For over a week the Obama
administration has played up its comprehensive financial stability plan that
Treasury Secretary Geithner would unveil this week (moved from Monday to
Tuesday for reasons that still seem curiousâ€¦told because the admin needed to
focus on the Senate vote on the fiscal packageâ€¦by that standard why not
Wednesday for the speech as Senate had yet to vote on the stimulus by the time
Geithner spoke today).
Okay back to messageâ€¦the
government fuelled market expectations ahead of the plan/speech and risk assets
rallied. Presumably people like Obama, Geithner and Summers knew
this. Then why did they offer up such a dud of an outline of a supposedly
comprehensive financial stability plan when all it amounted to was a blank
canvas? I could not help but think of the Senator from Alaska Sarah Palin
telling Katie Couric that she would get back to ya when asked about what
Supreme Court decision in the nationâ€™s history she found profound.
Todayâ€™s speech had all the
rushed look and feel of something that we came to expect from former Treasury
Secretary Paulson. We donâ€™t need to know about broad outlines of a bad
bank at this late stage of the crisis. Indeed the Treasury seems to have
gotten the messageâ€¦look at the tape for deep background with reporters around
1740GMT which offered up far more specifics, albeit still inadequate, on the
public-private bad bank concept.
I feel like I am a victim
(okay I own up to believing these guys know something to recommend a long bank
stock trade today on this speech) of bait and switch. I cam expecting a
Romanee Conti and was served Two Buck Chuck. Actually I feel
For future US Treasury
announcements from â€śexperiencedâ€ť people like Treasury Secretary Geithner and
NEC Director Summers, try setting up a focus group of Wall Street and Main
Street representatives (excluding the deceitful heads of Wall Street
institutions) to offer immediate feedback before going live and use the focus
group to tweak the message if you ever want to be taken seriously again.
Again I blame myself for
believing the new cast of characters in Washington has a clue about markets. I learned today not
to make that assumption. My hope is that this cast of characters, unlike
the last set, learns from mistakes. Start with focus groups. Seek
feedback. Donâ€™t make policy in a bubble and donâ€™t make it with the
perpetrators of the crisis as our last Treasury Secretary was prone to do.
If you (Geithner, Summers
and Obama) want good ideas and more importantly good feedback call me.
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