Citibank: America’s Welfare Queen

A few years late, they finally get around to telling us that America’s Dumbest Bank, Citi-(corp/group/bank/etc., depending on the day), should have been shut down and placed in receivership back in 2008.  Of course, that determination was based on niggling “objective criteria” like, say, “solvency” and “liquidity,” which are nice ways to convey that then-(and current!) CEO Vikram Pandit ought to have been pushing a grocery cart down Wall Street, rather than arriving by limousine.  He worked for Citi, after all, which never found a faddish money scheme it wouldn’t jump on too late and too big; that umbrella on their umpteenth logo turned out to be Wile E. Coyote fending off the boulder more often than not.  No normal person who fucked up so completely would ever expect to stay out of jail, let alone keep their cushy “job,” but no matter; unlike when non-bankster Americans screw up big time and default on all of their obligations, Citi has emerged, thanks to government largesse, from the recent unpleasantness bigger and dumber than ever, just like last time, and judging from this little discussion with Timmy Geithner, they’ll be back again.  (from Huffpo…)

…Even so, the consensus to give Citigroup more taxpayer cash “appeared to be based as much on gut instinct and fear of the unknown as on objective criteria,” according to the report. One FDIC official told SIGTARP that policy makers “made a judgment call” on the degree of Citigroup’s importance to the entire fabric of the financial system.

Judgement call?  I’ve never heard it called that before.  ”Payoff” would be more accurate.

More than three years later, such judgment calls persist. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who effectively oversaw Citigroup as the then-president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, told SIGTARP during an interview last month that it’s not possible to create effective, objective criteria for evaluating the risk a financial firm poses to the system.

How convenient, for some people, anyway.  How about restoring Glass-Steagall and enforcement of the Sherman Antitrust Act, you lying nitwit?

“It depends too much on the state of the world at the time,” Geithner said Dec. 21. “You won’t be able to make a judgment about what’s systemic and what’s not until you know the nature of the shock.”

By “nature,” he means whether the current miscreants are his friends or not, as we’ve seen time and again, but still he acts like such obvious bribery and corruption are really due to forces more complicated than brain surgery and rocket science, put together, so if anyone feels robbed it’s because they’re dumb.  But wait:  it gets worse.  Like Bush, who famously said that you just can’t tax rich people, because they cheat anyway, so why bother, Geithner coughs up this hairball of wisdom about the people he’s SUPPOSED TO BE REGULATING, that crashed the economy on HIS watch.

Geithner added that lenders would simply “migrate around” whatever objective criteria policy makers developed in advance.

Then he adds, rather unnecessarily….

Taxpayers may once again have to support failing financial firms based on gut instinct alone.

If lil’ Timmy’s in charge, I have no doubt.

“In the future we may have to do exceptional things again if we face a shock that large,” Geithner said, according to the report. “You just don’t know what’s systemic and what’s not until you know the nature of the shock.”

Now he’s starting to sound like Peter Sellers in “Being There,” which is understandable but hardly reassuring in the freaking Secretary of the Treasury, given that Citi isn’t even the most powerful or greedy bank “udderly,” if you’ll pardon the bad pun, dependent on what Alan Simpson called the government tit; it’s the runt of the litter.  Heaven knows what we’ll have to pay when Goldman or Chase makes a boo-boo with this pathetic crony in charge.  You heard it here at CHNN first; if Tim Geithner remains Treasury Secretary, Obama might still be reelected, but he’ll end up wishing he hadn’t.


23 Comments

  1. What I find amazing about the Randian Elite is that they are totally oblivious to the fact that they’re full of crap. In their hearts, they honestly believe that:

    “You just don’t know what’s systemic and what’s not until you know the nature of the shock.”

    They don’t need to know the “nature of the shock.” As you said CH, they just need to reinstate Glass-Steagall and get it over with.

    So easy!

  2. mikeinportc says:

    You have to make allowances for those doing God’s work. :) ))))

    “In the future we may have to do exceptional things again if we face a shock that large,” Geithner said, according to the report. “You just don’t know what’s systemic and what’s not until you know the nature of the shock.”

    Is Rummy speechwriting for him now? :)

    Btw, you called Timmy “Tom ” , in the last sentence . [ You could have called him something much worse, so admirable restraint on your part . ;) ]

    • cocktailhag says:

      Oops. Sheesh, thanks for pointing that out. It’s fixed, and CHNN regrets the error. I don’t know… Rummy at least had a vibe that would appeal to mystics, not so much Tommy, er, Timmy. The world would have been a better place if they’d met each other, say, working at WalMart, rather than holding responsible positions in government.

  3. mikeinportc says:

    “Walmart”, etc.? :) )))) That’s about what I said about BushCo, before it got in , and just after ( & most that heard it at the time looked at me as if I was the crazy one. ) . Sort of like that guy you know from work, or the hardware store ( Remember? we used to have them . Still one here, but only one.), or Walmart ( I don’t go to the Borg, but apparently, some do. ) , or the friend of a friend. Glad to know him, as is, but walk away thinking “I’m glad that guy’s not in charge.” Now that guy is in charge.

    OT, I don’t know what exactly this guy wants, but I like his approach.:) The money quote : “Throughout my career I have been known to walk that fine line between good taste and unemployment. I see no reason to change that now.
    – Col. Lawrence Sellin

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upshot/20100827/tc_yblog_upshot/army-colonel-in-afghanistan-fired-for-criticizing-powerpoint

  4. retzilian says:

    Off topic, back to the teabaggers & libertarians & wingers who want to defend gun rights (since I think all the banks are denizens of hell and JP Morgan Chase Lucifer himself, it’s redundant to complain of their evil ways), I find it bizarre and ironic that these people want to carry weapons wherever they go, and the cost of that is that innocent people, children, random strangers are going to get shot and killed. Oh well. But, that’s the price of freedom. Ok.

    However, doesn’t that also apply to my flying on an airplane or walking in a stadium or going to court? Why can’t I just walk in and take my chances like I have to do in every street in America in a state where you can either walk around armed or walk around concealing your guns? I mean, I live in a conceal & carry state and could get accidentally popped at any time, and I don’t much think about it.

    Why can’t I get on a plane and take my chances as well, without being subjected to x-rays, pat downs and confiscation of my shampoo?

    These hypocrites are only concerned with the freedoms that allow them to be freaking assholes. They are not concerned with my laptop getting confiscated or my having to wait in line five hours to get on a plane because the occasional kook might blow it up.

    Why doesn’t anyone besides Greenwald ever bring this up? If you are going to go to the wall to defend your freedom to have a gun, and the risks associated with that, why not go to the wall to defend your right to be unprotected by Homeland Securty?

    • cocktailhag says:

      Well, I think the reason is that Sept 11 was a roaring success for those of an authoritarian bent…. Few teabaggers fly much; that’s for the liberal elitists, ya know, so let ‘em suffer. That, and thanks to Obama’s fecklessness, the Homeland Security State is now bipartisan.

      • retzilian says:

        But it’s more than just flying. It’s being stopped for a traffic violation and being treated like a serial killer. It’s allowing the police state to violate the constitution on a regular basis. It’s allowing people to be locked up for having a bag of weed and letting Tom DeLay sit in the comfort of his home on bond after being convicted.

        Where is the tea party outrage over this?

        • cocktailhag says:

          You’re forgetting that the outrage is manufactured. Its inaugural rant, after all, was from that CNBC hack Santelli, who was blaming “losers” not paying their mortgages for the economic collapse, and thereby defending the banksters. Teabagger concerns are never populist, unless they are celebrating stupidity or rejecting science. (Even then, they’re serving big oil and whatnot….)
          As for Tom DeLay, he’s a white Republican. ‘Nuff said.

    • michlib says:

      Actually, the baggers are in violation of true Randian dogma. One of the mantras in Atlas Shirked, I mean Shrugged, was ” your guns for our brains ” – in other words those on mind strike – the brainy elite – ” do you hear me John Galt ?” – would dictate a gunless society run by the brainiacs. This however presupposes that a movement has enough intellectual gravitas to make the ” moochers ” – Rand’s term for the other 99.99999% of folks – fear the loss of the wonderful inventions such folks expel from various orifices daily.
      The baggers, however, realize that their supply of guns and brains are in disequilibrium, and have opted to keep that portion with which they are inordinately blessed, and the rest of us are cursed.

  5. mikeinportc says:

    “Why doesn’t anyone besides Greenwald ever bring this up? If you are going to go to the wall to defend your freedom to have a gun, and the risks associated with that, why not go to the wall to defend your right to be unprotected by Homeland Securty?”

    Because they’re ( mostly) authoritarians at heart. They hate the government that taxes them , but love what it pays for , i.e, when it punishes other people . Don’t get the connection either. Don’t see that the same ( ” @$$#0($!”) ones responsible for tax policy are also responsible for the rest . Don’t trust/believe anything that comes out of D.C.,Albany,Harrisburg, etc, about the former, but if it involves ” security” , they tend to swallow it whole, unquestioning, and cheer it on. I’ve tried to get to that point multiple times,with several, but usually can’t get anywhere near it. One time I did, it went right over their heads without registering. Thought I was making a different point, because the thought to question it didn’t even occur.

    In an another conversation with one , about Wikileaks* , I made some point about the power achieved , by pols & pundits, and the profit made, by endlessly continuing the Great AfPak Adventure . ” Profit? What profit? ” He’s older than me, and that that thought hadn’t occurred. Considered it, for the moment, until work intervened, but seemed quite skeptical of the idea .

    * A bit of an outlier . Thinks the Tea Party is a fraud, & front/dupe of the GOP, wants to kill all Muslims, clearly remembers the epic fail of Reagan, & the relative prosperity of the Clinton era, and seems to despise anybody that goes on strike, about anything. -???????. Saw this, before they changed things, and the “like” of WL was displayed more prominently. Made a joke about it, then got serious. “Hates” government, but outraged by somebody actually challenging it . ????? :)

    • retzilian says:

      It’s the 27% of the people in any given group without critical thinking skills. I suppose I’m being generous – there are more than 27% of THEM who are blithering idiots.

      Some congnitive dissonance, I guess. It’s hard for THEM to see the conflict that their “Don’t Tread on Me” slogan and Homeland Security apparatus presents.

      I don’t have a lot of interaction with people who subscribe to authority without some disagreement or complaint. I don’t know how this authoritarian mindset really works beyond the media, except in the case of the 27%ers.

  6. I would like to republish this post on zero hedge together with some images I will gin up. Would you be amenable to this.

    WB7

    williambanzai7@gmail.com

  7. retzilian says:

    Last night, for some reason I decided to watch “The Fisher King” with Jeff Bridges & Robin Williams, and I didn’t even know what it was about, except that it involved homeless guys in NYC.

    And wouldn’t you know, there it was, life imitating art again. The Jeff Bridges character (Jack) plays a shock-jock, Howard Stern-like but more nihilistic and something he tells a regular caller leads to a bloodbath.

    Does he go on TV and defend himself? (No Facebook in 1991). No. He falls apart, turns into a drunken loser, and meets Robin Williams under a bridge who appears to be some kind of lunatic bum, but who is actually a survivor of the massacre on the night club inspired by Jack’s rant.

    Anyway, I haven’t finished watching the movie (it’s too intense to sit thorugh in one sitting for me), but it was remarkable how even a character assh*le like Jack demonstrates more humanity and remorse than Sarah Palin. Maybe someone should mail her a copy of it.

  8. mikeinportc says:

    OT, here’s that other MLK speech, that seems to have disappeared down the MSM’s memory hole. ( If recent years are any indication.)

    http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkatimetobreaksilence2.htm

  9. retzilian says:

    http://retzilian.com/?p=409

    FWIW, I wrote a new entry today for the first time in awhile. I had to weigh in on the latest “Tiger Mom” controversy, since I am the world’s slackerest slacker mom.

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