Economic Anxiety Disorder

Dana Milbank is brilliant:





The Economy? Words Fail Me.
Dana Milbank
Washington Post, July 4, 2008; A03


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  1. John commented on Jul 4

    This is hilarious. I’m not sure which is worse, bumbling bureaucrats like Swagel who don’t seem to be able to assemble a sentence, or flacks like the fragrant Perino whose practised evasions sound like those pre-recorded messages you get when trying to reach a real person at your health insurer.

  2. bluestatedon commented on Jul 4

    I felt sort of sorry for the guy myself. He’s obviously not somebody with a future in front of the camera. I got the distinct impression he’s one of the people in the government who actually recognizes the extent of the problem, and does not have the will or the ability to bluster and lie his way through, like as John mentions, Perino does without effort.

    I think it’s interesting that Milbank attended this briefing. He’s pretty high up in the journalism food chain, and the fact you couldn’t assemble a basketball team with those present is one indication of how little mainstream journalists — or the publications they work for — care about the economy. They’d much rather chase Obama or McCain around the country hoping to catch some verbal gaffe and make comments about their wives.

  3. Nihilism commented on Jul 4

    I guess when journalists themselves are “tuned” to hear cockiness and swagger from leaders, CEOs, politicians — what else can you expect them to expect.

    Is Milbank a journalist or a comedian for WP?

    I would take a unassured/honest answer 100 times over a bunch of liars like BSC CEOs or LEH or CFC or others who would spin things without any regard to honesty and harm to the masses at large.

  4. Eric Davis commented on Jul 4

    Thanks Barry,

    that was funny.

  5. larster commented on Jul 4

    I think the whole point is that we are in such a hole that it is impossible to sugar coat the situation or have any potential solutions, except “staying the course”. Additionally, this guy puts a face on the Bush administrations lack of public policy. He is not part of the inner circle and therefore has no idea what is being discussed or what he can say. He has two choices; look like a boob or say someting about policy and get fired.

  6. Rich_Lather commented on Jul 4

    I don’t know whether to laugh hysterically or panic.

  7. Steve Barry commented on Jul 4

    Watch this video of his boss…watch him shake his head no with Wallaceand stutter as he says long term economy is sound and other points…later in the videohe says the same thing and shakes even worse with Stephanopolis

    Paulson video

  8. John commented on Jul 4

    Interesting comment about the lack of journalistic prescence at this event. It was telling but then it was the day before the vac and most journalists probably knew this was a gofer who wasn’t going to say anything. The state of financial journalism is a whole subject on it’s own. I’ve been reading the WSJ for forty years and the quality of a lot of their routine reporting of financial matters is worse than it’s ever been. Overall I’m a great fan of the paper, it has probably the best reporting anywhere but there’s no doubt there has been a deterioration in a lot of the financial stuff and it predates Murdoch although he’s doing his best to ruin the paper’s reputation for in depth reporting by turning it into USA Today. Given that, is it any surprise that most of the other papers are either not interested or do a poor job. And I wasn’t out of sympathy with Swagel whose obviously a boffin they wheeled out because no one else was around. Milbank was quite in his rights though to take the p%$# out of the whole exercise. It was pathetic considering this guy is a high treasury official in the country with the largest economy in the world.

  9. john_doe commented on Jul 4

    At least the market will crash after the 4th, that way no one will choke on their hot dog. Remember, this is all bout the North American Union led by Jorge Bush and BR’s peso.

    People freak out b/c they think a stock market crash is the end of the world. The Nasdaq dropped 80% from its 2000 high, and the Dow 40%… the market dropped appx 25% in ’87… We are still here….. be in cash and buy when market is cheap/ crashed….

    That’s what we in Dubai are doing.. we are buying the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, and the Lincoln Memorial… Jorge shredded the Constitution…so we can’t buy that…. just bought Paulson, what a steal!!!

    Dollar Sheik

  10. m3 commented on Jul 4

    bluestatedon said it all.

    if i had swagel’s job, i’d quit. he’s going to need a new job come january anyway.

    although it is nice to see someone in this godforsaken administration who actually seems concerned about the situation.

  11. Tom F. commented on Jul 4

    What’s this guy supposed to do? Wave a magic wand and make everything ok? He’s not the one who created all the toxic mbs’s and siv’s. You can thank the gd useless fuckers on Wall Street for that. Nor is he the one who moved all the manufacturing jobs out of this country. Ditto for engineering. That’s what generates a nation’s wealth and ours has all been pissed away. Granted, the guy didn’t appear too mentally swift on his feet, but even if he was, what the hell is that going to help? You want more fucking bullshit like Paulson spews out all the time?

    BR: Wait — you can type out “fucking bullshit” — but God damned has to be abbreviated?

  12. STS commented on Jul 4

    Finally, some mainstream journalists are taking a lesson from Jon Stewart.

    As for Swagel, it’s refreshing to see some authenticity out of anybody connected with this administration.

  13. lux commented on Jul 4

    I felt a bit bad for the guy; he was clearly unused to being up at the lectern.

    Milbank is a member of the Olbermann school of journalism — a real journalist, but willing to interject snark.

    @Tom F as edited by BR – funny!

  14. kcowan commented on Jul 4

    When you remove available credit from an economy that runs on credit, it is like shooting out the tires on a fast-moving race car. Once the tires are shot out, there is nothing anyone can do except watch it crash and burn.

  15. RedCharlie commented on Jul 4

    The irony is that the final advice is probably the best that the individual investor can do!

  16. Jimmyhussein Carter commented on Jul 4

    Swagel bears an uncanny resemblance to Rowan Atkinson! What’s more, his speech could easily have been mistaken for a Mr. Bean routine.

  17. ttime commented on Jul 4

    Mr Swagel is a technician not a Politician and was truthful a rarity in DC. I think we are so used to people in power lying through their teeth that actually it was refreshing to see someone admitting that he has no answer. Promote the guy.

  18. dukeb commented on Jul 4

    It would have been impressive if an adequate target had been the subject of the take-down. As it stands, this was a mere commentary on journalism (comedic or straight or the new hybrid variety) that is only “brilliant” if intended to be infinitely ironic. Thank you Dana Milbank for fighting the important fight…America is now saved.

    *And Wexler, too.

  19. Karl K commented on Jul 4

    So, Barry… are YOU following Dana Milbank’s notion — excuse me, it was Dana Milbank quoting ANOTHER reporter (there’s metajournalism)– that we should put our money in the mattress and get shotgun?

    (Hint: Ted Williams always liked those Remingtons).

    Dana Milbank is an idiot, or at least not to be taken seriously as a journalist.

    Whether it’s appearing in an orange hunting vest on Olbermann after Cheyney hunting mishap, or his snarky jab about McCain being liable to “break a hip” (agism anyone?)…or this bit of homoeroticism on Obama from his keyboard…

    We see [Obama’s] well-defined pecs, his perfectly hairless torso, just a bit of padding around the abs and a drawstring dangling from his form-fitting surfer trunks. The aspiring presidential candidate splashes through the water and squints into the distance; he is transformed into Burt Lancaster in ‘From Here to Eternity.’

    THIS is who you, BR, feel compelled to link to as “brilliant?” Is that right??

    Next you’ll be touting Gretchen Morgensen as an expert on Credit Default Swaps. (Oh, wait…you’ve already done that…never mind).

    Frankly, if Dana does more work like this he may wind up amongst the statistics of the unemployed, along with a lot of his other mainstream media compatriots.

  20. tom a taxpayer commented on Jul 5

    Swagel is a freshman at the Hank Paulson School of Elocution and Rhetoric. He has much to learn from the Master.

  21. Thomas Shawn commented on Jul 5

    The irony is that the final advice is probably the best that the individual investor can do!

    No, an investor can do so much more. Invest in funds that go up when the market goes down: SDS and QID for example.

    Get education about investing, epsecially options, and buy puts, lots and lots of puts.

    If uncomfortable with steering your own ship hire a professional who buys puts, lots and lots of puts.

    Swagel is probably a very good economist and he sees what is coming. The look on his face tells me that Dow 10,500 is coming and maybe we’ll go right down to Dow 7500 after that.

  22. john commented on Jul 6

    In today’s society only humor works. Information – as data – is pointless; it takes too much time and brain-power to analyze, and really – who cares. But, if you can ridicule someone, now EVERYBODY can’t “feel it”, you don’t need “data”.

    I look forward to the day when political ads will simply be straight unapologetic ridicule of the “other guy”. Then, maybe, we’d get some truth and it would be apparent that none of the kings, queens, princes, or dog-catchers are clothed.

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