Suffering From Anti-TARP Syndrome

 | Jan 18, 2012 | 6:41 AM EST  | Comments
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Bazooka. We ought to ban that term, Bazooka. It's not operable. We first heard the bazooka term from Hank Paulson, the Treasury Secretary who doesn't get enough credit for coming up with TARP, which fixed the U.S. bank crisis even as it is reviled by politicians, many of whom can afford to badmouth it because they can always argue it wasn't necessary.

Europe's saying it's not necessary. Europe learned the political lesson from our country. If you voted for something as great as TARP you are still fighting for your political life. So if you were pro-bazooka you are anti-holding-office.

In Europe that means no bazooka. So today, when the IMF announces a proposal for a $1 trillion lending boost, the commentators break out the bazooka term again. Give it a rest. The IMF doesn't have any bazookas either.

Here's what the IMF has: enough noise to make it so, once again, you feel like a dope if you don't get into these myriad bond auctions in Europe. The IMF makes it so you don't leave the table. That's what Merkel keeps doing with her proposals that I wrote about here yesterday. They are just trying to keep everything going until the austerity programs are in place and taxes are collected.

What the bears will come out and say is that any time you ever see the IMF put out its dollars, the first dollars are always losers and nothing good happens. So you will actually hear all day NEGATIVES about this $1 trillion boost.

Of course,  it isn't negative. But it isn't TARP either, which was what was needed and will never happen.

Incremental.

More incremental.

So far incremental makes things dicier than we would like.

But that's just the way it is and we will have to get used to incremental moves in Europe, in part as a legacy to how poorly TARP was received and the legacy of hatred for this unbelievably smart bazooka program.

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