Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Memo to Geithner: Short Answers, Please!

Okay, so liveblogging President Obama's first press conference may not have been the best choice. The serious subject matter and pages-long responses to questions required way too much attention for me to be blogging about it while the press conference was under way.

The President's campaigning around towns to talk to the people about the economic stimulus plan, and I think Biden's making gaffes in some foreign land right now, so Senator Dodd, (chair of Senate Banking or Financial Services committee, I forget which, who's a little belatedly concerned about what these institutions are doing, I should say) introduced Secretary Geithner's press conference. Geithner had a lot to say, and I'll digest it better after I read it somewhere. I imagine the remedy to this debacle will be as complex as the causes of the debacle itself. One thing that I did get is that there will be three new programs to provide better oversight and governance of banking institutions; the Federal Reserve Board, Department of the Treasury and FDIC will be working together on that. There will also be a comprehensive housing program to bring down mortgage payments and reduce mortgage interest rates. There will be a website Financialstability.gov for citizens to see where their money is going and how it's being spent; it will also have government contracts (surely not all!) available for review there.

One of Geithner's points is clear even to me: when it comes to the state we're in, from a policy perspective "there's more risk in gradualism than in aggressive action."

Geithner didn't take any questions.

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