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Dec. 16 2009 - 9:06 am | 278 views | 2 recommendations | 71 comments

TIME’s Person of the Year revealed


msnbc.com:TIME’s Person of the Year revealed.

Well, now I’ve seen everything.


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  1. collapse expand

    It’s so Atlas Shrugged! Just like Cash for Clunkers, Pay Czar, and tax the top 5% income earners. It’s perfect!

    It’s also really a sad state.

    Who is John Galt?

    • collapse expand

      John Galt is a hackneyed, two-dimensional character from the hackneyed, two-dimensional novel Atlas Shrugged by the hackneyed, two-dimensional author Ayn Rand.

      If you honestly think that this shit we’re in isn’t the inevitable consequence of deregulate-everything-government-is-the-problem lunacy that many of your fellow Randroids believe (including Alan Greenspan), you are delusional.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Although Im not a big fan of Rand, I do disagree with your analysis of the situation. From my point of view, the cause of this situation was 3-fold:
        1) Our inflationary monetary policy that allowed the banks to borrow and then loan money at below-market interest rates and thus give loans to people who were not exactly worthy of receiving credit. It also should be mentioned that this would not have been possible if loans were dependent upon savings;
        2) Government pressure to give housing loans to people who, under normal circumstances, would not qualify for said loans;
        3) An implicit guarantee that government would bail out the banks if/when the loans were defaulted

        I’m not a tea-bagger but, in general I would argue that this was at the root of the problem. Do you really think that these banks would make such risky investments if they didnt know that they could play the “too big to fail” card and thus get bailed out. The real problem is the incestuous relationship between the banks and the government.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          Because no bank has ever actually failed, after making short-sighted and risky moves?

          Is that what you’re claiming? That throughout history, the only times that banks have made overly-risky moves were when they knew that they’d be bailed out if they bet wrong?

          Regulations exist because leaving banks to self-regulate turns out to be a bad idea. Alan Greenspan even admitted this, in the end.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
          • collapse expand

            Why dont you explain why? Im not saying that its not true, but it is difficult to take you seriously when you make a statement like that and don’t explain why it is not a good idea.

            I tend to believe that if banks will behave more responsibly if they know that failure is an option. I mean, from everything that has been reported on wall street’s behavior before the crisis, it seems pretty apparent that they knew exactly what they were doing. They knew these were worthless, but they also knew that they would get a bailout if/when they went bad. Personally, it seems to me that many of the key players (in the crisis) are guilty of fraud and should be prosecuted.

            In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          NB: Here’s Paul Krugman on your second point:

          “Talk to conservatives about the financial crisis and you enter an alternative, bizarro universe in which government bureaucrats, not greedy bankers, caused the meltdown. It’s a universe in which government-sponsored lending agencies triggered the crisis, even though private lenders actually made the vast majority of subprime loans. It’s a universe in which regulators coerced bankers into making loans to unqualified borrowers, even though only one of the top 25 subprime lenders was subject to the regulations in question.”

          The entire article is worth a look.


          In response to another comment. See in context »
          • collapse expand

            Fair point. The banks WERE responsible. However, the banks, especially GS, knew perfectly well what they were doing. They knew that this was an artificial bubble, but they also knew that the government would bail them out if they failed. This creates the moral hazard that caused this meltdown. I mean, the banks were basically given free money, told to loan it out and there was an implicit understanding that if the borrowers were unable to pay it back, then the government would save the day. There was no risk from the point of view of the bankers. No matter what happened, they were going to, at worst, break even on their investment.

            This is not to say that the bankers behaved in an ethical manner. Also, this is a gross oversimplification of the crisis. However, to act like regulating the industry will help is probably not accurate. If you want the banks to behave in a responsible manner, then remove moral hazard and let it be known that they will never receive another cent of government money regardless of their situation. Then, they will be forced to be prudent or to cease to exist.

            Unfortunately, you cant have it both ways. You cant tell the banks that they need to act responsibly and then make blanket statements that they should loan more money to __________ (in this case small businesses). I am pretty certain that there is a reason that they are not loaning money to small businesses.

            Finally, if you really want to change this, then you have to get rid of an inflationary fiat currency and restrict governments ability to create money to fund whatever they want (and bailout wall street) without directly taxing the people.

            In response to another comment. See in context »
          • collapse expand

            The government failed when it DEregulated banks in 1999 with the passage The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 which un-did the separation of commercial banks from investment banks instituted in 1933 by the Glass-Steagall Act. This act was heavily lobbied for by the big banks, and they got what they wanted, when Pres. Clinton, urged on by Robert Rubin signed it into law. Citibank became Citigroup, etc. and they were not free to speculate in very risky derivatives and have ridiculous leverage WITH THE PROMISE OF BEING BACKED UP BY THE U.S. TREASURY. (The passage of The Commodities Futures Modernization Act in 2000 also contributed, deregulating derivatives trading.) Both of these bills need to undone by new re-regulation, because the banksters are doing the same things again in spades, and when this stock market bubble bursts, it’s going to be even worse than 2007-2008.

            In response to another comment. See in context »
          • collapse expand

            typo correction -I meant to write “….and now they were NOW free to….”

            In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand




          In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          You are right that all these things happened but they are side events to the cause of the calamity. In a word, securitization. Those dodgy loans were packaged and a market was created for those packages that allowed the banks to reap profits many times over on the same piece of paper. In the end, it didn’t really matter what the quality of the loans was. Hell, it could just have easily of been piles of dead oak leaves. The disconnect between the securitized packages and the actual loan left the entire financial system with a huge amount of risk exposure and, sure as shit, it all came crashing down.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Woa dude. This was a tongue-in-check comment, not a delusional devotee comment. A little levity if you will…

        I agree with the follow-up comments – below yours. You negate what isn’t the cause but you don’t offer a suggestion about what is the cause.

        The posts below yours cite some of the root problems in today’s economy, but like most macroeconomic problems, they are multi-factored, and as such they are intricate and complex in their dissection and solution. I believe the main factors are:

        Reckless financial institutions (Lehman, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, etc. – but note: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are Government Sponsored Enterprises – seee below).

        A reckless mortgage industry that overextended residential lending, creating a house of cards.

        Poor regulation, which allowed for an abundance of ‘toxic debt’ on bank balance sheets.

        Faults with our political leaders, who failed at policy 101 and have proven to be completely fiscally irresponsible.

        Finally, these factors are established by society’s mood, which ebbs and flows between bullishness, with its corresponding laissez faire and greed-driven attitudes, and bearishness, where everyone is driven by fear and/or their hand or their fist is extended towards government.

        Social mood is always shifting, which will evoke changes in the marketplace and in government. But it will be painful this time around.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
  2. collapse expand

    Does this mean the Senate has to confirm him now?

  3. collapse expand

    Hey man, what do you want? When Gaidar died it’s not like there were any other options.

  4. collapse expand

    certainly can’t argue with Time magazine, I’m sold.
    In Bernake we trust.
    i think i just puked a little.

  5. collapse expand

    Is this a joke?

    I never thought as an American that my world would echo ‘100 Years of Solitude’ – that scene where a massacre occurs but when the sole survivor tries to tell the world about it, the world replies ‘what massacre?’.

    What corruption? What billions to your friends? What betrayal of public interest? What greed? What lies?

    Are we at the beginning of ‘100 years’ or the end?

  6. collapse expand

    Why is this a surprise? No one looks for truth in Time magazine.


    • collapse expand

      Bob Dylan’s critique in that clip:

      “Really the truth is just a plain picture … of, let’s say … you know, a tramp vomiting into the sewer … you know, any kind of picture, just make some sort of collage of pictures, which THEY don’t do, they don’t do. There’s no ideas in Time Magazine there’s just these FACTS.”

      Reconfirming for the 10 zillionth time my opinion of him being, basically, a fucking idiot.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  7. collapse expand

    I just read in Reuters that the Department of Treaasury has had to allow CitiGroup to retain billions of dollars in tax breaks to let them ‘re-pay’ the TARP money and get them out of the program- obstensibly to get their executives out of the pay and corporate governance restrictions. So we allow them to retain tax breaks for billions of dollars so they can repay- errr, ummm- billions of dollars?

    Based on all I have read this company was rotten to the core and it should have been able to collapse like Lehman.

    But with point man Rubin directing the White House Economic Transisition Team and the entire cabinet stacked with GoldSacks-minites and ShitiGroup-minites and other Terminites, I guess that just wasn’t gonna happen.

    This is exactly why the government cannot be allowed to bail-out private companies because you cannot lend money to companies that are taxed on income as it becomes a process of shifting money from the left hand to the right hand and shafting the taxpayers as all we get is a gigantic pillow to bite down on while they fuck us in the ass for decades to come.

    This has got to be criminal.

  8. collapse expand

    First our Warmonger-in-Chief wins the Nobel Prize for Peace, now our Bankster-in-Chief is named Time’s Person of the Year. This is proof positive that America has met Her Maker: the God of Bizarro World.

  9. collapse expand

    So, what are you guys gonna do?”

    We’re gonna check out General Barnicke’s house. He’s in Washington.



    He still owes me money. Hey, Barney!


  10. collapse expand

    Heh heh; if you hadn’t posted on this yet, I was gonna send you a nudge. I haven’t read the article, but watched the video clip. Person of the Year isn’t always for someone with a positive influence on society, although the interview at msnbc seems to say this is why Bernanke was picked. Hitler and Stalin were given this recognition in the 1930s. Thus I will agree with the status, but not with th e positive impact, of Bernanke.

  11. collapse expand

    Ha ha! “Circle the wagons, boys!” This is more or less an open admission that our economy has reached the point of complete sham. The post-industrial experiment is over, and it turns out that capitalist nations must, you know, actually manufacture things (other than CDOs and happy thoughts).

    But let’s try spreading a little pixie dust around just one more time. If we all wish hard enough…

  12. collapse expand

    I just read the rationale published by Time as to why Bernanke was chosen. http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1946375_1948023_1948057,00.html
    According to them, he averted economic disaster by loosening the money supply, learning from the mistakes of the Depression of the 30s. That’s all fine, except I’d be far more likely to cheer this selection if he and Geithner put some parameters around the “loose” money given to the banks–you know, like actually require them to LEND it to businesses on Main Street instead of hoarding it to drive more speculation. While the cronies on Wall Street and in Washington are patting Bernanke on the back because the stock market recovered, the little guys are still suffering.

    • collapse expand

      I personally wish that they would have let the banks fail. However, considering they are still here and as strong as ever, I find it ironic that they are being pressured to loan money to the “small business” without anyone questioning whether or not these “small businesses” have a sustainable business model…reminiscent of the last crisis. I dont know if these businesses are good/bad credit risks, but its concerning that the government is making blanket statements like “we need you to loan money to struggling small businesses”. This would imply that, if the banks do loan money to these businesses, then their potential losses would be covered by the govt.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  13. collapse expand

    Time thinks Joe Klein is a good liberal writer. How long before this rag closes?

  14. collapse expand

    Andreaitis and i both want to know who you think was the Person of the Year, Matt.

    (my 2 cents – it should have gone to the author of The Great American Bubble Machine.)

  15. collapse expand

    I’d take this whole thing a lot more seriously if Time magazine had any kind of reputation for integrity anymore. This is just one more reason to not take their editorial staff seriously. For another example where Time failed miserably, check this link, it explains what went on during Time’s top 100 “most influential people of 2009″ debacle:


    • collapse expand

      Oh please, what reputation for integrity? Time is famous for it’s support of errant figures in history, the most famous being the wholesale support of Chiang Kai-shek during the 1930’s. As big a crook and bad guy, as you could find. Yet, Time thought the world of him. Anyway, their reputation for integrity never was and, apparently, still isn’t.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  16. collapse expand

    My crystal ball is now showing a bailout for the publishing industry in 2010.

  17. collapse expand

    When he announces Bernanke, Richard Stengel says “he is influencing how the economy operates”(!) Why does that sound like a Homer Simpson comment. D’oh!

  18. collapse expand

    After this one, Time magazine gets my LAME STREAM MEDIA OUTLET OF THE YEAR AWARD.
    Congratulations Mr. Bernanke, you have presided over the mother of all ponzi schemes. Bernie Madoff is a piker compared to you.
    Can we please get this man a lifetime appointment as Bankster in chief? Obama are you listening? Call a press conference to implore the Senate to confirm Benny’s appointment and give him a lifetime extension. There is no way a lesser man can keep up with the pace of today’s shell game! He must be confirmed immediately!!

  19. collapse expand

    What’s the big surprise? The idiots chose GWB in 2000 and 2004, so isn’t obvious that their selection metric is incompetence and failure?

    Newsweek is no better, publishing the Rove’s reach-around hypocrisy and Will’s climate change denialism based on teabag science.

    Cancel your subscription; with your savings buy gold whenever Glen Beck cries!

  20. collapse expand

    Time isn’t meant to be treated as serious journalism. If this selection has any weight at all, it will be because we give it as a gift. Let’s not do that.

  21. collapse expand

    You know Matt, just realized that your influence on this society and how it’s key players are perceived is just about the same as mine. It doesn’t matter that you uncovered an enormous pile of turd floating under the TARP relief and have been writing and speaking about these clowns and their cronies for the last 6 or so months, the mainstream media could care less about the truth and do the easiest thing instead, which is to not do any real work, and name him the person of the year. Which brings me to my original point that I didn’t do a whole lot over these last 6 months and I had just about the same influence as you did on main stream “news” media. Now I’d be pissed if they don’t name Tiger “husband of the year”. Let us both keep doing the same thing for the next six months and see if things change…Ready, set, go

  22. collapse expand

    I’m probably just imagining things because I have been worried about where this country will end up socially when the economy takes the big cliff dive, but that cover, to me, has an anti-Semitic look to it.

    Whether it was intended or not (considering the source, I’d go with “not”), Bernanke’s features look caricatured (he doesn’t look that Jewish in photographs, and his eyebrows and complexion aren’t that dark), his expression is superior, entitled, cold — as if intended to provoke resentment toward him — and he’s surrounded by dollars in a “look, our religion really is money!” sort of way.

    Imagine that same image rendered in pen and ink and circulated on flyers in, say, 1938.

    And imagine how inflammatory an image like that will be when the economy really does tank.

  23. collapse expand

    BTW I heard through the grapevine that Helicopter Ben was in line for another prestigious award….Max Keiser’s “Financial Terrorist Of The Year Award.” His banquet schedule must be overwhelming at this time. Congratulations Ben!

  24. collapse expand

    Do they hold a presentation dinner for past and present winners? That’s one I might attend:

    So a war president wins a peace prize and the bank’s best friend gets a slap on the back from an dilapidated Beltway institution. Yep, this will end well

  25. collapse expand

    First Obama wins the NPP, now this? Just reading the TIME article about this made me laugh.

    “His creative leadership helped ensure that 2009 was a period of weak recovery rather than catastrophic depression”

    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/1,28804,1946375_1947251,00.html#ixzz0ZtrFMCSf

    Oh yeah, Bernanke’s The MAN!!!

  26. collapse expand

    Did Sikorsky (well, United Technologies) stock go up at this announcement?

  27. collapse expand

    The man may have been a fine STUDENT of the Great Depression, but he sure didn’t stand out as a principled market regulator when it was important. He went right along with Paulson, Summers et al when a seeming attempt was made to save us.

    Yes, it must be a bad joke, but Time Magazine is decidedly so.

  28. collapse expand

    Matt and everyone — we have a reform site, but even better a video: ”Its NOT Such a Wonderful Life”. http://www.banksterusa.org/ We think it’s the perfect message this holiday season with 16 million out of work. People are psyched about the video, and we need to reset our economy. We hope you can watch and send around to people who will appreciate learning more about the crisis.

    See the petition too: http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/632/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=1892

  29. collapse expand

    Time names an economic terrorist person of the year.

  30. collapse expand

    I’m surprised you didn’t pop a blood vessel and were able to post on this…

  31. collapse expand

    mish has a good take on this


    basically, times POTY is a kiss of death/jump the shark/peak populatiry moment

    the 2005 cover of the real estate boom brings the point home <– this comment should win Pun Of The Year

  32. collapse expand

    “Well, now I’ve seen everything.”

    Don’t you believe it Matt. Wait till next year when they give Bernancke the Nobel Prize for Economics with a cherry on top, then you will have seen everything.

  33. collapse expand

    My god. I haven’t been able to stop punching myself in the face since seeing this.

    War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.


  34. collapse expand

    I stopped thinking about TIME as a legitimate news magazine a long time ago. Glad to have my view reaffirmed by this travesty of a choice.

  35. collapse expand

    Have you seen a man eat his own head?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwfbxtIMQrM (headphones NSFW)

    (gotta laugh, to keep from the killing rages, when something like that happens.. Perhaps the MoY is the Democrats’ equivalent of the Medal of Freedom? Heckuva job, Bennie…)

  36. collapse expand

    “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” – Benito Mussolini

    Friendly Neoliberal Fa$ism?

    “Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen to the end of the twentieth century and the arrival of friendly fascism. Regrettably, millions will die as before. But just think of the tremendous selection and savings you’ll gain. Of course the loss of freedom and democracy are tragedies, I know, but consider the entertainment value contained within and to remind you, it is you, the people, who have mandated this course of our fate so please come with me… Look at the new face of power in America. This is your future you can never leave. Who said tyranny can’t be fun? Friendly fascism having so much fun, what else do you need? You’ll learn to like what you must do. If you resist you are suppressed. You are told who to fight and when by _____ the Nazi Fascist Friend. Alienating technology wipes out our sense of community. Millions will die just like before. We disconnect and start the war. We make life a commodity. We turn animals into machines. Kinder and gentler slaughter house. Big business and big government distract us with entertainment. They manufacture our consent while we destroy the environment.”

  37. collapse expand

    just take a look at who TIMES mag entitled with Man of The Year in the years 1938 (Adolf Hitler) and 1939 (Josef Stalin) and many more…!


    • collapse expand

      I’ve just read that link you provided, thanks for doing so.
      Seems to me that Time is not so much a journal of record but more the diary of particularly morally indiscriminate and very slack whore.
      Instead of “Man of the Year” perhaps they should title the yearly piece,
      “John of the Year, like whatever.”

      In response to another comment. See in context »
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