But this is very good context:

While helping lenders report higher earnings, FASB’s changes may hurt Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s plan to remove distressed assets from bank balance sheets, Dietrich said. Allowing companies to hold on to assets without writing them down could discourage them from selling the securities, which would work against Treasury’s objective to resuscitate markets, he said.

“It’s one of the unintended consequences of having the FASB bow to political pressure,” Dietrich said.

I’d love to be wrong and find out that this whole crisis was just a big misunderstanding—a panic that will reverse itself with a few bean-counter adjustments. It just seems to me that we’re heading in the Japanese direction—delaying the day of reckoning as long as we can instead of getting on with it.

Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu.