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Geithner, Paulson grilled on what they knew about AIG payments

UPDATED at 3 p.m.

The current and former Treasury secretaries got a classic Capitol Hill grilling today over bailed-out insurance giant AIG and the secrecy surrounding the disclosure that AIG's counter-parties would get get full value for what they were owed.

Documents that have emerged in recent weeks suggest that AIG was urged by the New York Federal Reserve not to disclose the fact; presumably, to hold off public and lawmaker outrage.

As former head of the New York Fed, Treasury Secretary Tim Geither was called before the Oversight and Government Reform committee and asked what he knew about the secrecy.

Geithner repeated what he has been saying: When he was nominated to take over Treasury, Geithner recused himself from day-to-day operations of the New York Fed and dealings with particular companies. Therefore, he knew nothing.

Under intense and pointed questioning from lawmakers of both parties, however, Geithner finally allowed: "In retrospect, I wish I had known, frankly."

Former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson followed Geithner and said he was unaware of who AIG's counter-parties were, given that was under the auspices of the New York Fed and the Federal Reserve.

Some lawmakers weren't buying it.

Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) said it "boggles the mind" to imagine that Paulson didn't know what was going on.

"It makes me want to think that some clerk some place was making these decisions," Burton said.

Paulson wraps up testimony

1:35 p.m.: Former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson just wrapped up testifying on the Hill before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the AIG bailout and what appears to be efforts at the New York Fed to hide AIG payments to counter-parties with government bailout money.

Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) said it "really boggles the mind" that Paulson and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said that they didn't know about certain parts of the AIG bailout. "It makes me want to think that some clerk some place was making these decisions," Burton said, getting off a good line. Find that clerk!

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) asked why he didn't push for Bear Stearns creditors to get 100 cents on the dollar, the way AIG's did.

"I had no knowledge of the size of the claim of any bank...and no decision in payments to counter-parties," Paulson said.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) tried to press Paulson on when he changed his mind on the original bailout, from using the $700 billion to buy toxic assets to injecting it directly into banks.

Paulson, as he has said before, said he changed his mind virtually as the vote was underway.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) asked Paulson if he knows that a lot of America believes there's a Wall Street "club," and "you all play golf together" and then "pass out the billions."

"Even though I'm not a golfer, I sure know that's how people feel," Paulson said.

Paulson explains how jobs would have been lost with AIG failure

1:05 p.m.: Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) asked how the average person would been harmed if AIG had failed.

Paulson: "They would have lost jobs..."

Tierney interrupted: "How, how would that have happened?"

Paulson: "What I believe, we were at around the time of the AIG rescue, the markets were frozen, even blue-chip industrials were having trouble financing. We were on the brink. If AIG had gone down, I believe that we would have had a situation where Main Street companies would not have been able to raise money for their basic funding. They would have had to let employees go and employees would not have been able to pay their bills."

Paulson: AIG failure could have driven U.S. unemployment to 25 percent

12:52 p.m.: Former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson has begun his testimony, saying he believes the AIG bailout was a good idea. If we hadn't bailed out AIG, Paulson says, unemployment could have hit its Depression-era high of 25 percent.

The takeaway on Geithner's testimony: He said he didn't know about the secrecy around the counter-party payments to AIG that gave its creditors 100 cents on the dollar of government bailout money but, in retrospect, wishes he had.

Geithner: I wish I had known about AIG counter-party payments

12:42 p.m.: Geithner just said that he wished he had known about the secrecy regarding the AIG payments to counter-parties: "In retrospect, I wish I had known, frankly."

Rep. Jordan: Why the secrecy? Geithner: I don't know.

12:39 p.m.: Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) finally asked the question I think a lot of people have been waiting for: "Why the secrecy relative to disclosure? If it's that important...why in the heck not disclose it when it's happening? And frankly, why weren't you involved?"

Geithner said: "I think reasonable people looking back at this could say, 'Why wasn't this possible sooner?' I think it's a reasonable question. All I can say is what I was understand was involved in.[sic] And I was not involved in discussion about, decisions about what to do with that particular transaction the counter-parties or the details."

Jordan pressed: Do you support the decision of your colleagues to withhold the information.

Geithner: "It is very hard to put yourself in shoes you did not occupy. I do not feel like I can put myself in their shoes."

Rep. McHenry to Geithner: You have not reached out to GOP

12:14 p.m.: Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) told Geithner: "You have not reached out to Republicans on the Financial Services committee." Geithner: "That is not true."

Rep. Kaptur working the Goldman-government conspiracy angle

11:58 a.m.: Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) is making the point that the head of the New York Fed is elected by private banks. Geithner says, "it's slightly more complicated than that." She's not buying it. She's also trying to further the link between government and Goldman Sachs that some have maintained is too close. Geithner is trying to stop her from doing that, "What you're trying to do..." he is protesting," but she is cutting him off. Now she's going into Geithner's phone records, noting he made several calls to Goldman Sachs.

Geithner is fighting back:

"You are suggesting that the people involved in this were not acting in the public interest and you are suggesting they were working for the private interest, and that is not true. I would never, and I believe none of those individuals, would ever be part of any decision like that. And I think these people were of enormous experience and integrity operating under enormous, exceptional circumstances with no precedent, doing the best they could in the public interest."

Rep. Lynch gives Geithner blistering tongue-lashing

11:38 a.m.: Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) is asking Geithner why the federal government let Bear Stearns fail because taxpayer money was involved, yet propped up AIG when taxpayer money was involved. And why the federal government allowed AIG counter-parties to get paid at 100 cents on the dollar.

He unleashed a classic stemwinder of outrage, stabbing his finger at Geithner and yelling. Here's the bulk of Lynch's rant, with some edits:

"We don't negotiate a nickel, not a cent, off of what they're getting. You're supposed to be negotiating on behalf of the American people. You're saying, 'Oh. The regulations were different.' Let me tell you something: We were changing the rules and regulations every single day. We were taking action...you had every every opportunity -- every opportunity -- to weigh in on behalf of the American people and make these people take a new deal, make them take a haircut. You scalped the folks on Bear Stearns -- two cents on a dollar they got, two cents on a dollar! The folks at Goldman Sachs got 100 cents on a dollar. And that is just unacceptable. Totally unacceptable. I think it was a terrible decision on your part, and Mr. Paulson's part....It just stinks to the high heaven, what happened here, and I don't like the obfuscation and to top it all off, the disclosure was not there to tell the American people and to tell this congress what was going on and this is just inexcusable and it makes me doubt your commitment to the American people... I think the commitment to Goldman Sachs trumped the commitment to the American people."

Phew!

Geithner responded: "I respect your opinion, I know you hold those opinions strongly, but I completely disagree. The American taxpayer would not have been better off if the government had made it possible for equity holders in Bear Stearns to get more money. The American taxpayer would not have been better off if we had let AIG default. None of us did anything out of any concern..."

Lynch interrupted: "There's a difference between giving them 100 cents on the dollar and letting them default. This was a new game. You were creating new facilities every week...we were changing the rules day by day. And we had the banks at a position where we could have exercised a lot of leverage and you chose not to do it."

Geithner: "I disagree with you..."

Lynch: "That doesn't mean we have to pay them 100 cents on the dollar or let them fail. There are increments here. And we never used this leverage."

Geithner: "Not in this case." And then launched into an explanation of why the government didn't have the authority to do with AIG what it did with Bear Stearns. But Lynch wasn't buying it.

Lynch: "When Hank Paulson pulled nine banks into a room and said 'You're taking bailout money,' that was extraordinary action. He could have done the same thing negotiating a better rate on behalf of the American taxpayer."

Geithner answered by saying: The only way you can impose haircuts is if you're willing to let the firm fail. It's a gamble, he said. The government was willing to let Bear Stearns fail, but not AIG.

Geithner: We bailed out AIG to save Main Street

11:15 a.m.: Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) just took at swipe at Geithner, suggesting the AIG prop-up was for the benefit of Goldman Sachs.

Geithner bristled in his response and said something that may linger with him for awhile -- we bailed out Wall Street to help Main Street. If Geithner can successfully make this connection and sell it to the American people, he will be the first:

"It is not true that the actions we took at AIG were for the benefit of anybody but the millions of Americans who at that point were suffering from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The only way to help reduce that damage was to fix the system. that is the only motive that underpinned these actions by the government."

Republicans lay the wood to Geithner

11:08 a.m.: Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is now pulling out slides of e-mails from Geithner to others. Drama!

The e-mail shows that Geithner wrote to a former colleague at the Fed on March 15: "Where are you on the counter-party disclosure?" Geithner said he was merely following up on the very controversial issue. Issa unconvinced.

Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Penn.) is quoting Shakespeare's "Julius Caeser" and rehashing Brett Favre's game-changing interception in last weekend's NFC championship game. Okay, then! And then he used much of the rest of his five minutes of question time to toss Geithner a big, fat softball question.

Now, Kanjorski is speculating that "law and order" may not have been able to have been maintained in the United States had the government not stepped in to bail out Wall Street when it did. Makes you wonder what sort of post-apocalyptic Mad Max scenarios Kanjorski has in his head.

Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) is bringing the wood. He quoted Geithner's former legal counsel at the New York Fed, writing: "I don't know if there's any way to manage it so Congress won't release it," referring to the counter-party information.

Burton then asked Geithner if his legal counsel had the authority to make these sorts of statements without approval from his boss at the time, Geithner. Burton is clearly trying to establish that Geithner actually did know about keeping the counter-party payments secret.

"Of course," Geithner said.

"Regarding something of this import?" Burton pressed.

"Of course," Geithner repeated.

Burton then read a Nov. 11 internal N.Y. Fed memo reading, "we do not want to disclose the concession is at par unless absolutely necessary" and asked Geithner if he was familiar with it. No, Geithner said, but said he had "enormous trust and confidence" in the people who did.

Burton: "Do you still maintain that you weren't involve in any of this?"

Geithner: "Yes, absolutely."

Burton wound up with his accusation: "It stretches credulity for us to believe that you had no role in this and didn't know anything about it when your attorney and the people who worked for you were sending e-mails all around the place and you were the head of the [N.Y.] Fed and you didn't know anything about it? it just doesn't make any sense to me."

We still don't know who did authorize keeping AIG payments secret

10:50 a.m.: Geithner, frowning, combative, feverishly defending his colleagues at N.Y. Fed and their conduct in trying to save AIG. They would never use their position for private benefit, he said.

Committee chairman Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) pressed Geithner on whether he had a role in keeping AIG payments to counter-parties secret.

"I had no role," Geithner said. Of course, he added, others at the N.Y. Fed did.

Well, then, who were they? Perhaps we'll learn today.

Issa: We don't believe Geithner entered 'cone of silence'

10:25 a.m.: Committee chairman Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), in a particularly colorful turn of phrase, said that 100 percent payments to AIG counter-parties amounted to "looting the corpse."

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the committee's ranking member, is bringing in some big guns who are not on the committee, including Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) to join the questioning.

Issa reminded the committee that AIG founder Hank Greenberg has testified that he thought that bankruptcy would have been a better solution than the government bailout. And Greenberg was the largest shareholder in AIG.

Issa noted that the AIG payments to counter-parties "likely will never be repaid to the American people."

Issa said: "Many people, including members of this committee, have a hard time believing Secertary Geithner entered into an absolute cone of silence, for those of us old enough to remember that, on the day his nomination was announced."

I'm going to be live-blogging this event, so keep checking back here for updates. Also, I'll be sending out headlines from the hearing on my Twitter account at theticker, so sign up to follow me there, if you haven't already.

Geithner: We had pay counter-parties full value

10:07 a.m.: Here's the chunk of Geithner's testimony where he defends the 100 percent AIG payments to counter-parties:

"Some have suggested that the FRBNY should have used its regulatory authority, or some other means, to effectively coerce AIG’s counterparties to accept concessions. This was not a viable option either. Once a company refuses to meet its full obligations to a customer, other customers will quickly find other places to do business. If we had sought to force counterparties to accept less than they were legally entitled to, market participants would have lost confidence in AIG and the ratings agencies would have downgraded AIG again. This could have led to the company’s collapse, threatened our efforts to rebuild confidence in the financial system, and meant a deeper recession, more financial turmoil, and a much higher cost for American taxpayers."

And here's Geithner's out:

"Starting on November 24, I withdrew from involvement in monetary policy decision, policies involving individual institutions, and day-to-day management of FRBNY. In accordance with established practice, my colleagues at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, led by the First Vice President, Christine Cumming, carried out the day-to-day management decisions in close cooperation with their colleagues in at the Federal Reserve Board."

Former Treasury secretary Hank Paulson also will be testifying. Here's the relevant part of his testimony:

"I have limited knowledge on the topic of immediate interest to the Committee, but I will share my observations."

I wonder whether the committee is hearing from the right people.

Follow me on Twitter at @theticker

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 27, 2010; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: AIG, Darrell Issa, Hank Greenberg, Tim Geithner  
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Comments

We should do to Geithner what we do with all traitors and domestic terrorists.

Posted by: geezjan | January 27, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse


What's new? They are covering their royal backsides and they will get away with it because those who are questioning them
do not have unblemished records either.

As long as members of Congress take money from special interest groups they cannot be relied upon to protect interests of ordinary Americans.

Posted by: probashi | January 27, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Did anybody measure the length of Tim "Tax Cheat" Geithner's nose, before and after his testimony?

Where is Joe Wilson when we need him to stand up and shout "You Lie!!!!"

Posted by: pKrishna43 | January 27, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

The testimony given by Geithner himself is very damaging. I expect he will be advised to step down.

Posted by: jameschirico | January 27, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Better do that to Paulson too, Mr. Geezjan.

"I have limited knowledge on the topic of immediate interest to the Committee, but I will share my observations."

I'm guessing Mr. Paulson has some of the most full knowledge of what transpired than any other American.

He's also walking away with some of the money.

from Wikipedia:
He is a Republican and he previously served as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs.

Posted by: vigor | January 27, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

His testimony and the Dems fixes which he agrees with will stop all the progress Brown made for the GOP in November. All House GOP members voted against the fixes which will have a price to pay.

Posted by: jameschirico | January 27, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I am watching his grilling. Why does the damn fool have a constant smirk?

Watch him. You can see him making up things as he speaks.

The only man in the world that can save the global financial structure.

Ah, but first, he had to destroy it.

Posted by: pKrishna43 | January 27, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Geithner was worried about the collapse of international banking as a reason for not letting AIG default lowering their credit rating forcing bankruptcy. Without bankruptcy he said he did not have the tools to break up AIG's profitable business from the London gamblers. It seems to me bankruptcy was the way to go and only protect U.S. financials with the bailout. Foreign banks not bailed out by their governments collapse giving far more market share to the American financials.

Posted by: jameschirico | January 27, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Cheat geithner is an accomplished liar;
he will (with obama’s help) get through it.

Posted by: UpAndOver | January 27, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Paulson too said bankruptcy could not have protected AIG's American insured. I hope someone asks if they were allowed to become bankrupt, could not action been taken to pay off the U.S. liabilities from the London office. Then the cat will be out of the bag.

Posted by: jameschirico | January 27, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Wall Street and Goldman Sachs, with the help of their alumni in the government, will kill any attempt at sensible re-regulation.

However, next time when their speculative casino bets go bad and they got their hands out, Uncle Sam will be broke.

Posted by: mongolovesheriff | January 27, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Rep Souter, he just let the cat out of the bag.

Posted by: jameschirico | January 27, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

The smoking gun:

"...the top Republican on the committee, Representative Darrell Issa of California, asked if Mr. Geithner had “ever become involved with the Federal Reserve’s disclosure decisions with respect to counterparty claims” after he was nominated Treasury secretary.

“No, I did not,” Mr. Geithner said.

Mr. Issa promptly pulled up a slide showing a March 2009 e-mail message in which Mr. Geithner asked William C. Dudley, his successor at the New York Fed: “Where are you on the A.I.G. counterparty issue?”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/28/business/28aig.html?pagewanted=2&hp

Posted by: WhatHeSaid | January 27, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Better late than never I suppose. I do wonder why Geithner gave Goldman Sachs 100 cents (on the dollar) for those AIG securities that Goldman valued on their books at 67 cents (on the dollar). Other than the obvious reason, of course. If Geithner answers that, please somebody post it here. Thanks.

Posted by: shadowmagician | January 27, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Obama based on another cat out of the bag question with the president of national insurers statement on AIG bankruptcy has no choice but to ask for Geithner's resignation. At last a congress working for the people.

Posted by: jameschirico | January 27, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

As much as I hate to admit it Geithner is right. If we hadn't bailed out those banks we would likely have seen a financial crash.

My issue with the Administration is that they didn't use the fear at the time to make the necessary changes to the market to prevent the next crisis. Now with things looking better than they did before, I fear both the Democrats and Republicans will not be willing to make real changes.

Posted by: moebius22 | January 27, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Bailing out the banks could have been done by the Fed. without bailing out AIG, a fact the Goldman agents say was impossible with a bankruptcy wind down. Barofsky said the American taxpayer took on the responsibility to guarantee the worlds financials by the Federal Reserves decisions with no re-structure of debt to counter-parties. Baxter the Fed. lawyer says after the initial saving from bankruptcy they could not threaten bankruptcy with the second infusion of 40 billion. The same Fed. that sent AIG an E-mail about maybe not disclosing what these hearings have made quite apparent.

Posted by: jameschirico | January 27, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Why did Hank Paulson want to include a Blanket Immunity in the Original Trillion Dollar TARP?

Posted by: walker1 | January 27, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Baxter just said the Fed. would have had trouble getting approval to pay 100% on the dollar for CDS/CDO payments. That is exactly the point, we should not have done that.

Posted by: jameschirico | January 27, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

These chumps should have been asking tough questions at the time of this fiasco. This is just a blowhard session.......

Posted by: goziner | January 27, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Baxter just said disclosure would endanger the taxpayer investment of the securities held by having hedge funds "game them". The Federal Reserve Bank is a privately held corporation that does not have to trade with the same hedge funds if their price is too low.

Posted by: jameschirico | January 27, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Friedman head of NY Fed buy an additional 37,000 shares of Goldman. He sees no conflict of interest. On the board of Fed. Governors and the board of Goldman making extra profit on an additional 37,000 shares. A full audit of the Fed. is not necessary, it's abolishing is the way to correct this abuse.

Posted by: jameschirico | January 27, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Read this article and you'll know how the economy tanked. Wasn't Carter, Clinton OR Obama

http://realtytimes.com/rtpages/20020624_bushplan.htm

Posted by: blarsen1 | January 27, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

These two bozo's warned that without the AIG bailout we would have 25% unemployment. News flash! We HAVE 25% unemployment. The only reason that isn't reported is because the government massages the numbers, cooks the books, lies to us. If they counted unemployment using the traditional methodology used here, or even the method used in Europe, we would show 25% unemployment. And, shame on the Post and the author of this story for not reporting that little fact.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | January 27, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

All such congressional hearings are joke.

Members of the committee ask questions, corner these people and get answers. And nothing happens. Newspapers write articles and express themselves. That is where it ends.

These people go home and continue to do the same thing for some other issue.

Posted by: 68b2b | January 27, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Where were all of these currently outraged Congresspersons when the taxpayer dollars were doled out.......................... AND with NO RESTRICTIONS?

Posted by: PhillyEagles | January 27, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

They claim ... it's all for the good of the nation and they were patriots -- unemployment would have been higher -- house prices would have been lower.

Lower house prices are bad for all the home-owners that pay all the taxes!

Paulson and Geithner are hiding behind all these home-owners and the unemployment excuse -- this was the largest transfer of wealth from the tax payers to the ultra-rich-Goldman Sachs ------ Well ... all the homeowners just enjoy the home and sleep easy knowing well the next generation work their rear off for this!

Posted by: free_np | January 27, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I do not think Obama will regain credibility unless he fires Tim Geihtner and Larry Summers. He might not realized that there are more then 20 million unemployed people and they are more focussed on what happend during fiancial crises and how it affected their situation.

Unless Obama removes all wallstreet influence (Geithner, Summers and their team) and follow through his committment to reform Fianncial institution(Volcker Rule) he and democrats are TOAST.

Posted by: smart_sha | January 27, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I do not think Obama will regain credibility unless he fires Tim Geihtner and Larry Summers. He might not realized that there are more then 20 million unemployed people and they are more focussed on what happend during fiancial crises and how it affected their situation.

Unless Obama removes all wallstreet influence (Geithner, Summers and their team) and follow through his committment to reform Fianncial institution(Volcker Rule) he and democrats are TOAST.

Posted by: smart_sha | January 27, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Geithner has another problem! Bankers in Europe do not like his and Obama's banking policies!

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard-business/article-23799753-bankers-unite-against-barack-obama-and-gordon-brown-in-a-call-for-world-regulation.do

Thought Obama was going to have all of Europe loving us!!!!!

Posted by: wheeljc | January 27, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

All this talk of creating incentives for businesses to hire more people is really ridiculous. You are basically telling business to get less productive and less competitive. Is this what we want in competing in the global marketplace?
What we ought to be talking about is WEALTH CREATION. Can anyone out there answer this simple question: How is wealth created?
If all you want to create jobs just outlaw locomotives! You'll create millions of jobs for truck drivers - you'll also make the economy far less efficient. Is this what we really want?
We need to be creating wealth and the jobs will take care of themselves. The last thing we want to do is to incentivize businesses to become LESS EFFICIENT! That's just plain stupid! ANd it's also a huge waste of taxpayer money!

Posted by: vince33x | January 27, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

It was reported in the Special IG TARP report several months ago which the IG criticized Geithner for failing to disclose the names of the counter parties (I know who they are)and acting in the role of AIG instead of being the regulator. As a matter of fact Donald Kohn, vice chairman of the FRB, stated he fears harm will come to the companies if they are identified. After being pressed, they finally did and nothing happened to them.
Plus the evidence contradicts what Geithner does.

As usual, nothing will happened because everyone in Congress and the FRBNY is up the creek with these banks and financial firms.

Posted by: beeker25 | January 27, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Very interesting. All the correct posturing by members of Congress. We may have to wait for the Inspector General to complete his reveiew of the TARP debacle.

Unless the president fires him first.

Posted by: 15of18 | January 27, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Geithner and Paulson did a heroic job saving the US economy in 2008.

Congress, on the other hand, has screwed up EVERYTHING it touched since that time. It was a bipartisan effort, too. The Democrats and Republicans all had their heads up their colons.

So to hear a bunch of sanctimonious political hacks now take their feeble, impotent shots at Paulson and Geithner is pretty amusing.

(Dennis Kucinich even jumped in! Dennis Kucinich! They guy who was allowed to come to the Presidential debates in 2008 for one, and only one, reason: so that we could all get off looking at his wife! Sheesh! Doesn't that loser know, we're not laughing WITH him, we're laughing AT him?)

Posted by: trenda | January 27, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

The Great American Taxpayer Heist continues !!

It makes Medicare fraud of $ 60 billion look like the theft of petty cash.

And now we should be eager to have them run ALL of the Nation's healthcare too ??

Posted by: bandcyuk | January 27, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse


Why don't we begin to wonder
if there really was a meltdown...

or whether Goldman Sachs was in trouble and so roiled the ocean to..not only survive, but with their competition wiped out and their troubled derivities repaid, 100 cents, as they say, on the dollar.

In quiet momoments we might wonder if this was aa bigger, an unimaginable scheme.

One remembers the very popular song played on Israeli radio "First We Take New York"...

(like the time they wanted us to go to war in Israel and took over the Pentagon. Wolfowitz comes to mind.

Posted by: whistling | January 27, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

When will Obama fire this crook?? His arrogance before Congress today (Jan 27) was deplorable! How can Obama expect the citizens to have faith and confidence in him, when he surrounds himself with sleazy crooks like Geithner?? Obama is fastly becoming his own biggest problems for not MANNING UP!

Posted by: wheeljc | January 27, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

…shirt and a tie (sung to the tune of pants on the ground)...


…shirt and a tie shirt and a tie…
…walkin down Wall Street in my shirt and a tie…


…shirt and a tie shirt and a tie…
...I can’t play ball cause I’m not an athletic guy…
…I can’t do physical labor but I sure can lie…


…shirt and a tie shirt and a tie…
…my portfolio is fat cause my accountant’s really sly…
…I’m walkin down Wall Street in my shirt and a tie…


…shirt and a tie shirt and a tie…
…my morals are low but my income is high…
…I’m worth one hundred of you but I can’t tell you why…


…shirt and a tie shirt and a tie…
…you can’t outsmart me so don’t even try…
…cause if I don’t get my way I can beg and I can cry…


…shirt and a tie shirt and a tie…
…walkin down Wall Street in my shirt and a tie…

Posted by: moon-base-alpha | January 27, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

They should wire Geithner up to a lie detector test and try again.
It looks like this liar is that baby's daddy.

Posted by: dottydo | January 27, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Bernie Madoff has now been replaced as the biggest crook of all time. Unfortunately, neither Paulson nor Geithner nor Obama will ever have to hold their ankles like Bernie does every day

Posted by: apberusdisvet | January 27, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Wall Street is the biggest casino in the country, and the house can never lose. The stock market unless an initial offering creates nothing of real value; it is dependent on the greater fool theory. They are determined to keep as many people in the dark about this as possible. Ponzi should have had it so good.

They have been operating with obscene risk, under the blind eye of regulators. Greedy and short sighted they are interested in quarterly performance only, and the bonuses that generates. They have no interest in sustainable operation. They operate to fail, fail and get bailed out. It's a win/win.

They seem to have made a successful pact with Satan. Being unconscionable works for them.

A.I.G and Goldman Sachs are two of the biggest perpetrators of this crime against the nation. They and all the others should be labeled terrorists.

The influence K street has on all of this being allowed to happen is obvious. They hand out the money and our elected officials dance for them...it is a lewd dance.

Posted by: Billy1932 | January 27, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Paulson, "Main Street" gets its funding from "retained earnings." Successful small businesses aren't running their businesses through credit. Main Street needed AIG no more than it needed Lehman Brothers.

Proud to have Congressman Issa kicking Geithner around! Geithner is now demonstrably a liar.

Obama and Geithner are disappointments. No change from what we've had from the preceding 8 years. Geithner should go and join Dick Cheney: away from us.

Posted by: Nebolex | January 27, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

AIG, Goldman Sachs, most banks and corporate America: guilty of treason.

Posted by: revbookburn | January 27, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

How about Paulson and Aksari?

All these guys came from Goldman Sachs?

Geithner must be clueless and took all wall street honchos advise and saved wall street. If they woiuld not have bailed out wall street the unemployment in wall street would have been 99%.

Posted by: VoterfromIL | January 28, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

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