BTS 2/23/09: Failing Banks and the "N" Word: Nationalization

Listen: Play - Download

The "N" word is out in the open, and if lefties are confused that the likes of Lindsay Graham, Alan Greenspan and John McCain are among those calling for nationalization of the failing banks while the Obama administration treads slowly, we’ll ask Thomas Ferguson and Robert Johnson to sort out the various meanings of nationalization. Their new article on The Nation website "Nationalize Failing Banks? Think Twice" argues that temporarily taking over the banks is necessary, will protect taxpayers and work fast. Like single-payer health insurance, "the great advantage of the scheme is its simplicity. It tackles the main problems head on. It gets the toxic assets -- all of them -- off the books of the banks at once. And it minimizes ultimate costs to taxpayers.” Cost to taxpayers is the talking point, but collapse of the financial system is the issue.

Read More for more info on tonight's guests:

1. Thomas Ferguson is professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He is the author or coauthor of many books and articles, including "Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-Driven Political Systems" (University of Chicago Press). In 2007-8 He was an executive producer of Taxi to the Dark Side, the Oscar Winning Documentary produced and Directed by Alex Gibney.

2. Robert Johnson was previously a managing director at Soros Fund Management, where he managed a global currency, bond and equity portfolio specializing in emerging markets. He served as chief economist of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee under the leadership of Chairman William Proxmire and before that as senior economist of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee under the leadership of Chairman Pete Domenici.