And, yes, it's not fun feeling like Cassandra. But remember: Cassandra turned out to be right and the cheerleading Trojans very seriously wrong. And very seriously dead.
The other problem with "the pathological weakness of the financial memory" is that it causes us to forget, along with the Trojan War and the last economic crisis, all the things we could have done with the massive amounts of money we spent bailing out the banks -- things like foreclosure relief, job creation, infrastructure repair, health care reform, and improving education.
It's time to stop pretending that the Wall Street economy is the same as the real economy. The Wall Street economy may be showing signs of life -- thanks to the hundreds of billions we have poured into it -- but the real economy isn't.
"Don't tell me about the stock market," wrote Bob Herbert last week. "Don't tell me about the banks and their perpetual flimflammery. Tell me whether poor and middle-income families can find work. If they can't, the country's in trouble."
And that trouble is only growing worse, even if the media are full of Wall Streeters over the moon because the Dow just went up 100 points.
There aren't going to be reasons for optimism -- or cause for celebration -- unless "the new rules of the game" Geithner promised are moved from the realm of rhetoric to the arena of action. The window for reform is closing.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
From the Huffington Post: