Friday, 17 July 2009

Annals of Cluelessness, Hank Paulson Edition

Is it just me or is anyone else thinking: How totally clueless was Hank Paulson?

I mean, Paulson now reveals that the Bush administration was discussing how to feed U.S. citizens in the event of a breakdown in law and order, had commerce and banking collapsed during the financial panic last fall. This, from the Independent:
Making his first appearance on Capitol Hill since leaving office, the former Treasury secretary Hank Paulson said it was important at the time not to reveal the extent of officials' concerns, for fear it would "terrify the American people and lead to an even bigger problem."
Four months before the Lehman implosion/AIG meltdown/freakout sirens started wailing, Paulson was saying this: "In my judgment, we are closer to the end of the market turmoil than the beginning." (May 16, 2008) Two months later, he's still blissfully optimistic: "It's a safe banking system, a sound banking system. Our regulators are on top of it. This is a very manageable situation." (July 20, 2008)

Okay, that last quote is from July ... a month passes ... two months ... and then everything goes tits up and suddenly he and other top Bush officials are huddled in a secret meeting room, talking about how to feed 300 million Americans once the wide-scale looting begins.

To me, that reveals a staggering degree of cluelessness. Bear Stearns craps out in mid-May, the nation is sitting on a teetering pile of dicey lending, and Paulson just blithely goes about his business, until things get really bad, and then he shifts from "What, me worry?" to "Holy s***, the sky is falling and how are we going to feed all of America when outlaws overrun the country?"

If Webster's is looking for an illustrative margin photo for the word "clueless" for their next dictionary, I've got a suggestion ...