the greatest depression

Geithner, Where’s the Beef?

After Timothy Geithner laid out his highly anticipated plan for restoring the crippled financial system this morning, the Dow became violently ill and fell over 300 points. Not a great reception! The problem, as we pointed out earlier, is that investors were hoping for something a little more specific. And they weren’t the only ones. Behold the mostly lukewarm reactions to Geithner’s speech.

• Felix Salmon says Geithner’s speech “was surprising only in its vagueness. It’s been over 11 weeks since Obama’s announcement, and this is the best that Geithner can come up with?” [Market Movers/Portfolio]

• Justin Fox thinks Geithner’s message “was that, while he had no big plan to solve the financial crisis in one fell swoop, he intended to proceed with more clarity and transparency than his predecessor. Which shouldn’t be too hard.” [Curious Capitalist/Time]

• Robert Reich writes that Geithner had two goals this morning: to “raise public confidence in the whole idea of bailing out the banking system” and to “raise the confidence of capital markets sufficiently to get investors to buy the banks’ toxic assets.” Geithner’s vagueness was understandable, but it “works against him in terms of both objectives.” [Talking Points Memo]

• Josh Marshall calls it a “punt.” “Perhaps they realized that the situation is too fluid and uncertain to come out with a definitive plan that brings us to the post–Economic Crisis promised land.” [Talking Points Memo]

• Tom Petruno notes that Geithner “didn’t go much beyond the basic concept that had already leaked out over the weekend.” [Money & Co./LAT]

• Megan McArdle “expected a little more than telling us that he wanted to spend a lot of money to help banks clean up their balance sheets. We knew that much already.” [Atlantic]

• Phil Izzo compiles some more economist reactions. [Real Time Economics/WSJ]

• Joe Weisenthal draws parallels between the market’s reaction to Geithner’s speech and the panic spurred in November by the government’s response to the Lehman collapse. [Clusterstock]

• Floyd Norris goes the complete other way, claiming that “Geithner hit all the right notes in his speech on the new bailout plan today,” and that it’s “clear that he and his colleagues have given a lot of thought to what failed to work last year, and learned from the experience.” [NYT]

Geithner, Where’s the Beef?