November 25th, 2008
09:49 PM ET

That's trillion, with a "T"

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/11/25/transition.wrap/art.paulson.geithner.jpg caption="Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson sits down with Timothy Geithner on Tuesday."]
Jennifer Donahue
NHIOP Political Director & Harvard IOP Fellow

You can't blame President Bush for not dealing with the economic crisis. You can blame Secretary Paulson for not putting a mechanism in the $700 billion bailout plan Congress passed without building in the enforcement that banks actually provide some of that money to borrowers.

You can also now see that with Tim Geithner coming in from New York, Paulson's old stomping ground, he is focused on creating more than a handout to banks, but something that will allow businesses and families to borrow again.

That is economic stimulus. Some experts project the economy may need up to 3 trillion of it - yes, that's trillion with a T.

From his "Office of the President-Elect" podium, Obama is showing that he is already on the job. This was enough to rally the market yesterday.

That doesn't mean the economy is fixed – it means the Street wants liquidity, and confirms that the Obama and Bush administrations may be working together to get that money out of the banks and into the economy.

Filed under: Barack Obama • Economy • Jennifer Donahue • Raw Politics
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Sandra Bierman

    Samuel's suggestion, above, makes sense!

    November 26, 2008 at 12:48 pm |
  2. Samuel

    I have a question? I know it may sound stupid but here goes. Why can't the government just give everyone who pay's taxes in america a large lump sum to pay off there toxic debt. now hear me out before u get on me. There are approximately 250-300 million people in america, if everyone can get at least a !/4 of a miliion voucher/cash from the government to pay off there debts it would help main street and wall street because these banks willl get back there money. This is how it should work First start with people who pay taxes for tracking purposes and accounting, these vouchers/payments will only be acknowledge by banking institutions... so you go in to your bank give your information and the bank contacts the government to recieve their money on your behalf ..so you actually don't get the money but you can still pay off your debts. Secondly work with people who dont pay taxes Retirees, people on welfare and go down the line from there. i was just thinking of something because I hear 700 billion , 500 billion, a trillion and the average american has about 50 to 100,000 of debt.. so what do you guys think .... just an idea

    November 26, 2008 at 10:11 am |
  3. Gene Penszynski from Vermont

    P.S. by the way Cindy .......... Granted looks like congress was once again railroaded into passing some legislation that wasn't well crafted but How stupid is G W Bush for not putting it in there ? ... but I guess I can understand this from him and those Conservative Republicans since they could all care less about Middle Class America.

    November 26, 2008 at 8:30 am |
  4. Jason

    The new administration can't start soon enough, can they?

    November 25, 2008 at 9:29 pm |
  5. Mari in NW Indiana

    Well, this is what happens when the inmates run the alylum for 8 years. I think we finally found the weapons of mass destruction.......they're the George W. Bush Republican Party of the last 8 years.

    November 25, 2008 at 9:13 pm |
  6. Shari Thomas

    The quickest way to create liquidity is to have a "debt jubilee". That means take the "bailout money" and put it in the hands of consumers to pay off credit card debt, and auto debt.

    The money will flow upwards into the banks and help re-capitalize these institutions.

    After that, change consumer credit law so that credit cards are not available to the consumer, only to business.

    Will it be painful to live within out means? Maybe yes, maybe no if you have an immediate 18% jump in your own discretionary spending.

    November 25, 2008 at 8:35 pm |
  7. mike

    It's true, the economy moves ahead when banks lend money to consumers and clearly, that's NOT happening now.
    We have been particularly hit badly in that our business was in real estate investments. As our rental properties began to fail, because our tenants were in the mortgage or real estate business, their problems became our problems. Our cash dried up and all 10 of our properties went into foreclosure, as our banks failed to extend any credit, or equity lines to us. Our FICO score has now been destroyed, our cash is gone, we've lost our primary home, we have 1 home in a short sale, 4 have been auctioned and we are doing our best to hold onto at least 1 home for us to live in, all the remaining are awaiting foreclosure auctions in January. We have taken in friends to rent rooms in our home, and are looking for jobs to keep us going. We are praying that Countrywide's national home retention program keeps us in our home and that other banks are forced to follow their lead. We lost tenants in our other properties because as we went into the foreclosure process, the banks scared away our tenants with auction notices, destroying our ability to make future payments.

    So what are we to do now? We have NO ability to borrow, no one is lending, our investment properties are empty, they're heading into foreclosure and the banks don't care about what they did to lose our tenants, we haven't found work, we have been turned down for food stamps, we're over 50 and lost all our cash, and I'm over-qualified for everything, I'm an engineer with an MBA....what's a guy with a regular education going to do?

    November 25, 2008 at 8:31 pm |
  8. Tonia

    Does anyone think that the economic stimulus figure might best stimulate the economy by doling it out to homeowners with mortgages or homeowners with car loans??? What better way to stimulate spending than to have some of your debt paid off!
    How does anyone know that any amount of corporate bailout money will even work? People with debts are still going to be way too skiddish to spend money very soon. I don't see it working.

    November 25, 2008 at 7:23 pm |
  9. Carmen

    Well Tim Geithner has been there during the entire bailout/rescue process. Advantage: He knows whats going on. Disadvantage, Paulson and the Bush administration can pass along the blame unfortunately.

    November 25, 2008 at 7:15 pm |
  10. PT6

    It was said during the campaign that Bush-Cheney doubled the NATIONAL DEBT to $10 Trillion.

    Now Bloomberg did an analysis and found that Bush-Cheney along with Bernake and Paulson have given out, loaned or traded for equity in AIG and the BANKS the STAGGERING AMOUNT OF

    $7.76 TRILLION – in BAILOUTS and LOANS!

    Basically that $10 Trillion deficit is now $17.76 Trillion!

    So he entered with the US at a $5 Trillion Debt and caused a $12.76 Trillion Increase in Debt
    a 255% increase.

    Where can we PUT THESE GUYS for questioning?

    November 25, 2008 at 6:59 pm |
  11. Rich Stockton

    Has our government lost its mine? We recently granted 700 billion dollars to bail out our finance institutions. What have they done with that money? I hear today that we are looking to grant another 800 billion dollars to bail out our mortgage institutions. Unless my math fails me, that amounts to 1.5 trillion dollars. By anyones standards that is a lot of tax payer money being sent to large financial institutions ad mortgage companies. From what I have seen and heard, it appears that handing money over to these companies is just throwing in down the drain. How much of that money is, or will ever make it down to the people who really need it ? Just recently, we had AIG spending money for a get away in Las Vages. Now I hear that Cit-Corp. in spending 400 million bail dollars for the naming rights for the new Mets Stadiun. That is going to help economy, right? This entire bail our approach is absolutely crazy. I may not be the sharpest knife in the draw, but it the government really wants to jump start the economy, why in the world don't they approve a real simulus package that puts the money the hands of the consumer. Let's face it, $5000 in the hands of each household would be a lot cheaper than what is being proposed, and would go a hell of lot futher in getting this economy back on its feet than giviing to financial institutions and mortgage companies.

    Under Ronald Reagen we had trickle down economies. Now we have trickle down bail outs. When is our government every going to learn that any thing involving trickle down theories don't work.

    Unless President Elect Obama and our congress comes to the realization that getting money into the hands of the individuals abd small companies that will actually spend it on goods and services, we all in for a long and costly recession.

    God help us.


    November 25, 2008 at 6:57 pm |
  12. PT6


    No salary over USA's PRESIDENT'S Pay Package of $1 Million!
    Excess Salary over $2 Million goes to Fannie and Freddie to make Home Loans!
    Track money taken and placed OFF-SHORE by Traders and Bankers who used illegal tools!
    Internet Automation of "Big Bankers" out of existence! They clearly serve no purpose as Government is providing all capital!

    November 25, 2008 at 6:57 pm |
  13. Joanne in Ontario Canada

    Too bad Bush can't step aside now and let Barack in early to clean the mess Bush so blatantly left behind.

    November 25, 2008 at 6:54 pm |
  14. PT6


    Even now the TRADERS and Bankers who use Leveraged Shorts to bring down Citi are planning their next target of another Bank or Company! There are not enough trees to print the MONEY needed to Bailout all the victims of these Attacks!

    Also, the Derivatives, Default Swaps, and Hedge Funds must be regulated quickly!

    Hedge Fund Managers make $500,000,000 +or- and do not pay TAX as earned Income!

    But the question on Hedge Fund Managers is should there be a CAP on their Incomes as they used illegal Naked Shorts to drive companies into Bailouts or use illegal Leveraging to push Crude Oil to $147 a barrel?

    It is not just the Europeans but Americans who do not trust America's Markets. So curing these problems must be the TOP Priority!

    November 25, 2008 at 6:53 pm |
  15. PT6

    As long as the Government is providing all FUNDS:

    1. Automate the BIG Banks out of existence!
    2. All loans direct from FED to small Business!, Large Business, Consumers, others at FED Rate +2% or 3%
    3. Internet Automation with Database Links could do 98% of the work with 2% manual effort for final verification.
    4. Avoids CONTROLLING the BANKERS, Reduces Fees to near Zero, Removes Predatory Practices

    November 25, 2008 at 6:51 pm |
  16. JC- Los Angeles

    Your assertion that "you can't blame President Bush for not dealing with the economic crisis" is beyond the pale.

    Although Paulson is as inept as they come and his failure to show any leadership regarding the $700 billion bailout is unfathomable, President Bush runs our nation and must be held accountable.

    The connected few who are born into money, marry into it or somehow politic their way into it, are modern day robber barons who smugly line their pockets while dismissing all others as mere nuisances.

    Once could easily argue that the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay have done less harm to America then our fearless leaders; after all, when three trillion dollars is needed, it's the height of hypocrisy to argue anything else.

    November 25, 2008 at 6:43 pm |
  17. earle,florida

    These banks are collasping under their own weight. They have no money to give back,period! There bloated,comatosed,and dysfunctional. The Bush Administration has taken care of it's fold,feasting on the public's trust, with the leftover scraps on the bottom floor (cellar's a better word) left. Believe it....

    November 25, 2008 at 6:26 pm |
  18. Belinda Dutton

    I now hear that they are thinking of making car loans easier to obtain so that americans will be encouraged to buy a car, but isn't making loans to people that can't afford it the reason why the housing market is the way it is? If americans could afford cars now they would be buying them. How about taking some of the bailout money, giving it to each american family to buy a car so that we can stimulate the economy ourselves. This way, no car payment on the new car, everyone then has dependable transportation and the car industry then profits. By this the actual taxpayers are benefiting. Taxpayers benefiting? What a new concept.

    November 25, 2008 at 6:11 pm |
  19. Cindy

    The banks definitely need to spread the wealth and give out loans to people who can afford them and need them. I can't believe that congress passed that bailout bill without having that put in there! How stupid are they!? UMM..pretty, it seems!


    November 25, 2008 at 5:49 pm |

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