November 16, 2010

Whose Watch Was It?

In the November 6 edition of Doonesbury the George W. Bush character, represented as a battered helmet, lists TARP, the subprime mortgage fix he signed into law, as one of the most difficult decisions of his presidency. Not because he agreed to bail out the banks but because people might remember the bailout as his idea and as a result not blame the democrats.

“But hey, worked out,” says the helmet.

Worked out indeed. And now to the long list of those that have forgotten that George W. was in charge during the bailout we can add Gary Lamphier, business columnist of the Edmonton Journal.

“The crooks … got away with murder on Obama’s watch,” says Lamphier in a recent column about the 2008 financial crisis. (See “Documentary explores how Wall St. ruined economy,” The Journal, Nov.9.)

Obama's watch?

Check the record, Mr. Lamphier. On September 18, 2008, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson and Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke approach senior House and Senate representatives and with big hats in hand ask for $700 billion dollars. Congress and the Senate comply and on October 3 President George W. Bush signs off on the deal. The first $350 billion arrived October 3, 2008, the second on January 15, 2009. President Barack Obama was elected on November 4, 2008, and inaugurated on January 20, 2009.

Any column that tries to pin the responsibility of the 2008 financial crisis onto President Obama without saying a word about Preseident Bush's involvement isn’t worth the price of a share in a collapsed investment bank.

What a sorry state when the comics section gives us a better read on the financial crisis than the business section.

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