shame?  Like Larry Summers...)  Failing upwards.

I mean, for a secretary of treasury, he doesn't have managerial experience, economics/quantitative skill sets and just talks a good game that is obviously dictated by Rubin/Summers/Paulson/GS/JPM...  At leat The Bernank is somewhat intelligent. (If not mis-guided, not about the monetary policy necessarily, but what a crappy inherited position that Maestro would leave behind.  Mr. Greenspan sure knows how and when to exit.)


I mean, Timmy G. should resign / fired right now, but I am sure he will end up running a big bank or something.... (let it be AIG, or GSEs like FNM/FRE!)  I am even thinking of getting rid of the dollar bills that bear his signature.  Appointing him to the post, will remain one of Obama's biggest mistakes, and that is saying something.

NotApplicable's picture

You talk as if Sec. of the Treasury is a real job.

He is a front-man for the bankster mob, that is all.

What does it all mean's picture

Fair enough.   I just thought that they should at least try to pretend that there is a requirement.  Ph. D., Experience, brain?

Dollar Bill Hiccup's picture

Speaks Mandarin. Good when someone wants to order moo goo gai pan or whatever.

Pegasus Muse's picture

"But Tim G. is so underqualified for his job that I think it is the only reason that he is still there."

Same same for O'bummer.  That's why the power elites selected him.

What does it all mean's picture

Obama at least has a Harvard Law degree, and the editor of the law review. (Which I hear is quite an accomplishment in that circle.)  Tim?  I bet the Chinese makes fun of his Mandarin when he tried to float their yuan.  

baby_BLYTHE's picture

His father, Peter F. Geithner, was the director of the Asia program at the Ford Foundation in New York in the 1990s. During the early 1980s, Peter Geithner oversaw the Ford Foundation's microfinance programs in Indonesia being developed by Ann Dunham Soetoro, President Barack Obama's mother, and they met in person at least once.

Maybe that is why he was hired and never fired?

Popo's picture

You want to talk unqualified?  Before becoming god of the financial-universe, Ben Bernanke had a seat on the board of Fed governors for two years, and before that he taught college.

He has two years of experience. Period.

And what were his qualifications for his once-in-a-lifetime promotion?    ... An expressed willingness to increase liquidity, come what may.

He's a college teacher with a penchant for expanding the money supply.  All of this b.s., mumbo-jumbo about being an "expert" on the Great Depression is laughable, considering there is well-known, widespread disagreement within academia about the causes, remedies and and 'what-ifs' of the Great Depression.  And Bernanke's version of the 1930's frequently meets with academic criticism.  His 'expertise' is a trumped up disguise for his real skill, which is a willingness to placate banking interests at the expense of the public.  Period.

Of all the life-long financial badasses that could have been given the job, they handed the crown jewels to a guy with two years of on-the-job experience and a controversial philosophy which just so happened to be bank-friendly in the extreme.

Bernanke is an asshat.  A very dangerous asshat and an enemy of the people of the United States.


Hephasteus's picture

"The USA will never lose it's AAA rating." - Tim Geihtner

lolmao500's picture

Geithner will not leave this world due to natural causes. - The People

Popo's picture

Cue that scene from The Matrix:  "We need guns.   Lots of guns."

I think I need to buy a gun's picture

The plan has been in place for over 10 years that why little Timmy was the ONLY option. Its top secret and it involves gold

knukles's picture

Well, he's been right so far.

(giggle, giggle, snort, snort)
(Even sounds like Timmah!)

And Trichet today siad that all of the EU members were ahead of the curve on finances.

And Sir Alan "the Pimp" Greenspan this weekend on "Meet the Press" (?) said that there was no inflation.  Prices were all going up due to increases in productivity.
(Honest.  He said that.)

And Bill the Cat said; "xzmphlft"
(Which made the most sense of all.) 

max2205's picture

Just wait till Obummer's second term. Weeee

redpill's picture

 (near zero borrowing costs from non-zero lending through mortgage, personal loans, credit cars, or whatever)

I would hope that more Americans could at least understand this singular point and get pissed off.  The Fed is inflating our currency, which is back-door stealing from every American, just so it can give money to large banks for NOTHING in order for them to turn around and lend it out and MAKE INTEREST on the same people, us, that are getting stolen from via inflation to make the whole thing possible.  The vampiric atrocity of it should make everyone's blood boil regardless of what part of the political spectrum they hail from.  Why in the world should banks be making a penny when they have to take no risk?


LawsofPhysics's picture

Yep,  spot on.  for that matter, we would we let a private banking cartel charge us excessive interest to print or money for us when we can coin it ourselves?

The financial sector (which creates NOTHING of real value) remains a cancer that is killing the productive sectors of the economy through excessive debt and fraud.

Crash the system, crash it now.  The sooner we do, the sooner compensation will find its way to folks that are actually worth a shit.

What does it all mean's picture

I had a good argument with a close friend of mine who is working for one of the TBTF banks. (as a MD.)  I suggest that we, the US Tax payers, demand a system like what they have in Japan for payment processing and simple savings.  


Who the hell need "banks", that doesn't give out loans?  For their insider trading / prop desk / Public offering?  Investment advisory expertise?  (Really, Lehman was an IB, expert at saving corporations, and it failed spectacularly!)

Just throw it all up on EBAY, and see what auctions and what doesn't.


IdioTsincracY's picture

For all tea party revolutionaries around here, straight from our founding fathers:

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties
than standing armies. Already they have raised up a moneyed aristocracy
that has set the government at defiance.

rubearish10's picture

So, does The FRED just hike rates tomorrow and force the issue into sobriety? ugh! Just kidding, just kidding.....

long juan silver's picture

Geithner? He still working here? Robert Stack knows more than him.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Hmm.  Run to PMs and cash and await default? Check.  Then come back when treasury yields are above 20%.  Maybe, depends on the inflation rate I guess, this is the bit I am not sure of just yet.

Dr. Porkchop's picture

Tim is guilty of treason. It's that simple. If you see something, say something.

Al Gorerhythm's picture

Or substance abuse. That last tab must have been a wild one.

smlbizman's picture

i really do love the spin.......from christina ( i had a pig-neck-ectomy} romer...christ this aint news...everybody knows were broke...s&p is just figuring it out...

Rainman's picture

...even to this very day, that no-neck Romer refers to the lack of jobs as " cyclical" unemployment. Banished to Berkley, she should never be heard from again outside that rat's nest of commies. 

WonderDawg's picture

I don't think the S&P is just figuring it out, they've known just like everyone else knows. The thing I'm trying to figure out is how the TBTF cartel benefits from this? What's the play? It's obvious (to me) that the S&P puppets were told to do this, but why? Figure out how the cartel benefits from this, and make your play accordingly. Any ideas?

Zero Govt's picture

today Timmay Gitner would have us believe digging a deeper debt hole by raising the debt ceiling was great for the "credability" of the USA and a brilliant fiscal "solution"

tomorrow Obumma is going to make us understand how not 3 foreign wars but 7 (or 8) is fab US foreign policy and a Nobel Peace Prize winning strategy

Barney Frank next week's going to ignore the fuking shambles he's made of US property and unveil his central planning for the rental sector (Mission: Sub-Prime Rent)

and the Marxist goon squad (Obummas Science and Energy Czars) who've already declared "War" on the worlds greatest airborne plant fertilizer (CO2) is going to ban offshore drilling (having banned onshore and shallow water) and run what's left of US industry on subsidised popcorn oil extract

Things can only get better with the 'experts' we've got in The White House!

topcallingtroll's picture

Socialists and those who envy the possessions of other people really hate your ass zero.

You get almost as many junks as me, and you make it look so easy, like you arent even trying.

Zero Govt's picture

they can hate my ass and they can kiss it too

fuking wasters with fat gobs running on empty throughout human history ...bring on the Great Depression, its Darwinian Selection Time   ;)

topcallingtroll's picture


Party time, Darwin style...much better than we bring the emtertainment right to your very own living room.

buzzard's picture

One little nit... When you finally see the damage from the build-up of CO2 (assuming you live that long) will you then admit that you were wrong about Global Warming?

disabledvet's picture

"the American people are getting killed" and "they're responding in kind."  And how many people want to be the next President?  A dozen?  No thanks.  "I'll take the money and a mai-tai on the beach."