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Remember the Alamo ... er, financial crisis!

March 2, 2012: 10:51 AM ET

Treasury Sec. Tim Geithner has a new op-ed in the Wall Street Journal titled "Financial Crisis Amnesia."

It starts like this:

"Four years ago, on an evening in March 2008, I received a call from the CEO of Bear Stearns informing me that they planned to file for bankruptcy in the morning."

Geithner then goes on, offering up a series of reminders as to just how badly impaired the financial system was in 2008. It's important to remember those times, Geithner says, when the resulting Wall Street reform laws are questioned.

"Remember the crisis when you hear complaints about financial reform—complaints about limits on risk-taking or requirements for transparency and disclosure. Remember the crisis when you read about the hundreds of millions of dollars now being spent on lobbyists trying to weaken or repeal financial reform. Remember the crisis when you recall the dozens of editorials and columns against reform published on the opinion pages of this newspaper over the past three years," he says.

And sure, the crisis was terrible.

But I'm not convinced that ideological opposition to the government's actions was any less stiff in 2008 than today.

Geithner and team faced a series of very hostile questions from lawmakers at Capitol Hill hearings in 2008 over the sale of Bear Stearns to JP Morgan. Same story with TARP.

And by the time Congress got around to passing Dodd-Frank, in July, 2010? Only three Republican senators voted for the bill.

Here's how the Washington Post described it:

"Meanwhile, most Republicans continued to argue that the bill creates bigger, more intrusive government and fails to prevent future bailouts of financial companies using taxpayers' money. These critics joined with leaders in the banking and business communities in insisting that the new regulations will undermine the competitiveness of the U.S. economy, stifle growth and kill jobs at a time when unemployment is high.

Sound familiar?

  • Lessons in partisanship

    Noam Scheiber, a senior editor at The New Republic, has a new book out about the Obama economic team.

    Called "The Escape Artists," the book is long at 351 pages, but opens with a description of a meeting held at the Treasury Department in April, 2011 that was attended by Sec. Tim Geithner and analysts from credit rating agency Standard & Poor's.

    Scheiber writes that in this meeting, held months before S&P's downgrade MORE

    - Feb 29, 2012 10:46 AM ET
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