Today on Planet Money:
-- When the previous Treasury secretary, Henry Paulson, announced his plans for saving the economy, professor Jeremy Siegel of Wharton gave him an F-. We asked Siegel to grade the performance of the new Treasury secretary, Tim Geithner.
-- Adam Davidson and Alex Blumberg pick apart the Geithner plan, starting with the question of what it really takes to rescue a bank.
Bonus: A note from a mom, after the jump.
Mara Kearney writes:
Lately, I have been reading my son a book about the presidents titled "The Look-it-Up Book of Presidents" by Wyatt Blassingame. We bought the book, revised in 1984 and only covering through Reagan, at a flea market last year for 75 cents.
Anyways, each president has about two or three pages of text that summarizes his time in the White House. I found it interesting to hear myself reading the following about Van Buren, who was President from 1837 through 1841.
"At this point one of the worst economic depressions, or slumps, in history hit the country. One business after another failed. Banks had to close their doors. All over the country hungry men and women walked the streets without jobs.
"There were many causes for this depression. It was caused in part by former policies of Andrew Jackson. Chiefly, however, the depression was caused by a wild spirit of gambling that had swept the country. Everywhere people had been buying land with borrowed money, hoping the price of the land would go up. People had borrowed money to start new businesses, then needed more money to keep them going. So it was the people themselves who were largely to blame. Nobody, however, likes to blame himself. So the people turned on Van Buren."
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